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A visit to La Rocca Osteria

La Rocca Osteria sits in a naturally light, french door wrapped location on Midland Ave. This Italian restaurant is the result of a 25 year journey by the owners, Robert and Caroline; this place is truly special to Montclair. 

Chef Robert Pantusa made his mark in our special town a few years ago with his beloved restaurant Giotto. Now, the simplistic flavors, generational recipes, traditional techniques and highest quality ingredients of his past restaurant followed him to La Rocca and we dine here at least once a month. It is one of our favorites!

La Rocca makes all of their pastas in house, and you can really taste it! Also their bread, sauces, and every single dish on the menu is guaranteed to be made with special care and detail by Chef Robert. This is a restaurant that is simply delicious; we don’t need any other adjectives to describe it, it’s just PERFECT! 

The restaurant truly believes that their home is yours. Please dine with them, enjoy the sweet and welcoming hospitality,  and leave with a piece of Italy inside of you. 

We enjoyed a 6 course meal at La Rocca Osteria and every single dish was better than the next. Continue to read along as we eat through a divine 6 course meal at La Rocca; all dishes are detailed below. Buon appetito! 

We started with the simple and delicious sweet garden pea soup. This first course was entirely vegetarian, just made with the peas, a vegetable broth with a drizzle of balsamic and toasted pumpkin seeds. Excluding the lobster Bisque on the menu, there is no cream in any of the soups at La Rocca.

We love starting our meal with a light soup. Next course!

Next we enjoyed the crab cake served over greens. The crust is seasoned nicely and kept all the warmth and flavor of the crab inside perfectly intact. Even though it is fried on the outside, this crab cake isn’t greasy or oily. In fact, it was perfect. The cake has a generous amount of lump, plump fresh crab. Delicious! 

Now time for the entrees…

The Spaghetti alla Chitarra is every seafood lover’s dream. When you mix hand made pasta with fresh seafood and a delicious sauce, it’s a 10/10. It is really so important for seafood to be FRESH otherwise the entire dish will taste “off.” But La Rocca is spot on!

It was at this point we started to understand that the sauces at La Rocca is what gives every single dish on their menu a 5 star rating. The sauce of a dish coats all the elements and turns pieces of seafood and pasta (in this case) into a cohesive and perfectly executed meal. Wait till we tell you about the sauce on the lasagna… 

The Spaghetti alla Chitarra is served with clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops calamari and a tomato sauce. So good!

If seafood pasta isn’t your favorite, you should definitely go for the lasagna! There aren’t too many ingredients, just the fresh pasta, 3 ground meats, cheese and, again, one of their absolutely delicious sauces that had us saying “oh my, this SAUCE!” about 10 times while enjoying this dish. This sauce has some texture to it, it’s not just a liquid as you can see from the pictures. This tomato sauce was a bit “tangey” and the texture of the pasta with the meats layered inside might have us claim this as the best lasagna ever. 

Now for some meat! The Sella di Agnello in Crosta (Rack of lamb, herbed bread crumb, garlic, rosemary) was so unbelievably delicious. Everything you need from a meat dish was here: perfectly cooked and seasoned, falling right off the bone, paired with another sauce that brought the entire dish together, and then complemented by some vegetables.  Chef Roberto is truly a brilliant chef and everything that comes out of the La Rocca kitchen is better than the next, we can’t explain it any other way!

Lastly dessert! Oh my there is so much YUM to choose from at La Rocca when it comes to desserts. We went with this fruity deliciousness that came with cannoli ice cream on top. Truly just a perfect ending to our meal, and once again we were delighted by the flavors and execution of the plate.

We always pay attention to how we feel after we leave a restaurant, as in if the food sits right inside of us, or if we feel extremely full, etc. What we love about our meal at La Rocca is that even though we ate A LOT, we didn’t feel slumped on the couch or overwhelmingly full. We felt GREAT and satisfied, which lets us know that the food quality is top notch and there is obvious love and care that goes into all of the dishes here. 

Like many Montclairians, La Rocca is one of our favorites in town. They are located at 21 Midland Ave. Book a table and prepare yourself for a lovely dinner. 

We cannot recommend La Rocca enough! Montclair, do you love this place as much as us?! Leave a comment below and let’s talk about how much we appreciate this place and Chef Robert together!

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