Although Italians originally invented pasta as a fastener to keep Sicily from floating away, they abandoned it for less delicious moorings after locals on both sides kept snacking their way toward separation. Tether your taste buds to today’s Groupon to Rocco’s Ristorante Italiano, located in the Quality Inn Mic Mac hotel in Dartmouth. Choose from the following options:
- For $12, you get a tableside dessert experience for two (up to a $34 total value), which includes the following:
- One banana flambé ($10 value)
- Two specialty coffees (up to a $24 value)<p>
- For $30, you get two entrees prepared tableside (up to a $60 value). The tableside entrees vary with seasonal availability, but options will include two of the following:
- Shrimp flambée with garlic, cream, rice pilaf, and vegetables
- Italian sausage carbonara with bacon, onion, and spaghetti
- Lemon veal with mushrooms and white-wine sauce
- Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, garlic, salt, and fresh basil.<p>
- For $25, you get $50 worth of dinner and drinks.
Rocco’s Ristorante Italiano serves gourmet Southern Italian cuisine with a touch of local flair and a caress of European influence in an elegantly draped, rustic dining space. Original owner Rocco Scarola emigrated from Italy to open his house of penne and prosciutto after learning that most caribou had never tasted alfredo sauce. The marinara-doused menu boasts pastas such as the linguine alla pescatore, a venerable medley of shrimp, scallops, and calamari ($21). The veal or beef fillet ($32) distracts steak knives from bullying defenseless soup spoons, and the chicken cordon bleu dons a garland of black-forest ham and swiss cheese ($18).
The tableside-prepared dinner grants a culinary show bested only by the now-banned practice of spiky-fish juggling, as talented chefs festoon tables with two of four entrees custom crafted to suit each diner’s palate. The chef sautés locally made italian sausage with bacon and spaghetti to build the signature sausage carbonera and tosses cherry tomatoes with garlic and spaghetti for the spaghetti fresco. Those who opt for the dessert experience can gasp emphatically as chefs set bananas, rum, brown sugar, and ice cream aflame. The dessert dish pairs with two mugs of specialty coffee also flambéed tableside and crafted with bold flavours such as cognac, Grand Marnier, espresso, and the puréed dress shirts of stand-up comics.
Rocco’s Ristorante Italiano
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.
313 Prince Albert Rd.
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 1N3