Rocco Scarola left his hometown of Bari, Italy in 1967 and spent the next quarter century honing his culinary expertise in some of the best restaurants in Halifax. By 1992, he was ready to share his knowledge of Southern Italian cuisine––as well as his mother's treasured oven-baked pasta recipe––with the Nova Scotian masses. Together with his wife Gail and head chef Tracey Cromwell, Rocco finally realized his dream of creating a refined, yet relaxed atmosphere where people could come together to enjoy a good meal, hearty conversation, and an opera-singing wait staff. In 2008, he passed his enterprise to his partners of eight years, Hanna and Robert Gibson, who continue to honor the Italian traditions and excellent service that has made Rocco's a success for almost two decades.
Today, diners can still find Rocco's mother's pasta on the brunch menu, featured alongside Rocco's own coveted pizza recipe, built upon his signature handmade crust. Local seafood and meats from nearby Martock Glan Farms put a modern, sustainable spin on classics such as veal limone and zuppa di pesce dell'aragosta (lobster and fiddlehead bisque), and salads are tossed tableside to prove both the freshness of the ingredients and the existence of gravity. Signature pastas include a spaghetti carbonara topped with garlic and scallops and meat lasagna layered with béchamel and a secret ingredient, though servers make no secret of the fact that all pastas are available in whole grain or gluten-free versions for guests with sensitivities.
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