If Cucciolo Osteria has been on your list forever (like it was for me), here’s a sign to move it up your list! We recently went for my belated birthday dinner and had a lovely experience. This blog post will not have a lot of photos because we went for a late dinner and the lighting wasn’t great (and you know my iPhone 11 is not equipped for poor indoor lighting lol); I will do my best to describe everything!
We managed to get a Sunday evening reservation though we were looking sort of late. When you make a reservation, you can choose Standard (tables), Bar, or High Top. Proportionally, they have a lot of bar seating and high top tables because those run almost the entire length of their space while the standard tables are located at the front and back only. They are located within Brightleaf District in downtown Durham. While there is a parking lot for the building, you might have to find street parking as their lot is not very large.
We felt too excited to be out late Sunday evening (you know I am usually getting ready for bed at 8:30pm!) but both the lot and the restaurant were packed. They have a handful of outdoor seating with heat lamps FYI. We were seated at the bar (by the time Alex was booking, Bar seating was the only thing left). There are no plastic dividers between groups at the bar like some restaurants are doing.
For antipasti, we had the Roasted Beet Salad ($13; seemed very popular) and Walnut Pesto and Tomato Bruschetta, which was the special of the evening. The Roasted Beet Salad was great (and enough food to be a meal for one person) but we LOVED the Bruschetta.
For main, we had the Linguine Alla Carbonara ($15) and the Spicy Vodka Tomato Cream Rigatoni ($14). While I was doing a noodle pull for a quick photo, all I could think about was how delicious the carbonara smelled. I loved then Spicy Vodka Rigatoni a little bit more though Alex loved the carbonara more. We also split a half bottle of a Malbec (because we were being #fancy), which yielded about three glasses and it was perfect.
Both pastas were generous servings, especially the Carbonara so we were stuffed! But not too stuffed to say no to the tiramisu! The tiramisu was delightfully fluffy.
We were happy with our dining experience and can’t wait to be back! The bill was about $100 for the two antipasti, two pastas, a half bottle of wine, and dessert. If we were to do it again, we would probably just get one antipasti since the pastas are very reasonably portioned. And we usually don’t do both drinks and dessert so if you choose just one or the other, I think you can have a great date night experience at Cucciolo Osteria for ~$50 (before tips)!