A true osteria (in the Italian sense of the word, anyway) is a place locals frequent for simple food and wine at any time of day. In its homeland, this is the place where the aperitivo concept was first conceived: that beautiful time of the day when we all walk out of the office and into our local for that all important pre-dinner affair.

Having only opened in January, Osti is still a relatively new addition to the Prahran neck of Chapel Street. And for this small strip of Chapel, greatly dominated by ordinary pubs and below-budget cheap eats, it’s well over due. Opening a place that serves dependable, honest and affordable food in a comfortable setting seems only logical. It did to Tim Kenyon anyway, who embraced the 20-year-old site that was Globe and turned it into a spot at which locals and visitors can enjoy simple Italian fair, cooked respectfully.

“Some residents around here eat out three-to-four times a week, so safe to say it’s a competitive area for restaurants and cafes,” explains Nick Kenyon, Tim’s son and the driving force behind Osti’s marketing side of things. “Finding the right balance between offering comfort food at an affordable price-point and something that is still high quality is what we want Osti to be about.” In a bid to ramp up its food offering, the restaurant/cafe has secured the talents of Sam Hiroki, ex head chef of Steer Bar & Grill.

“Particularly on weekends, we saw a trend in the area where people went for breakfast late and then held off until dinner,” continues Nick, referring to the strong emphasis Osti places on offering its breakfast menu late into the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday. Pasta at Osti is also a serious affair. The lunch menu alone lists half a dozen solid options (Morton Bay bug and chilli risotto for $22 anyone?). The drinks list was put together by crack sommelier Matt Brooke (from famed CBD diner, Brooks) and pays tribute to the Italian menu, matching modestly priced Euro drops and (of course) Italian inspired cocktails/aperitivi. Try Bibi Graetz’s Cassamatta sangiovese from Tuscany by the glass, or Osti’s signature Sbagliato: Campari, Rosso, Prosecco).

OSTI Café & Restaurant
218 Chapel Street, Prahran

Mon & Tues 8am–4pm
Weds to Sat 8am–late Sunday 9am–5pm