Find Italian fare without the flight to Italy at Rosina’s

By Kelley Carlson

The dining experience at Rosina’s Italian Restaurant gives guests a taste of owner Rosina Gangale’s home life. Set in a simple-yet-elegant space in Piazza Santaluz, the eatery is designed to be comfortable and welcoming to everyone, from couples and families indulging in an authentic Italian meal, to customers casually dropping in for a glass of wine. “You feel like you’re in my house,” Gangale said. “There’s no pretension here.”

Pepperoni Repieni al Forno consists of baked banana peppers stuffed with sausage and herbs, topped tomato sauce and served with bruschetta. Photos by Kelley Carlson

Gangale is no stranger to the kitchen, enjoying cooking as much as she loves interacting with people. She has passed her culinary skills along to her sons Giancarlo and Gianfranco, who take turns as chefs at Rosina’s Santaluz and Oceanside locations. She strives to be a gracious hostess, constantly greeting guests and getting to know them.

“I take pride in serving good Italian food,” Gangale said. “It’s as good as it gets without flying all the way to Italy.”

Like a typical Italian meal, the dining experience at Rosina’s is encouraged to be experienced at a marathon pace, rather than a sprint. Meals begin with a basket of ciabatta delivered to the table, accompanied by a dipping sauce that’s a blend of sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

For the first course, many patrons start with the Pepperoni Repieni al Forno — baked banana peppers stuffed with sausage and herbs, and topped with tomato sauce. People who want something lighter may opt for the Insalata alla Siciliana, a mixture of avocado, English cucumber, tomatoes, red onion and ricotta salata cheese tossed with red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

A trio of entree choices include Alla Vodka, Funghi e Pisilli and Eggplant Della Nonna.

When it comes to main dishes, Gangale notes with pride that her pastas aren’t drowning in sauces. The slightly spicy Alla Vodka contains morsels of sautéed pancetta ham, onions, vodka, crushed tomatoes and a splash of cream over penne. There’s also Funghi e Pisilli, in which nearly every creamy forkful of pasta has peas and wild mushrooms. Seafood enthusiasts may select the Mare e Monte, with shrimp, scallops and calamari sauteéd with wild mushrooms in a tomato sauce with white wine.

Besides pastas, there are also crespelles (the Italian equivalent of crepes), the Pesce del Giorno (fresh fish of the day), and chicken and pork entrees. Wednesdays are Gourmet Pizza Night — pies with the traditional thin crust — and on Thursdays, Rosina’s Lasagna is in the spotlight.

Not all items are on the menu, but guests should ask about the availability of dishes such as the cioppino; pasta with wild boar ragu; and the Eggplant Della Nonna, featuring savory sausage wrapped in eggplant and baked in mozzarella.

To wrap up the meal, treats include hand-made cannoli and the Bonet, a Belgian chocolate flan with mascarpone. Among the libations are six craft beers on tap, and California and Italian wines. There’s no corkage fee on Mondays.

Rosina’s offers a Girls’ Night Out at 6:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month, in which $25 covers dinner and a glass of wine. Additionally, there are occasional wine dinners that pair Rosina’s cuisine with vintages from growers such as Temecula’s Wiens Family Cellars.

Rosina’s Italian Restaurant

14701 Via Bettona, Santaluz area of San Diego

(858) 759-4300 —

Signature Dishes: Pepperoni Ripieni al Forno, Alla Vodka, crespelles,

Mare e Monte

Open Since: 2013

Take Out: Yes

Reservations: Yes

Patio Seating: Yes

Happy Hour: No

Hours: 5-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday


Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured  ‘On The Menu’ restaurant.

For this week’s recipe, Rosina’s Tomato Sauce, click the link below:

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Posted by Staff on Mar 5, 2014. Filed under Food, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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