Firenze Osteria

4212 Lankershim Boulevard 
North Hollywood, CA 91602 
(818) 760-7081 

Parking: Metered Street Parking + Valet (in the $5 range) Days: Daily
Hours: 5-7pm 
Drink Deals: Jacopo’s Martini of the Week for $4 (at the bar), $5 Firenze Wine; on Sundays – Sangria for $5 from 5-8pm 
Food Deals: 4 Food Options for $5

I was catching up with a friend over brunch recently and we both realized that for every pop culture figure/reference we don’t know much about, we default to “I don’t have cable.” For example, if you ask me if I like Nicki Minaj, I’ll probably tell you, “I don’t have that channel.” Well, technically, I don’t. 

This is relevant to The Happy Hour Tour because… when I was telling folks how much I enjoyed Sangria Sunday at Firenze Osteria in the Toluca Lake/NoHo area – they all asked, “oh Fabio’s restaurant?” JG’s and my response was, “the romance novel cover guy who a bird flew into on a roller coaster?” And maybe that Fabio is a Sunday Sangria proprietor (he seems the type), but not at Firenze Osteria. Our friends were referring to Fabio Viviani from season 5 of Top Chef.

I don’t know which Reality Show stock character Fabio played (the Villain, the Wunderkind, the Harlot? We know which the other Fabio would be…), but I do know his imprint on Firenze Osteria is indelible and deliciously edible – offering delightful twists on traditional Italian cuisine – even with the restaurant’s Happy Hour menu. 

Even though we’d been to Federal Bar and already eaten our weight in fat grams, we still wanted to try out some of the yum-sounding $5 Happy Hour options at Firenze, so pal Ad-bot ordered the Fried Potato Skins – tossed in parmesan, truffle essence and served with a smoke pepper aioli, while I tried the Beet Crostini with a ball of fried polenta encrusted goat cheese. I loved the texture of the Potato Skins, just bordering on almost too crunchy, but actually just right! The serving size of those was definitely a good shareable appetizer size. I was very excited that my Beet Crostini was actually made with golden beets, but was concerned that it was only served with one piece of bread – not quite good for sharing, but it was turned out to be quite filling for me alone and the goat cheese in polenta was a great creamy tart complement to the beets’ earthy flavor. JG forwent the Happy Hour menu and sampled the Crème Brulee, a wonderful concoction with fresh fruit topping and that perfect glazed crisp skimming the top!

Potato Skins ($5) 

Beet Crostini ($5)

Crème Brulee (not on Happy Hour)

Now for drinks, we all tried the Sunday special – Sangria! Firenze Osteria’s sangria is a little different than others that I’ve tried because they make it on site in front of you – no long-marinating fruits. Instead they use a red or white wine (for red or white sangria, duh!) and add fruit juices and schnapps and then top off the whole shebang with a fruit-kebab. Both the white and red sangrias were awesome – the only thing missing was a porch for Sunday Sangria sipping!

White and Red Sangria ($5 each)

The inside of the restaurant and bar is nice enough though – dark ambiance with some nice soft light accents including what appears to be a block of kryptonite behind the bar (I had cable in the 80’s, I know what kryptonite is). And the waitstaff is excellent; we very much liked the helpful and attentive bartender Joe and the other folks who immediately closed some of the blinds when the 6pm June sun nearly blinded me – before I even said anything about it. Gotta love that kind of attention to your customers being nearly blinded! 

All that said, we’d definitely recommend stopping by Firenze Osteria and sampling their Happy Hour fare! And if you see Fabio, tell him we loved him on the cover of “Across a Wine-Dark Sea” – the wine part at least! 


Rating: 4.5 Martinis 

Firenze Osteria on Urbanspoon

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