Osteria Rustica’s Quality Doesn’t Match Their Prices

In last month’s restaurant review we wrote about a casual, trattoria-style Italian eatery and this month we’re looking at a restaurant that is on the opposite spectrum from that as we visited Osteria Rustica which is on Rt. 100 next to Belle Terre Parkway (technically, it’s Bunnell here, not Palm Coast, just so you know.)
The atmosphere, menu and overall ambiance is much different here as Osteria Rustica is offering diners a fine dining experience (linen tablecloths before Covid, for example) and a menu that strives to present both traditional and more contemporary dishes with a refined plating style and attention to detail that belies chef/owner Florio’s training.
The menu avoids the excesses that some upper scale restaurant chefs tend to indulge in. By that we mean that there are no wildly experimental dishes that chefs often use to show their culinary mastery. The food here is more restrained, more measured in its flavor profiles and presentation while still offering great tastes for the clientele.
Chef Florio appears to let his food rely on his ingredients and cooking to produce tasty meals rather than flights of fancy that may or may not work. In other words, you’ll probably not be surprised by what you see on your plate as the dishes tend to be on the traditional side of this cuisine and not on more contemporary dishes.
The atmosphere and service here contribute greatly to the overall experience too. It’s not just the food that the restaurant pays attention to. But you don’t have to worry about that here because the well-trained servers, and there are plenty of them for such a small space (7-8 tables inside and a few more in the small outdoor area), keep everyone happy with food and beverages flowing to the tables in short order.
The menu is not overly large but manages to cover a lot of culinary bases nevertheless. Our table ordered trout and lamb (twice — scallopine and a rack of lamb) along with a risotto for main dishes with appetizers of gnocchi and ravioli. The gnocchi were tri-colored with three accompanying sauces and the ravioli were stuffed with shrimp.
The entrees were all competently done and mainly delivered as far as taste and presentation were concerned. But considering the prices here the food falls a bit short in the inspiration department. If you’re going to charge the prices that you’ll see on the menu here then there’s got to be a little bit more to offer than just competently done food.
As with any restaurant, the value for money factor is always going to influence diners’ opinions. At Osteria Rustica it was hard for us to justify the final bill when measured against the food quality. Compared with other restaurants we’ve tried recently in the area Osteria Rustica ranks very high, don’t get us wrong. But would we eat here again soon based on a value for money comparison? That, unfortunately, is doubtful.
Osteria Rustica, 4750 E. Moody Blvd, Bunnell, 386-437-2000