Table Talk Cesco Osteria

Table Talk
Cesco Osteria
(out of four)
The first question is what’s an osteria and how is it different from a trattoria or a ristorante?
Pay attention, there may be a quiz!
At the top of the Italian food chain is a ristorante. Traditionally it is a formal, expensive place
serving professionals.
Next comes a trattoria which is smaller and always has fresh pasta. They are family run, casual,
unpretentious, and inexpensive.
Finally is an osteria which is a small restaurant focusing on down-home cooking with a limited
menu. Osterias are also unpretentious and are inexpensive.
So why is a large, modern, expensive, pretentious place like Cesco calling itself an osteria when
it is a ristorante? They are hoping to evoke a simple trendy charm of home-cooked Italian food.
Unfortunately they conveniently forgot about the part that includes unpretentious and
Let’s discuss the food. What we had was delicious. We opened with calamari which was
cooked just right. Then we shared two dishes -- Panko breaded ahi tuna Milanese with
homemade Idaho crisps, and prawns and scallops sauteed in Marsala-and served with sauteed
sweet potatoes. Both entrees were beautifully presented, the portions were ample, the
seafood cooked perfectly and the flavors were exquisite. We were both happy with our
The restaurant itself is new, spacey, and bold. It’s a classy-looking white tablecloth restaurant.
Some online reviews mention poor service but we did not encounter that. In fact, our waiter
was excellent. We had a time constraint as we had a show after and told him we needed to be
out by a certain time. He managed it perfectly.
The prices are too high for the traditional definition of an osteria. The wine list started at $9.00
per glass and rose from there. It was easy to make the decision to drink water. Entrees are in
the $25-$30 range.
Overall, we were pleased with Cesco and would return. If you are in Bethesda and want to
treat yourself to a fine Italian dinner, then Cesco is a good option. Just expect a ristorante and
you’ll be satisfied.
OK – Pens and paper out. It’s quiz time.
Cesco Osteria7401 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814 301-654-8333
Submitted by Marcia & Dave Leveton – Date of visit Sep. 21, 2014