In Lavariano, near Udine, AB Osteria Contemporanea is the realm of the young and talented chef Anna Barbina who has turned the town's historic tavern into a refined gourmet "refuge", among design pieces and works of art.
Anna Barbina wanted to be a lawyer or, at least, that was what she thought when she chose the University of Law but, following her heart, she preferred a candid chef’s uniform to the toga. Thus, in 2018, in the heart of Lavariano, a small town in the province of Udine, AB Osteria Contemporanea opens in the spaces of what was first a historic shop and later a well-known starred restaurant, right next to the church.
Strengthened by important experiences, starting from the Academy of Niko Romito up to the elegant cuisine of Antonia Klugmann, Anna’s gastronomic proposal matches tradition and contemporaneity, in a journey that elevates her culinary origins towards new horizons and visions.
The name chosen for the restaurant, my initials, are the symbol of a great passion that I love to share with my guests: preparing new and tasty recipes according to the seasons. (Anna Barbina, chef)
The interior design, created by Anna together with the architect Amalia Masi, well reflects this duality in a continuous alternation of historical elements and contemporary touches. At the entrance the warm atmosphere of the Osteria, with its original counter and the beautiful 1950s cement tile floor have been maintained, contrast with the original dark walls, the large gilded mirrors and the minimal iron bookcase where volumes of cuisine and handicraft products of excellence. Here it is possible to sip a glass of wine paired with some gourmet appetizers such as, for example, cod croquettes, arancini with goose ragout or Maritozzo with wild boar and Stravecchio cheese.
From the Osteria, a large stone door leads to the restaurant room, intimate and scenic, dominated by the maxi brass chandeliers by Gervasoni which swirl in the center of the space like golden petals. The interior is completed by the seats made in Manzano, the famous artisan area “of the Friulian chair”, and, on the walls, the works of the artist Marco Ciani, aka Ciarco, a finalist for the Midolini art prize in Udine.
The mise en place is simple and elegant with Sambonet cutlery, linen napkins and goblets screen-printed with images of game animals. For the table tops, a shiny blue granite was chosen, left “naked” to enhance its veins, while the cutlery rests were created with original stones collected by Anna during her walks.
In the summer it is possible to enjoy a large outdoor area for a summer lunch or dinner surrounded by greenery.
The choice of suppliers rigorously looks at Slow Food Presidia, favoring organic products of the highest quality. From creamed cod cannolo to goose breast accompanied by potatoes whipped with butter and dates, from risotto with leek, lemon and nutmeg to desserts, such as the almond flour tartlet with quince mousse, each dish is a surprise of taste and balance.
Even the wine list is full of stimuli, followed with passion and great wisdom by Enza, Anna’s mother and sommelier for more than 40 years. Local wines are privileged, in particular the best wineries in Friuli Venezia Giulia producing natural wines. At AB Osteria Contemporanea, even after dinner is special, thanks in particular to the excellent “homemade” digestives, such as Cinar, Tanaceto, or cherry distillate. The perfect conclusion to the wonderful journey into taste that Anna loves to create for all of her guests.
Above the jamb of the stone door that connects the osteria with the restaurant, mysterious hieroglyphs are engraved. Every year in November, the “Festa Dell’oca e del Vin Novello” (festival of the goose and new wine) takes place in Lavariano and it seems that the previous owner of the tavern was one of the organizers and founders of this event. As a tribute to the anniversary, the man decided to have a series of related symbols carved on the stone with the aim of telling it to posterity, thus delivering his beloved creature “to eternity”.
AB Osteria Contemporanea
Via Aquileia 5
33050 Lavariano, Udine
Tel. +39 351 5678542
Entrées: 13 — 17 euro
First Courses: 16 euros
Main Courses: 18 — 25 euro
Desserts: 8 euro
4-courses tasting menu: 40 — 55 euro (with paired wines)
6-courses tasting menu: 60 — 82 euro (with paired wines)