Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Osteria Avanti at The Inn at Leola Village - Leola, PA

This cozy restaurant at The Inn at Leola Village offers simple, rustic Italian cuisine that's been carefully crafted with hand-picked produce from the on-site gardens and greenhouse.

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Osteria Avanti at The Inn at Leola Village - Leola, PA

I was pretty pleased to find out yesterday that I'm not the only one who enjoys dining outdoors at restaurants when weather permits. And, although I haven't confirmed my suspicions, I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only one who feels giddy after snagging the very last available table outside. Combine that euphoria with fresh air, a gorgeous view, and/or the opportunity to do some people-watching, and I'll choose to dine al fresco any day.

Last summer, I spent some time out in Leola, Pennsylvania on a freelance assignment, and before getting in the car to drive home, I decided to have an early lunch at Osteria Avanti at The Inn at Leola Village. It wasn't a terribly hot day, so I requested a table out in the garden. Stunningly gorgeous and brimming with color, it provided the perfect space in which to enjoy my meal and to go over my notes from that morning.

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Iced Tea and Water - Osteria Avanti - The Inn at Leola Village - Leola, PA

Even though I was tempted to order one of their seasonal spirit infusions, I chose to drink responsibly and ordered Iced Tea ($3) instead. After all, you can't go wrong with a tall glass of iced tea in the summertime, right?

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Iced Tea - Osteria Avanti - The Inn at Leola Village - Leola, PA

The tea was brewed strong, just the way I like it, and arrived in this sensational glass featuring a line distinguishing between the optimist and the pessimist. An unexpected philosophical touch that made me appreciate, even more, the opportunity to work on assignment for one of my dream clients.

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Orecchiette with Spicy Italian Sausage, Broccoli Rabe Pesto, and Red Chile Flakes -
Osteria Avanti - The Inn at Leola Village - Leola, PA

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Petite Baby Green Salad - Osteria Avanti - The Inn at Leola Village - Leola, PA

After considering all of the items on the lunch menu, I ordered the Orecchiette with Spicy Italian Sausage, Broccoli Rabe Pesto, and Red Chile Flakes ($14) along with a Petite Baby Green Salad ($3). I've always been a fan of this combination of ingredients, so I felt positively heartbroken after discovering that, after just one bite, I couldn't finish eating the dish.

The pasta was unevenly cooked -- some orecchiette were under-cooked and crunchy while others were over-cooked and gummy. I couldn't identify any pieces of sausage (unless the crispy bits scattered across the top of the dish were supposed to be sausage), and the broccoli rabe pesto made the entire dish bitter. Regrettably, I wound up sending the pasta back to the kitchen.

To make up for the misstep, my server offered to bring me something else from the kitchen, so I ordered the Tenderloin Steak Tips with Wild Mushrooms, Sweet Peppers, and Demi-Glace ($16) and ate the salad while I waited for my second choice to arrive.

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Tenderloin Steak Tips with Wild Mushrooms, Sweet Peppers, and Demi-Glace -
Osteria Avanti - The Inn at Leola Village - Leola, PA

Thankfully, the Tenderloin Steak Tips were definitely the better pick. The beef was perfectly cooked and extremely tender (no knife required!) and the demi-glace was rich without being overwhelming. Plus, I think the sweetness from the bell peppers really helped create a balance between all of the flavors.

The portion size was extremely generous for lunch, so I wound up boxing up half of the dish to take home so I could enjoy the leftovers the next day. As I expected, the steak and the sauce tasted even better after it had the chance to sit in the refrigerator overnight, allowing the flavors to deepen.

So, while my meal started off on the shaky side, it ended strongly. I was grateful that the restaurant offered to bring me something else after I expressed dissatisfaction with the first dish I ordered, especially since it meant I didn't have to try and find somewhere else to eat before making the long drive home.

Because of the high level of service and the quality of the second dish, I'd definitely consider dining at Osteria Avanti again... Only, next time, I'll plan on staying overnight at The Inn at Leola Village so I can try one of those seasonal spirit infusions.

(I'm looking at you, Melon-Basil Vodka...)

Osteria Avanti at The Inn at Leola Village
38 Deborah Drive
Leola, PA 17540
(717) 656-8983 | Online Reservations | Map

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One year ago: Menu Plan: June 8 - June 14
Two years ago: Menu Plan: June 9 - June 15
Three years ago: Quality Meats - New York, NY
Four years ago: Feed Me Friday
Five years ago: Invest in a Trip to Exchange Bar & Grill
Six years ago: Zagat.com Premium Membership Giveaway

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