Salt Lake City: Valter’s Osteria

I promised my husband before we got married that I wasn’t high maintenence- no expensive shopping sprees, easy on the home expenses, willing to go for store brands, etc. . .  with the big fat exception being all things food and eating out. It’s the thing I look forward to each weekend, while we’re on vacation, and especially during holidays and special occasions. I had been dying to experience a meal at Valter’s Osteria downtown in Salt Lake City and was beyond excited (and completely surprised) when we pulled up on my 26th birthday. In this post I’ll walk you through everything we ate so you can understand why Valter’s Osteria is my new favorite high end dining experience in Salt Lake City.

But before I start, let me give a little background info- Valter Nassi, owner and founder of Valter’s Osteria opened his doors just three years ago on 173 West Broadway near downtown Salt Lake City. A previous manager for the previously popular Italian restaurant Cucina Toscana (tried it this winter and unfortunately we weren’t impressed), Valter took matters into his own hands and opened an authentic Tuscan restaurant combining “color, taste, and quality” for all locals and visitors of Salt Lake to enjoy.

Our server, Brandon, was fantastic and suggested that rather than pick through the menu or choose items ourselves that he make arrangements for a three course meal with off-the-menu house favorites. Done and done. But before I get started on the first, second, or even third course that we enjoyed, let me take a moment to recognize the quality and thoroughness of every last detail in Valter’s Osteria. The service was nothing short of pristine- fantastic, thoughtful, and well informed employees surrounded us for the entire duration of our meal. Not a bread basket left empty (which, good heavens it was all I could do to not consume an entire loaf in addition to all the delicious food), not a drink left less than half full, and not a dish prepared to anything less than perfection. Even the complimentary bruschetta at the beginning of the meal was worth writing home for.

After enjoying copious amounts of bread and bruschetta, our server brought us our antipasti special featuring Shetlands all natural salmon fillet carpaccio with a half organic avocado topped with langostino and shrimp in lemon butter and extra virgin olive oil. This gorgeous course was bright and vibrant- both in visual appearance and in taste. The combination of fresh seafood paired with rich avocado was simply delightful.

Our second course at Valter’s Osteria was perhaps the dish I had anticipated most: pasta special. Because nothing speaks to my foodie soul more than house prepared pasta. The pasta special featured a combination of all the homemade pastas. The ravioli mama was served with butternut squash and an amoretti cookie in a butter and sage sauce. The ravioli macchiati was spinach and ricotta filled with a butter sage light tomato sauce. The capellini limoncello was prepared with a house whipping cream and lemon liquor. And the final (my personal favorite) of the four was a gnocchi arrabiata- a house potato dumpling in a zesty organic tomato sauce. It was all I could do to not lick my plate.

Starting to get full but still bright eyed and in eager anticipation, we split two dishes for our final course. First, the blue special: a creamy caper and cognac mustard reduction served with parmesan risotto and a single broiled scallop. Second was halibut served with roasted red bell peppers, a roasted organic red tomato and capers dressing, and was accompanied with marinated garlic spinach and pan fried garlic potatoes. The flavors of each dish were warm, invigorating, and (for lack of a better term) out of this world- traditional yet innovative and nothing like I had ever experienced.

Cody and I slowly savored each last bite and sat for a few minutes relishing in the immaculate delivery of each and every dish. We where promptly served complimentary drinking chocolate with a homemade biscotti, because what meal fit for a queen isn’t best polished off with something decadent? Although very full and completely satisfied, we found it hard to turn down an offer for something off of the dessert menu and decided to share a scoop of Valter’s homemade gelat0. The staff was incredibly kind and surprised us with a birthday candle and live serenade of “Happy Birthday”  at the side of our table.

What a beautiful, delectable, and memorable experience. Everything from the food to the ambiance to the service was the best that there is. Valter has indeed created an authentic Tuscan experience that will quite literally transport you to his mother’s kitchen in Italy. As he perused the tables and greeted each customer for the duration of the evening, I was left with a distinct impression that Valter’s Osteria is more than just a restaurant. It’s a tribute to tradition, a standard for excellence, and a place, for mister Nassi to share passion. Thank you, Valter!

Valter’s Osteria (173 West Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.521.4563)

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