Last Friday night I had the immense pleasure of eating at Tower District restaurant Oggi Cosi Si Mangia. It’s located on Van Ness, just south of Olive, where Senses was once located, and it serves Italian food. Really good, slightly expensive Italian food.
I went on Yelp just after making the reservation to see what others thought of the place, and to find recommendations on what to order (yes, if you’re going to eat at Oggi on a Friday or Saturday, reservations are recommended. The place was packed Friday night; people were actually being turned away from the small, apparently incredibly popular restaurant).
The Oggi Bruschetta seemed popular on Yelp, as did the Minestrone. I saw that someone recommended the Penne Pesto with Gorgonzola, and my great love for cheese made that stick in my brain. I ended up ordering all of those things.
The bruschetta was very nice. The bread was nice and crunchy, the toppings fresh. Next time I order it, I’ll be sure to ask for no balsamic vinegar. I do love the stuff, but, for me, the strong balsamic taste overshadows the already-wonderful combination of basil, tomato, garlic and olive oil.
The Minestrone, in my opinion, was less successful. On Yelp, reviewers kept referring to it as “hearty,” meaning it contains largely cut vegetables. That was fine by me, I love vegetables. I felt, however, that the broth wasn’t as flavorful as it could be. Now, I like salt. I live for salt. So my idea of what minestrone should taste like — super savory — probably differs from others’. For what it’s worth, my companion also wasn’t totally enamored of the soup.
My main course, on the other hand, the Penne Pesto, was wonderful. Penne pasta covered in pesto with tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar and lovely, lovely Gorgonzola all melty and delicious … my mouth waters just thinking about it. It was both light and rich at the same time, if that’s possible.
By the time the penne arrived, I was stuffed full of bruschetta and soup, so I only ate part. Luckily, when I finished it off the next day for breakfast, it tasted just as good. (As a testament to how good it was — I never eat leftovers.)
My companion went with the ever-popular Meat Lasagna, which he seemed to enjoy. He took home a leftover portion, as well, and found it to be not so great the next day, unfortunately. Perhaps it was an oversight on the part of the server, but there was little sauce in the container, making for a dry and unedible lasagna.
Overall, our experience at Oggi was good. It’s a little pricey — meals start at around $11, then climb pretty high for specials and for the cioppino, which is a typically expensive dish. Most meals are in the $16-$22 range, which is date-night pricing (and probably why the restaurant is so busy on weekends).
Now, this is the part where I have to issue the disclaimer that my brother, James, is a cook at Oggi, which is pretty much why I tried it out. I’d eaten at Oggi before, years ago, but sort of forgot about it since. I won’t soon be forgetting that Penne Pesto, however.
If you find yourself wanting a special meal in the Tower District, I recommend you try out Oggi.