You wouldn’t be able to tell by the weather we’re having in Toronto, but spring is here! And with summer around the corner, people can get excited about warm temperatures, hanging out on patios, and of course, a new and exciting menu from Ristorante Rosina. Opening just over a year ago in the King West neighbourhood, this restaurant specializes in cooking up southern Italian – specifically Calabrian – food that any nonna would be proud to serve. With recipes passed down from the mother of owner Domenic Taverniti – the aforementioned Rosina – how could these dishes not be mouthwateringly delicious?
Thanks to the amazing team at Neighbourhood Creative, I had the opportunity to try some of Rosina’s most popular dishes, as well as preview some new items that will be available to the public this coming summer.
As it was my first time eating at Rosina’s I didn’t know what to expect, but I soon found out that these guys do not fool around. With a modern Mediterranean décor, the restaurant includes a beautiful portrait of Rosina at the front entrance, and an awesome pizza peel design in the resemblance of the Italian flag at the back.
Immediately upon sitting I was brought an order of arancini with a crispy outer and cheesy, gooey inner, as well the polpette – tender meatballs covered in Rosina’s homemade tomato sauce.
Both were so good that I probably could have eaten about 20 of each. The fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in crispy prosciutto was the star of the antipasti. Served on a bed of arugula, this dish brought everything you would want in one bite – the sweet figs, creamy and savoury goat cheese, salty prosciutto, and a fresh peppery taste from the arugula. It truly is a flavour bomb, and coming to the menu very soon! Another item that will be on the summer menu is the classic Prosciutto e Melone. But instead of the typical cantaloupe, it is served with honeydew melon which gives the dish a great contrast in colour.
At Rosina all of the pasta is made fresh in house and cooked to a perfect al dente. Tagliatelle ai Funghi Misti is tossed in a luscious cream sauce with mushrooms, and served with a drizzle of truffle oil that takes the dish to another level. The Lasagna is carefully layered with beautifully light pasta noodles, meat sauce, mozzarella and parmigiano cheese. Baked to perfection, a slice of this will take you to places you’ve never been before. Soon to be introduced at Rosina are two new pasta dishes – Gnocchi ai Tre Colori and Spaghetti Frutti di Mare. The gnocchi are like fluffy pillows served in a trio of sauces – homemade pesto, cream sauce topped with walnuts, and tomato sauce – cleverly making up the colours of the Italian flag. Give me another plate of this and I think I can die a happy man. The spaghetti is served in the tomato sauce and tossed with mussels, shrimp, and calamari. Anyone who enjoys seafood will absolutely crush this plate of pasta.
Make no mistake about it though, the pizza here is also incredible. Placing multiple times at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Domenic Taverniti has implemented the same pizza recipe his family has been using for years. Highlighted by pizzas such as the Calabrese, Rosina, and Prosciutto, the menu is filled with amazing options. Being one of the first people to use honey on pizza, Domenic and his team at Rosina drizzle it on the Calabrese pizza which is filled with hot soppressata, nduja sausage, and black olives. The Rosina is a pesto base topped with gorgonzola, roasted red peppers, soppressata and nduja. While the pesto adds great freshness to the pizza, the gorgonzola performs a balancing act with the spicy soppressata and nduja. The pizza Prosciutto is a white pizza with mozzarella, arugula, slices of prosciutto, olive oil, and a drizzle of that oh-so-good truffle oil which gives it some added depth. After trying these three, I think it’s safe to say here that the pizzas are anything but ordinary.
When you go to Rosina, you have to finish your meal with a nice dessert, even if you just ate everything on the menu. Try the freshly made tiramisu – so light and fluffy you’re going to feel like you’re on a cloud. Pair it with a nice espresso or a digestivo and you’ll be ending your experience on the perfect note.
Looking back on my experience, it seems like you can’t go wrong with any dish that you choose here. Get ready for new items like the Stuffed Figs, Gnocchi ai Tre Colori, Spaghetti Frutti di Mare, and all of the tasty classics coming your way this summer at Ristorante Rosina! My mouth has been watering so much as I write this so I may have to head there now. Ciao!