There’s nothing we love more than a neighborhood favorite restaurant that we’ve never heard of. Such was the case with Locanda Vini e Olii.
It took us a while, but we finally visited this Northern Italian restaurant that we’ve been hearing so much about. What we can tell you is that we’d love this place too if we lived down the street. But there are probably other restaurants in the area that we’d rather be. So why the local love affair? I think there are a few things that make Locanda Vini e Olii so popular. First of all, the Norhern Italian food is genuinely good. Second, the restaurant itself is very charming. They basically converted an old pharmacy and made it look like Il Buco in Brooklyn. It’s prime Date Night material based on aesthetic alone, and honestly, if you can’t close the deal after bringing someone to a cozy, rustic restaurant like this, then you’re probably going to be alone forever. Third, there’s an excellent wine list that’s very reasonably priced. And finally, the staff is really, really nice. So add that all up, and it’s no mystery why the people of Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, and Brooklyn in general are so fond of this restaurant.
Ultimately for us, even though there was a lot we liked about Locanda Vini e Olii, we just didn’t love it that much. We are spoiled in New York in the fact that there is a restaurant like this in almost every neighborhood around town. Consider yourself lucky if this one is yours.
This was an impressive spread of various house made charcuterie - pheasant with grape, duck stuffed with pork and pistachio, and pig’s head terrine. It was all tasty, but honestly, the best thing about this dish is the fried dough that’s served with it. We asked for extra. You should too.
Know that this is not one octopus arm like you see at many other restaurants. This is a bowl of full bodied, full on squirmies that have been stewed in tomato and garlic. Delicious, but not what you might be expecting.
This was probably our favorite from the Antipasti section, a sort of cauliflower soufflé over baby spinach. Order it.
This is a “traditional Tuscan bread soup,” and we were definitely surprised to find that it was barely a soup at all. Apparently the tradition here is to use so much bread that this more resembles a stuffing. There’s really no broth. Either way it was an interesting dish, and we liked it. Not sure we’d order it again though.
An interesting pasta dish that consists of mashed fresh sardines, dill, raisins, and pine nuts. We’re down with sardines, so we were down with this, but not everyone is.
This was a nice, hearty tagliatelle dish, but that orange zest packs a punch. We were surprised by just how much orangey flavor it added to the pasta, and maybe didn’t love it so much.
This is probably our favorite pasta from the menu, thanks mostly to a whole bunch of mushrooms. Maltagliati pasta is traditionally the leftover scraps from other pasta that’s been made that day, so the result is a bunch of random shapes and sizes on one plate. Order this.
Another good pasta option, this one of the eggless variety with lots of black pepper, tarragon, and grana padano cheese. Liked it, didn’t love it.