Osianna Serves up Excellence in Mediterranean Cuisine

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I recently had the pleasure of dining at Osianna in Fairfield, CT. This Mediterranean/Greek infused taverna specializes in seafood and prides itself on using fresh, simple ingredients. The atmosphere is refined and welcoming, with a lively, modern decor. The staff is attentive, professional and knowledgeable, which makes for a pleasant dining experience. You can taste the love behind this family establishment, run by partners Biagio Riccio and Maria Giapoutzis. Riccio also owns Italian-American sister restaurant Quattro Pazzi of Fairfield (closed this month for renovations), Norwalk and Stamford.

One of Osianna‘s real standouts is the sesame crusted grilled haloumi drizzled with salsa verde. Imported from Cypress, Greece, this Middle Eastern cheese is chewier than mozzarella, and melts subtly when grilled. It has a tangy, slightly salty bite, with a surprising hint of refreshing mint that played nicely off the nutty, sesame flavor. The brightness of the parsley sauce wraps it up with a bow.

Next, my fork pierced the vibrant, roasted red beets that were simply showcased with garlic and olive oil. The basic, clean flavors allowed the star component to shine.

I then dug into an inviting ceramic baking dish full of warm, spicy feta that coated my tongue with an adequate sensation of heat; just enough to keep me going back for more. The spice of the chillies was harmoniously balanced by sweetness and acidity from diced tomatoes.

My next indulgence was mushroom ravioli: Delicate pasta pillows (you could never tell they are gluten free!), filled with a creamy mixture of ricotta and shitake mushrooms. The ravioli was topped with a shiitake and truffle oil cream sauce that was enhanced by tender asparagus. It was rich, without being too heavy.

I continued with a hearty serving of creamy vegetarian polenta with chickpeas, zucchini and peppers in a light tomato puree. The finely diced vegetables offered a lovely freshness to the thick, warm polenta.

Another palate pleaser was the savory olive oil crostini topped with hearty white beans, fruity kalamata olives, and earthy kale. A satisfying, flavorful appetizer.

I moved on to a two-bite delight: Sicilian arancini. I sunk my teeth into these crispy fried tomato rice balls to reveal a soft, risotto-like center. The clever pairing with kalamata olive aioli put a Greek inspired twist on this plate.

For my entree, I ordered roasted cod with succulent clams, white beans, tomatoes, and house-made smokey chorizo. The clamshells were the ideal vehicle for slurping the light broth of garlic, olive oil and white wine; a sauce good enough to drink. This was a special for the evening, although I would be thrilled to see it featured on their menu.

To wrap up my visit, I eagerly sampled the house recommended ekmek. I slid my spoon into a coating of fresh whipped cream, then through a layer of silky scratch-made custard, down to a semi-soft honeyed sheet of baked, finely shredded wheat. The sticky-sweet dish was generously sprinkled with crunchy, sliced almonds, and drizzled with a gooey, handmade syrup. This dessert was a textural thrill and a heavenly way to end a superb meal.

Osianna is located at 70 Reef Road, Fairfield, CT 06824. Reservations can be made during weekdays only for parties of six or more at (203) 254-2070. In addition to Osianna‘s regular selections, a prix fixe menu is offered Mon-Thurs for lunch, and from 5-6pm for dinner.

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