Osteria da Nino: Bringing the Bold Taste of Sicily to Shirlington

Nino Pino wants you to know that after three years of being slightly off the beaten path on the outskirts of the Village at Shirlington, his Osteria da Nino is doing very well.

“People are finding us, people have welcomed us to the neighborhood,” he said.

The location at 2900 S. Quincy Street is in the office building behind the Post Office and near the Village at Shirlington parking garage. You can park there, or in the free lot adjacent to the Osteria’s building, but admittedly isn’t as accessible as the restaurants on the main streets.

So Pino goes beyond the call of duty to attract and keep his customers. That includes homemade pasta, focaccia made daily on the premises and locally sourced seasonal goodness for fresh flavors in his Italian dishes. His menu, made of favorites from all over Italy but particularly Sicily, changes frequently to keep the clientele coming back for new experiences.

Pino, who was born and raised in Letojanni, Sicily, creates the menu and lets his chefs prepare the recipes, and both elements of this partnership take great pride in their creations. Include on that list of culinary creations the confit of duck leg ravioli in a mushroom ragu, and the Fettucine al Nero di Sepia, which finds squid ink pasta, tiger prawns, calamari, clams and mussels swimming in a dark chili-garlic wine sauce.

Where else have you had fresh fregula? At Nino’s Osteria, the small beads of pasta come in a Sardinian dish called Salmone Con Fregola Sarda, which blends Norwegian salmon, tomato confit, peppers, pistachio pesto, broccolini, pepper coulis and the fregola in a colorful array that is as lovely to look at as it is to consume. Take a picture and then dive in.

And, if you must, there’s spaghetti, of course, this one Pomodoro in a rich tomato confit and sprinkled with fresh basil.

Lunch is lighter by nature, with homemade paninis, salads (try the Caprese Puglia Burrata) and a hearty meatball sandwich on Italian country bread and parmesan-mozzarella cheese. Lunch pastas include orecchiette, fettucine, bucatini and a Gnudi con Polpa di Granchio, also available at dinner that has Maryland crab and ricotta gnocchi side by side.

There is a complimentary wine tasting the first Wednesday of each month from 5-7 p.m. There also are monthly wine dinners featuring the cuisine and wines of particular regions in Italy. On April 29, the region explored is Puglia. Diners experience four wines and four courses for $70.

Osteria di Nino is at 2900 South Quincy Street in Arlington near the Village at Shirlington. The website is here; call 703-820-1128 for reservations.

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