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Osteria Papavero

Lemonade and flowersIn a word: Good food, good for you.

The specs: #0448 
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Madison Foodie, 77 Square, Sneaky Sunday, Quomodocumque 1/11/09 and 12/31/09, Food Racket, Ruppert Food Blogofficial web site, Papavero on Urbanspoon

Latest Osteria Papavero news and reviews

JM ate the panzeratti calzone and salad with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the Italian BLT with ribollita soup.
The bill was $13, or $6.50/person, plus tip with coupon (thanks, WPR!)
JM gave Osteria Papavero an A-, Nichole gave Osteria Papavero an A (see our grading rubric).

Osteria Papavero is a nice midrange- to upscale place to take a date or a small group of friends. We found it bright and welcoming for a leisurely lunch, though the dinner menu was enticing as well.

Calzone and salad

JM's calzone was very good and tasty, fresh and hot. At first sight, he was concerned he'd not be full enough to get back to an afternoon's work, but by the end of the meal he was "full, thank God." His concern was not unfounded, as the portions are smallish but average-priced by Madison restaurant standards, but are a good value in freshness and preparation.

Italian BLT and soup

This was just about the perfect BLT. Nichole can even forgive it for cutting her mouth just a bit with its sharp, buttery, bready edges. It had balanced flavors and wasn't too greasy. The ribollita made the lunch truly noteworthy - loaded with Parmesan and large pieces of ham hiding under a pond of broth [edited-see comments], the white bean and vegetable soup excelled.

Osteria Papavero gets a little lost in the fact that its cuisine is standard for the high-end downtown sandwiches-for-lunch-tasty-dinner-entree group including some of Madison's most famous eateries. But don't let this gem get lost in the shuffle.


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Karl and I have the WPR card, too, and that prompted us to try Osteria Papavero not long ago. We loved it! We went for dinner, and Karl had a goat leg. I don't remember what I had, but it was delicious, whatever it was.

I had a really yummy wild boar ravioli (if I remember right...), and decent drinks as well. Would definitely go again.

At first sight, he was concerned he'd not be full enough to get back to an afternoon's work, but by the end of the meal he was "full".

As I always say....Don't be confuse alot food with good food. And the meal seemed to be good food

Why on earth would you go to Osteria Papavero for lunch? They have an amazing dinner menu. The specials they are known for (such as Boar Gnocchi) are dinner dishes. By going there for lunch you totally missed the point, along with all the best dishes they serve. You might as well have not reviewed them.

Dang, Tim! We went to lunch because it worked out better for our schedules, it was cheaper, and their dinner menu is already famous. We loved the place. What more do you want?

You go to Osteria Papavero for lunch for really great pasta at an affordable price.

And, yeah, the ribollita rocks. I was amazed how much depth that had. the Osteria at lunch is a little gem.

You didn't even pay full-price for your meal. YOU MIGHT AS WELL SHUT DOWN THE WEBSITE.


As somebody who already knows OP is a great place to have dinner, I for one appreciate finding out it's a great place for an inexpensive downtown lunch!

Just want to clarify the ribollita is a vegetarian soup. It is very hearty, but no meat.

Hope you've had a chance to enjoy the dinner menu. Francesco posts the weekly specials from Osteria Papavero's facebook page.

Just after Osteria Papavero opened my wife and I went there for drinks and hors d'oeuvres. However, when I looked up at the specials board one of the choices was Baccalà. Baccalà is cod that has been salted to perserve it and then soaked in water before it's cooked. It was traditionally a poor people's dish. The last time I had Baccalà was when my mother used to make it back in Brooklyn (not WI) on Fridays, longer ago than I care to remember. I had to order it, and I did, and it was even better than I hoped it would be. On that meal alone, I would recommend this place.

Just to chime in on an old comment. Going to a higher priced restaurant for lunch is a great idea. It's a good way to sample a restaurant that you otherwise might not be able to afford and it's a good way to just try out an expensive restaurant without spending a lot of money. If you like it, you can always go back for dinner. If not, you can still afford to play the rent.

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