Last week Buffalo finished one of the best weeks of the year – Local Restaurant Week! As we all know, our city is on the rise and Buffalonians are beaming with pride, so what better way to celebrate this than with independent local restaurants serving up some of the best food deals around! Local Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to explore new foods, support local restaurants in our area, and experience all the culture and history Buffalo has to offer. With over 200 participating restaurants spanning from Lockport to Downtown to East Aurora, the options are seemingly endless. Each participating restaurant has special features priced at $20.16, $30.16 or $40.16, with varying appetizer, entrée, drink, and dessert combinations for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

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With so many restaurant options, my friends and I didn’t know where to start. Figuring we couldn’t go wrong with Italian food, we opted for Osteria 166. Once we arrived, we were glad we made reservations because it was packed! (TIP: During featured weeks like this, always see if it’s possible to make reservations beforehand). The smell when we walked in immediately brought me back to my grandma’s kitchen and Sunday sauce. We squeezed our way through the bar and still had to wait a few minutes before being seated. Waiting isn’t so horrible, though, when you are in good company!

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During Restaurant Week, regular menu items are still available, but how could you pass up an appetizer, entrée, and dessert or drink all for only $20.16? We decided if we all got something different then we could split the dishes and try even more food. (TIP: Ordering different things and sharing with your friends is the perfect way to try new foods and get the most for your dollar!) We started with a glass of wine, which ended up being quite a generous pour. My three friends and I decided to get the Mozzarella Focaccia, two Bruschetta Miste, and a Meatball for appetizers to split. Why not try a little of everything?! The Mozzarella Focaccia was thickly cut bread topped with gooey mozzarella while the Bruschetta Miste was a spread of fresh Italian bread garnished with a seasoned artichoke mixture, red pepper hummus, or diced tomatoes. All were delicious; however, the meatball was on another level. For starters, it was the size of a softball. Each bite literally melted in my mouth, and the house marinara sauce was perfectly complimented by a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese. It very well might have been the best meatball I ever had (Sorry, grandma).
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For the entrée portion my two friends and I got the Shrimp Pomadoro, and my other friend got the Chicken Parmesan. It was a perfectly sized portion, and I shamelessly finished the whole thing. I was so excited to try it that I didn’t remember to take a picture of the beautiful dish until it was completely gone (whoops!). The angel hair pasta was cooked perfectly and tossed in a sweet heirloom tomato sauce. The dish was completed with 3 succulent grilled shrimp. I would definitely order this dish again! To make the entire meal even better, my one friend decided to get dessert instead of the glass of wine for her “extra”. We shared the fried dough with Nutella, and it was to die for – as is anything with Nutella.

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If you missed last week’s restaurant extravaganza, don’t worry. Local Restaurant Week is a biannual event, so keep an eye out for deals in the upcoming months!