The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2016 Spring Dining Guide.
Osteria Morini was a pioneer when it settled along the Capitol Riverfront two years ago, and the New York import continues to chart an admirable course, now delivering one of the most satisfying Italian scores in the city. The first nicety you notice is a view of the Anacostia from the glass-walled dining room. The second observation, if you order pasta, and you should, is how adept the kitchen is at rolling out noodles, then not cooking them too long. Bucatini with creamy sea urchin, sweet crab and a hit of heat puts me in a three-star frame of mind. Diverting scenery and distinctive cooking are a rare package deal, but that’s what you get within this cozy environment, simply dressed with wood floors and yellow columns. Faultless? Not quite: Here’s the uncommon menu where appetizers take a back seat to main courses. At lunch, I gravitate to one of the very good panini, perhaps grilled chicken sausage bundled with smoked mozzarella and bright arugula pesto; at dinner, I’m partial to tender veal breast flattered with celery leaves and fava beans. Inevitably, I save space for something eye-catching from pastry chef Alex Levin. His lemony ricotta cheesecake with vanilla-poached rhubarb and mocha mousse decked out with cappuccino chip gelato are art worthy of frames.
→301 Water St. SE. 202-484-0660. osteriamorini.com.
Open: Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Saturday and Sunday.
Prices: Lunch entrees $14 to $23 or prix fixe $25 and $29; dinner $19 to $31; brunch $14 to $23.
Sound check: 74 decibels / Must speak with raised voice.
Previously (2014): 2 stars