"Mall food" will never be the same now that Marc Vetri and company have opened an Osteria twin at the Moorestown Mall. Inside, they've re-created the authentic hand-crafted Italian fare that's made the original one of Philly's best, from spot-on Neapolitan pizzas to exceptional pastas and rustic wood-fired meats. The Jersey crowd goes to bed early, but the Italian-centric wine list alone, far more affordable free of Pennsylvania's wine laws, may well draw crowds from across the river.
Pizzas: Margherita; polpo; lombarda; mortadella. Vegetable antipasti; gulf shrimp with fennel salad and citrus; grilled octopus; charcuterie; squash tortelli; robiola francobolli ravioli; pheasant lasagna; fettuccine with porcini; spaghettini with lobster; chicken liver rigatoni; milk-braised veal; rabbit "casalinga"; spit-roasted suckling pig; swordfish spiedini; house-aged rib-eye "Fiorentina" for two; apple crostata; pear and ricotta rotolo; pistachio gelato.
Wine is one of Osteria Moorestown's best assets, with an exceptional sommelier staff guiding diners through a 150-label wine list (85% Italian) that is far more affordable than similar bottles in Philadelphia, with at least 50 available for $50 or less and 20 quality glass selections with smaller "taste" options. There are prestige bottles, from Sonoma's Littorai to Tignanello. But the fun is to explore gems from small Italian producers and rarely seen yet food-friendly grapes, such as Albana, Susumaniello, and fizzy dry Lambrusco. Craft beers, cocktail program are also strong.
Like the original, the dining room is far too noisy, in the low-90s. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)
Entire menu served Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. Sunday brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., regular menu 3 to 10 p.m.