With invitation from VANEATS.ca, we checked out La Rocca, specifically its Viva La Rocca package. The package is a four-course dinner for two. Naturally, I extended the invitation to Mr. to be my guest.
Keep in mind that this is a special package so these dishes are not necessarily available on its regular menu, and even so, the portion size may vary. But this should be a good indication of the food quality at this restaurant.
Before dinner began, I couldn’t help but ordered myself a Bada Bing cocktail. If you know Mr.‘s real identity, you’d understand why. It’s not too bad for a girly drink. It’s quite light, and squeezing some juice out of the lime wedge helped bring out the flavours.
In addition to the 4-course meal, we received a small plate of Caesar Salad to try. The dressing was done right, you can taste the anchovies. It’s drizzled on top instead of a tossed salad, which I like because the lettuce and croutons would remain crunchy. We did point out that the croutons should be bigger and the chef assured that he usually uses bigger croutons for the salad.
Now onto the package. First course, Prosciutto Marinato e Arancia, marinated prosciutto. For us this is a new way of enjoying prosciutto as we tend to eat it on its own, or wrap around cantaloupe slices or grilled asparagus. The meat was very moist with the fresh rosemary, olive oil-based marinate. There were a few slices of orange; you can taste the citrus flavour but it’s definitely out-shone by the rosemary.
Next, Fettuccine con Gamberi. Although it’s not freshly made, the Fettuccine was done al dente and not mushy. The sauce was light (not rich and heavy like Alfredo sauce) and had just enough to coat the pasta. Sometimes I fear to receive mushy prawns in my dish – it reflects the quality of ingredients as well as the cooking skills of the chef. These ones in the pasta were cooked just right. They were slightly seasoned, not mushy and still had a bit of a crunch.
The main course is Pollo Ripieno al Marsala, stuffed chicken breast. Honestly I’m not a huge fan of chicken breasts. I prefer dark meat simply because of the fact that it’s difficult to make tasty, moist chicken breasts. Therefore I was skeptical when the dish arrived at our table. Overall, it wasn’t too bad. I was probably expecting a bigger piece of chicken but I like my meat. The stuffing was supposed to help lock in the moisture of the breast but I’d say it’s still on the dry side. However, the combination of sun-dried tomatoes, basil and chicken worked quite well. The surprise on this plate was the radicchio, grilled with a mayo-like dressing on top. I really enjoyed the char on the leaves and the bitterness in its taste.
Lastly, the dessert was Tiramisu, home-made by the restaurant. Personally I would’ve liked more Mascarpone mousse between the layers. Right now it felt a bit dense with the layers all packed together. Mr. recently checked out Cosca Restaurant and their Tiramisu was one of the best he’s ever had. With the two visits so close to each other, it’s hard not to compare. Mr. thinks Cosca has a better Tiramisu.
The restaurant was a bit quiet on a Thursday evening so it’s difficult to gauge its service level. With regards to our own dinner, I think our server was quite attentive and he would come check on us every so often, without being intrusive.
We saw that there’s a projector and screen installed in the restaurant, so I’m guessing you can reserve the entire dinning room for private parties.
Based on Mr.‘s rating scale, he would give La Rocca 8/10, which is a decent score since it’s difficult to score the bonus points on his system. In my opinion, Commercial Drive is known as the Little Italy, so it’s not easy to remain standing while competing against all other Italian restaurants since its opening in 1986. I think the restaurant has its charm, and after speaking with Chef Guzman, you can feel his passion about cooking. The Viva La Rocca package is $28, a four-course dinner for two people, and I think it’s a steal. Since only a certain amount of packages are available, grab it when you can. If you miss the deal, don’t let it stop you. Pay La Rocca a visit and check out its regular menu.
La Rocca Ristorante Italiano
1565 Commercial Drive, Vancouver