Located in a nondescript strip mall on the edge of downtown Santa Rosa, Rosso Pizzeria + Wine Bar is anything but. With its cheeky tagline, “Passionate about food, wine & soccer,” stylish interior, and locavore sensibility, Rosso is fresh, fun + fabulous!
The Tuscan wood-burning oven is a focal point of the restaurant, and pizzas are definitely the centerpiece of the menu. Offerings include “red base” pies, such as the “Goomba” with house-made mozzarella and spaghetti and meatballs (!) and “white base” ones, including the “Funghi” with mixed mushrooms, fontina cheese and artichokes.
In addition to pizza, the menu features antipasti, salads, piadine (flatbread with salad topping), and seasonal chalkboard specials.
Highlights of our meal: Fritto Misto, lightly fried calamari, green beans and other veggies in a spicy aioli; a crisp arugula and oven-roasted artichoke salad with bright lemon vinaigrette; the aforementioned Funghi pizza; and the daily special of braised short ribs with polenta (be still my heart!).
Let’s not forget that Rosso bills itself as a pizzeria and wine bar, and the designation is well deserved. The list is divided into “Here,” “There,” and “Everywhere,” and includes more than 30 wines offered by the glass, 250 ml carafe and 500 ml carafe. Many of our favorites are featured—Medlock Ames, Radio Couteau and Peay, among them, and there are lots of opportunities to try something new as well. Two discoveries: a Vacheron Sancerre and the Bergstrom Reserve Pinot Noir from the stellar 2008 Oregon vintage.
Like the food, the interior is rustic and modern. A bowl of lemons and array of magazines welcome guests to the open, airy room, accented in rich reds and warm browns. Three cool design elements: An impressive wall of wine anchors the bar area; the word “YES” is stenciled over the doorway that leads to the restrooms and “NO” over the one that doesn’t; and a bathroom features framed photos of the owner’s children and dogs, underscoring the restaurant’s welcoming, convivial air.
In addition to restaurant service, Rosso provides take-out and catering. Definitely take advantage of one of the delicious options! Buon Appetito!