Another exciting restaurant transformation in Coronado and I was lucky enough, along with my friend Tendayi, to be one of the first to eat at the new Rosemary Trattoria. Owner and chef of well-established Coronado restaurant Chez Loma, Alex Martinez had closed his previous restaurant in the same location (120 Orange Ave), Fonda Don Diego, just over 20 days ago. Saturday evening was planned to be a soft opening at Rosemary for invited guests; but when a party of 12 walked up, they welcomed them in and served them without missing a beat.
Chef Alex is the most humble restaurateur I have had the pleasure of interviewing. His authentic smile is the energy that is felt as a customer from him and all of the friendly staff. He shared with me that if something isn’t right, they are there to make sure they get it right. They appreciate input and feedback. During our meal, there wasn’t much input to give other than a dish or two which could have had a little more seasoning. Both my guest and I have had close ties and/or trips to Italy, and we agreed that the food tasted exquisite.
Rosemary Trattoria uses a tag line on their menu, “Fresh Pasta and Friends,” and that is exactly the ambiance we felt in the restaurant. Complete with Italian tunes, a newly installed skylight to bring in some natural light, and overhead string lights make one feel like they are dining on an Italian outdoor patio. The beautiful murals of Fonda Don Diego will remain at this time, and Chef Alex said he hopes the customers come for the food and not because of the decor. The truth is the murals are lovely and it would be a shame to see them gone.
Chef has created a menu that for me saves a trip over the bridge to Little Italy. He makes his rosemary focaccia bread, which is served warm at the table, in-house daily (a labor of love). All of his sauces and the balsamic vinaigrette are also made in-house with fresh ingredients. The pesto sauce which we sampled on the Buratta salad (Buratta cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes, arugula, pesto sauce, and extra virgin olive oil) was out of this world. A perfect blend of ingredients with nothing overpowering the flavor, just creamy and delicate to the palate. We tasted (well we “ate” because we couldn’t bear to leave much on the plates) a wide sampling of the menu items.
With each bite, we both commented on how “clean” and “fresh” the food tasted. The calamari small plate (not a small serving) was lightly breaded and not the slight bit greasy, served with fresh marinara sauce and lemon slices. We couldn’t get enough of the cheese lasagna. It literally melted in our mouths, unlike any lasagna either of us had ever eaten. The pasta was cooked to perfection with just-right cheese blends topped with fresh house-made red sauce. They are offering small unique pizzas too, just like I had in Rome.
Rosemary’s menu items ranges in price from $8-20 ($25 for Ossobucco, braised veal shank over creamy polenta) and all entrees are served with a fresh salad. The serving sizes are perfect, enough to fill you up. A Kids Menu is available for children 12 and under with six selections from $5.50-$7. Gluten-free and whole-grain pasta options are available for a small additional charge on all pasta dishes.
For your sipping pleasure they have a nice selection of wines by the glass or bottle, and a variety of beers to pair with your meal. Whatever you do, DO NOT skip dessert and a cappuccino or espresso. We devoured the freshly made cheesecake and the tiramisu. Again, made on site. Both were delicious, but the tiramisu was the lightest, fluffiest, straight from heaven blend of goodness either of us had ever tasted.
All in all, Rosemary is a perfect place for a night out. For now, they are open only for dinner, from 5pm to 9pm, six nights a week (closed Mondays), with expanded hours coming soon. Do yourself and the island a favor, let’s make this restaurant a success. The vibe, the flavors and the service make it a friendly spot to frequent regularly.
Rosemary Trattoria is located at 120 Orange Avenue.