With the New Year comes new restaurants, like Osteria Tulia
. Located in Naples, Fla., the name reflects Italy’s classification of restaurants. Osterie
are casual eateries where everyone can enjoy simple prepared foods and drinks while relaxing and socializing.
And that’s exactly the goal chef Vincenzo Betulia is aiming for with his new venture.
“We are building a culture as well as a restaurant. We want guests to feel the vibe we are creating,” says 22- year culinary veteran and former head chef at Campiello Ristorante. “We want people to feel as if they are walking into somebody’s home, not a chain restaurant.”
It starts with a family atmosphere, with relatives assigned to different tasks. From his wife as manager to his cousin as chef di cucina
, Osteria Tulia ties together the importance of food and family.
Next comes the unique setting, which ranks high as the menu itself. The hand-crafted pine tables and ceiling beams were constructed from reclaimed heart pine sourced from a 100-year old Florida barn. The bricks in the wood floor come from an old building in Chicago. Other distinctive touches are found throughout as well.
“It has a rustic farmhouse feel. It’s quite stunning.”
Then there is the cuisine.
Sicilian-born Betulia describes it as regional Italian with emphasis on locally-sourced items.
Striving to use the bounty of Florida to create their dishes, he says it wasn’t difficult finding farmers. In fact, he didn’t realize the magnitude of different produce that grown and available in the region.
“It’s great. I discovered one farmer who is growing eggplant and another who is growing Tuscan cabbage, which is quite impressive. It’s really nice to have all of this.”
The dishes are based on simplicity and a handful of ingredients. Many of the ingredients are made from scratch. Betulia says they cure their own meats, make their own cheeses and even make their own pastas, both flat and extruded. Their bread, also made in-house, is a rustic Tuscany loaf.
features everything from pattini
(small plates) to piatti principali
(entrees.) Other selections include antipasti, pizzas, salads, pastas and much more. A few signature dishes include caramelized Brussels sprouts with house-made fennel sausage and Sicilian meatballs with toasted pine nuts, currants and
Calabrian chile. For those seeking a taste of Florida, select either the Florida black grouper all' acqua pazza
(with crazy water), seared in olive oil and served in a seafood broth with tomatoes, garlic, chilies, bay leaves, and white wine; or the Pine Island clams served with linguini in a traditional white wine sauce spiked with chili.
Located at 466 5th
Avenue South in Naples, Osteria Tulia is open for dinner, 5 p.m. until close. Later this month, they will begin serving lunch, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
photos courtesy of Osteria Tulia