Last week, my family and I returned from our first trip to Mexico and I couldn’t wait to share my experience with my girlfriends so we booked a lunch date at Rocco’s.
I was looking for a restaurant on Lakeshore for a few reasons. 1: It’s in the middle of us three. 2: it’s not a chain so we can support mom and pop type places and 3: we can take a nice stroll with our little ones once we are done. I found Rocco Restaurant and Bar and it had great reviews.
The restaurant is located underneath a condo building and a 2 minute walk from the Lake. It looks small from the outside but it has a side Patio and is quite spacious inside.
We sat at the end of the restaurant right by the window so we could have enough space to line up strollers and ensure we weren’t getting in anyone’s way! These days, it is key to have enough space for strollers so that’s a must for us.
Marc- one of the owners was around when we showed up and was gracious enough to let us know that the fall menu of Rocco’s would be up in a few weeks and we were one of the first that could try items off of the new menu!
Before I even begin discussing the food, I have to say that I’m impressed with restaurants that are constantly changing/upgrading items off their menu in order to keep their customers satisfied, bring in new ones, and know that they are one step ahead of the competition. The thing about mom and pop restaurants is that they constantly have to keep on their toes because they are competing with local chains that are well established so the dishes they select need to be made to perfection! Rocco’s is 4 years young, but for a relatively new establishment, I was extremely impressed.
Alright, let’s move on to the food! After hearing the signature dishes from Marc, below is what we ordered:
Contents: cherry tomato salad with olives in a fire roasted vinaigrette dressing with mozzarella di buffalo and basil as garnish.
Tasty: 4 out of 5
Filling: 4 out of 5
Comments: this dish was served with a side of bread. Okay, after the bread was all done, I pretty much ate this like a soup! This could have easily been a main dish and if you added in pasta, you would have yourself one extremely tasty and flavoured pasta bowl. I give this dish 4 frequent flyer foodie points!
Contents: fish of the day, a medley of fresh vegetables, green apple, lemon juice and citrus aioli
Tasty: 3.5 out of 5
Filling: 3 out of 5
Comments: This dish was very interesting. I wasn’t sure if this was a salad because of its contents but it sure was flavourful. It was very light and extremely healthy so I loved that we didn’t order a cheese dip with bread. The fish was extremely fresh. I’m just not sure it all came together the way I thought it would. I give this dish 3.5 Frequent Flyer Foodie Points!
Contents: Asparagus seasoned with salt and pepper and served in a labane cream sauce with smokey sliced almonds.
Tasty: 4 out of 5
Comments: This was such an interesting and flavourful appetizer. I think what really brought this dish home was the smoked almonds. I’m not a huge fan of asparagus but the cream sauce was a great way to bring some greens onto my plate. I give this dish 4 Frequent Flyer Foodie Points!
Contents: Spiced rack of lamb on a bed of minty garlic yogurt served with crispy sweet potatoes.
Tasty: 5 out of 5
Filling: 5 out 5
Comments: WOW WOW WOW! The lamb fell off of the bone and when I was dipping it in the yogurt, the meat and sauce just meshed perfectly. The lamb melted in my mouth and it was definitely bone licking type of delicious. The sweet potatoes were full of flavour, very soft from the inside and crispy from the outside. This dish was so healthy and I couldn’t have thought of another perfect pairing than the above plate. This dish deserves 5 Frequent Flyer Foodie out of 5!
Cedar Plank Salmon
Contents: Maple pommery glazed salmon filet, beet root risotto, wilted arugula & seasonal vegetables.
Tasty: 6 out of 5
Filling: 5 out of 5
Comments: This has to be the best fish I’ve had at a restaurant to date. The salmon was mouth watering delicious, soft and melted in your mouth. The sweetness of the maple glaze wasn’t too overwhelming which is great. It paired perfectly with the risotto and then topped with grilled vegetables that were garnished with what tasted like light salted butter. Heaven on a plate is how I described it to my husband. Because I wanted another dish immediately, I’m giving this dish 6 Frequent Flyer Foodie Points!
Braised Beef Ravioli
Contents: braised beef ravioli, caramelized onions, diced tomatoes, roasted garlic, mushrooms & white truffle cream sauce
Tasty: 4 out of 5
Filling: 5 out of 5
Comments: Sauce is everything! If the sauce isn’t flavourful, the dish won’t come together. They nailed the sauce! It wasn’t too thick of thin and had a bit of kick to it as well. I give this dish 4 Frequent Flyer Foodie Points!
All three mains were different and exquisite. That’s the best choice of two words to describe our food experience. I loved everything from the colourful palette of each dish, to the uniqueness of sauces chosen, to the perfectly cooked meat on each plate! My favourite dish from all 3 would hands down be the salmon just because I haven’t had an experience like this before. The sides to the salmon really brought it all together.
My Final Thoughts
Going to a restaurant isn’t just about the food, its about the culture and atmosphere as well. I always travel with great company because what could be better than a good meal with great friends. We all loved Rocco Restaurant and Bar for the food and experience. The place is very welcoming, warm and you can tell that they have regulars that eat there everyday. That’s what I like. Restaurant owners knowing their customers by their first name and welcoming feedback about their short stay during lunch or dinner. I came home and shared some pictures with my husband and guess where our next date night spot will be? RJ OUT!
Frequent Flyer Foodie Ratings
Dish Uniqueness: ****
Location: **** ( 7 minutes off the highway)
Parking: *** (right in front of the restaurant there is street/paid parking)