Rosarios Ristorante (Boca Raton)

Posted on January 23rd, 2010 · Boca Raton Italian

Rosarios Ristorante, 145 Southeast Mizner Boulevard, Boca Raton, Florida 33432 (561) 393-0758.

In one word…DON’T.

This Italian joint use to be called La Viola…it’s now called Rosarios, but the owner is the same guy, Rosario Lanza. Not going to go into the history of Rosarios but it started out as La Viola, got sold and the old owner is now back with a new name for the joint.

Tried… house-salad, rigatoni alla vodka, grilled chicken, filet of sole francese and eggplant parmigiana. Other than the sole and house salad which were good, the food is second rate. The chicken-pasta-eggplant were as bland as could be. Your local pizza joint serves better stuff—much better stuff. Rosarios serves 1/2 portions (for one person) and full portions (for two people)…portions are very skimpy and everything is ala carte. Some soggy-shoe leather garlic bread comes with the meal. On the pricing front—rigatoni-$13.95-$22.95, chicken (only full portions available)-$29.95, filet of sole-$18-$30.95, eggplant-$12.95-$20.95. The house-salad only comes in full-portions at $13.95 a pop.

Let’s talk service…HORRENDOUS. Food was ordered at 7:35pm and the salad arrived at (approximately) 8:15pm and everything else at 9:05pm. ***Our waiter blamed the slow food-delivery on the “kitchen” telling our party that the restaurant was very busy. What absolutely amazes me about lousy waiters is that they don’t understand that the customer couldn’t give a rat’s ass about why the meal is a disaster. All I know… I “pays” my money and I “wants” my food…and the waiter’s problems, the owner’s problems, the kitchen’s problems, shouldn’t be my problem. I personally had to ask the waiter 6 times for a water-refill, before “mission accomplished.” My requested ice-tea refill, despite 3 requests…never appeared. Dirty dishes, were left to pile-up.

This joint is bad news. You can check for menu/price/photos but you really would be wasting your time.

47 Comments to “Rosarios Ristorante (Boca Raton)”

  1. HG says...

    You sure called this one.
    La Viola was a great restaurant years ago in the 5 Towns.
    La Viola opened in Boca a number of years ago and was a very good restaurant with its family style setup. Never in Matteo’s league but very good.
    La Viola was sold and for a number of years floundered and died. The food and service were terrible.
    The original owner got the restaurant back and changed the name to Rosarios.
    Why he was unable to restore everything is beyond me, but the service and food are as bad as you wrote.
    Another thing that you didn’t mention is that Rosarios caters to an “old” crowd. I recently ate there and I’d bet that the average age is 75 if not older. The vibe is old and maybe these folks are willing to accept less than good food and service because of a seemingly cheap price.


  2. cd says...

    This restaurant is an old ladies home. Food stinks. Why anyone would eat here is beyond me. You can go right across fed highway to matteo’s and for basically the same money have a fantastic meal.

  3. Ronald says...

    Hey Jeff,
    I used to go here when it was La Viola and I have been back many times since Rosario came back and changed the name. I cant say that I agree with you. Obviously you ate what you ate and had the service that you had but I usually enjoy their food and their service is always hospitable. Maybe it was the night? I would give it another try if you can find your way back there some day.


  4. JM says...

    Unfortunalty you didn’t approve my last response because you don’t allow people to write their opinion even though you have a website dedicated to yours. In short, this review is false. As a custome of this restaurant for many years and someone who has dined at many great restaurants in Florida and through out the country I will say that Rosarios is great. To anyone reading this review, give Rosarios a try, you won’t regret it. After all, this is the Internet, which means I have as much credibility and Jeff.

    • BocaFoodFinds says...

      I would have to agree with you JM. I went there after hearing that the Food Network was filming an episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” there. We had superb service and the food was great and we took advantage of their wonderful summer specials. I had the pounded veal chop which was enough for lunch the next day too! I would highly recommend the place. And for anyone who hasn’t been there in a while, I’d recommend you give it another try. Plus, I hear they are beginning a happy hour Sunday through Fridays from 5 – 7pm with 2 for 1 drinks and a $5 Bar Menu.

      • howie says...

        BocaFoodFinds is a shill site that never missed an opportunity to advertise happy hours. I’d knock this one off jeff.

  5. Anthony Franza says...

    Some people know and some people don’t know. I’m a born and bred Brooklyn Italian. I have been eating Italian food since 1941. I know what’s good and what’s not. Rosarios is not good. Think what you want, but Rosarios is a second rate restaurant.

  6. DS says...

    Just took out a large pizza and a chicken cacciatore on the bone from Nino’s. This is real good food. This mom pop makes food that runs circles around Rosarios and almost everybody else.

  7. CR says...

    Wow, this review couldnt be more off base. The responses to this are also pretty entertaining. There seems to be an agenda to lean people toward another restaurant. So everyone born in Brooklyn is a food critic blogger now? Anyway, Rosarios has great food, the service is far from horrendous, and the owner is very nice. It seems to be the smart thing to believe that when you are in business for 17 or so years in a city like Boca especially, you must be doing something right. Thanks!

  8. JeffEats says...

    CR: Just had a chance to read your post.

    What is, is…last Saturday night I ate at Rosarios. The food wasn’t all that good and the service was horrendous. You may have had a different experience than I did, but my call is my call.

    As for your comment about Brooklyn food critics…you are reading Jeff Eats and writing to Jeff Eats, not the other way around. You don’t like, don’t read, don’t write.

    Now let’s talk about those 17 years that you mention. Rosarios was originally called La Viola. The current owner after a number of years sold the joint and then after a few years took the joint back renaming it Rosarios. Now my friend, if La Viola was doing so well in the first place, why did he sell it?…and then why did he take the restaurant back and then change the name from La Viola to Rosarios? Just a theory, the name change was made because the La Viola name was no longer shall-we-say “any good”…

    Thanks for reading…

    • Vinnie D. says...

      Jeff, you are so right on that comment. Rosario’s is a second rate restaurant.

  9. Larry S. says...

    On Saturday night I had a group of 13 for dinner at Rosarios. My reservation was promptly honored at 7:30pm. From that point on the evening went down hill. When I made the reservation a week before, I ORDERED THE FOOD, so all the waiter had to do was take drink orders and coffees at the end. My group sat from 7:30 pm until almost 8pm before our salads were served. The appetizers didn’t come out until almost 8:30 pm and the main dishes were not brought out until 9:10 pm. Keep in mind, the food had been ordered in advance, so there should have been no execuse for it not being timely prepared or served. Countless requests for water refills were made in vain and it was nearly impossible to get the waiter’s attention. The waiter also had to be asked numerous times to refill the garlic bread basket. By the way, Jeff Eats is so correct that the bread was soggy. This was a total mess. On the food, some was good and some was just passable. The table was so frustrated in not getting food and service that the evening was just not enjoyable. One other item, the salad and appetizer dishes were allowed to pile up on the table and were not removed until I complained to a bus girl who couldn’t have cared less.

  10. CR says...

    JeffEats: Just had a chance to read your post

    I am reading JeffEats (and believe me, judging by this review, it wont happen again) because I stumbled upon it while searching for some info about another “joint”. My Brooklyn comment is because your from Brooklyn and another responder is from Brooklyn and that obviously makes you both food connoisseurs, riiight. Well guess what, Im from New York too, Im Italian, I travel, so maybe I should make a blog blasting someones living so people can be pointed toward another “Joint”.

    As far as 17 years, you and your first responder should learn the facts before posting on a blog. The owner, Rosario, owned it for 15 years. Unfortunately he had a heart attack and due to health reasons decided to retire. Thats allowed right. People can sell their business while they are doing well because they feel like it or otherwise. Like many he was sick of retirement and decided to go back into the business with his son. The new owners of “La Viola” went packing because they stunk up the “joint”. So Rosario went back there, changed the name because he sold the name and company, and put his own name. How do I know this? Because I dine there a 1-2 times a month and the owner and his wife are extremely nice and dont mind sharing what happened.

    So Larry S., you waited in 1/2 hour intervals for your food to come on a busy Saturday night? Seems about right to me. I usually like spending 2 hours when I dine. I dont like to be rushed. Just because you ordered food in advance doesnt mean they cooked it a week before either. Just a thought.

    Jeff, I respect anyones opinion. After all this is a free country. However when it is off base, when some responders seem to lean people towards other places, and some “facts” are just not facts, then I have a problem with opinions. Thank you.

  11. CR says...

    Another reply to Larry, which I forgot to mention. If the bread was so terrible why are you requesting more baskets?

  12. Larry S says...

    CR: The reason why we asked for more bread, is that everyone was starving waiting for their food to come to the table. The bread was soggy, but it was still something to eat while we waaaaaiiiiited. I couldn’t care less what you think, but Rosarios is a second rate restaurant.

  13. Steve says...

    I ate here a couple Saturdays ago. Me, my wife, and the other couple we went with all enjoyed ourselves. I had the veal vigna which was really good. The house salad it came with was also tasty and the side of spaghetti marinara had just the right amount of garlic flavor in the sauce which I love. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their food as well. For dessert I tried some tiramisu and it was fantastic. The garlic bread and the other bread that is served was also good. To me, the place was great and we will be back.

  14. Been a Boca resident for over 30 years. Probably have eaten in every Italian restaurant that is or was in this area. There are fancy and plain places. As far as I am concerned the best plain place is Nino’s with Dominic’s II a close runnerup. There are many good ones but these are the two best in my opinion. On the fancier list, no one is better than Matteo’s. Next comes Renzo’s. There are other good ones but this is the creme la creme. On the Rosarios discussion this is not or should not be at the top of anyone’s list. It is okay but for the same kind of money you can do a whole lot better.

  15. Stan says...

    Great restaurant, very hospitable owners, and great food. I love their tomato sauce and their fish dishes ( snapper livornese, sole franchese, etc…).

  16. F.F. says...

    You recently mentione Carlo’s. Tried this one and it was really good. Why spend money at Rosarios when you can get a better meal for the same money at restaurant like Carlo’s? It just doesn’t make too much sense.
    In the same area are renzo’s and Matteo’s, both are also better. For less money you got Augy’s or Nino’s, or Dominic’s. There are much better Italian places in Boca than Rosarios.
    Don’t listen to the posters who are pushing this place the food really isn’t that good and it is an old ladies’ place. The first and which would be the last time I was there it looked like an old age home.

    If you don’t believe, try it and then post your comments. You will be on my side.

  17. Bobby F. says...

    Anyone who considers Rosario’s a first class Italian restaurant knows absolutely nothing about Italian food.
    Other writers have told you their picks so I won’t go into mine. What I know is that Rosario’s food is for the most part just mediocre.
    The only way you will know if Jeff or some of us writers are correct, is by giving Rosario’s a try.

  18. JB says...

    My family and I absolutely love Rosarios. Him and his wife are very hospitable and make you feel at home. We were excited to know that Rosario came back. He is truly one of the most underrated restaurateurs in the area. I cant believe all of the negative reviews posted on here. The baked clams and fried calamari are great, the chicken country style and veal parm are delicious and their tiramisu is the best in South Florida. They received 3 1/2 stars out of 4 from a real critic a few months ago so that should tell you something as well.

  19. JeffEats says...

    JB: Just had a chance to read your post.

    I say that Rosarios isn’t too good. You say it’s terrific. That’s what is called a difference of opinion.

    Just so you know, before Jeff Eats’ site crashed I had a rave review about the old La Viola and defended the joint against an extremely negative review that the Sun Sentinel had given it. That said, today’s Rosarios is not very good.

    I know that the Sun Sentinel recently gave the joint 3 1/2 stars. That’s the guy’s opinion. Now for your “real critic” comment…The Sun Sentinel makes its living by getting ads from restaurants, Jeff Eats doesn’t take ads. Now, take a wild guess, who do you think would be more objective, the reviewer who can’t make one single dime from a review or the critic who works for a newspaper that needs revenue from ads? Now, that’s an easy one to figure out. Now, if you do some checking, you will find that in March 2009 Jeff Eats was voted by a certain newspaper as the #1-best every day food blog site in South Florida. Guess, what? I am a real critic and I have an enormous readership. Don’t believe me…you wrote to me, I didn’t write to you.

    Thanks for reading…

  20. gr says...

    hey jeff, took food out from Giovanni’s the other night and it wasn’t good. the wings and plain pizza just weren’t all that good.

    on this rosarios, the facts are simple, the original name was la viola, it was okay, the owner sold and the new owner screwed it up, the old owner got it back and renamed it rosarios. i use to eat there when the original owner had it, no question that since he is back, he hasn’t got the touch any more, because it isn’t good. the food which use to be outstanding is now just fair. there are a ton of better places in boca.

  21. Larry C. says...

    I know Italian food.
    I know that Rosarios is nothing special.
    You want great food you go to Il Gabbiano. You are going to pay but you get great food.
    You want reasonable red sauce food, you go to Nino’s, Dominic’s, Augy’s, Pizza Time.

  22. Angela Caruso says...

    Funny how everyone writes I know Italian food. That is like me writing I know Jewish, Indian or Chinese. I am 100% Italian and I KNOW ITALIAN FOOD! Generations and generations, living in Italy qualifies me to know traditional Italian food. Cannot comment on any other.
    What qualifies you to be a food critic?
    I know, I eat in restaurants twice a week but that does not qualify me as a critic
    What qualifies you to be an expert on Italian food?
    Are you a chef or have some kind of food degree?
    Are you of Italian descent?
    Have you ever ran a business?
    If you have, have you ever needed to fire an employee due to his lack of service?
    What gives you the right to be so judgemental on a business where to the point you dedicate a website to it?
    Do you or have you ever ran a business?
    Would love to know the name or prior names or can do a search if you wont divulge
    Bottom line, I am not from Brooklyn but from the North Shore of Long Island. Having moved here seasonal to Delray Beach, I have found a few good Italian restaurants that I can rate based on my personal opinion (because I do not have a degree qualifying me) and based on my Italian heritage. Started with Tramonti’s. Excellent Italian food on Atlantic Ave. Arturo’s and Renzo’s on Federal Highway in Delray/Boca. The King of all Kings, hands down is Rosarios. This man is the best chef I have ever had the pleasure to experience. His baked clams are to die for, even beating Matteos from Long Island, his eggplant rollatini is a killer. His sauce is so sicilian and fresh and genuine. This restaurant rated a 4 1/2. This is by far the closest thing I ever had to Italy. You need to explain yourself. You are dead wrong. Answer the questions. Frankly, I dont care what you say, Rosario is the best chef fron New York to Florida. And that my friend, is based on my dining and my HERITAGE!

  23. Angela, if you think that Rosarios is “The King of all Kings” you might want to question that Italian heritage of yours, maybe you were adopted and are Polish, Jewish, Irish, French or something else, because no respecting Italian would call Rosarios the best food.
    I’m sticking with Jeff.
    By the way, you don’t have to go to cooking school or get a degree to know what is and isn’t good food.
    You obviously don’t.
    By the way, I see that Jeff also didn’t like Tramonti but did like Renzo’s. Personally, I think that Tramonti stinks and Renzo’s is like Rosarios just fair.
    The best Italian food in the Boynton-Delray-Boca Raton area is Matteo’s, coming from LI you should know that.
    By the way, I use to live in Woodmere and I and my wife are Italian.

    • jane says...

      So where else do you like to go for italian, (not a fortune) and consistently good. Very hard in Florida especially me being from NYC, very picky

      • Winnie D. says...

        jane, Jeff recently recommended Trattoria Bella Cibo in Margate. I’ve eaten there and it is terrific and it’s very reasonably priced. Try it, it is a winner.

  24. Bob E. says...

    Angel Caruso must be 90 years old. If this woman really considers Rosarios to be a top shelf restaurant she must be suffering from Alzheimers. For her to call Tramonti really good is another sign of losing one’s mind. Tramonti is an overpriced wannabe place that has poor service and a wannabe crowd. Renzo’s is good but is far from outstanding.
    Hope this lady drives better than she picks restaurants.

  25. Janet R. says...

    I have eaten several times at Rosario’s. It’s good. It’s fairly priced. Don’t know what all of the concerns are. Good, not great. I have always enjoyed my dinners.

  26. Michael S. says...

    I like Rosario’s.

  27. Mr. Woodmere says...

    I know this dump.
    At one time when it first opened as La Viola it was good. It came from the Five Towns.
    Then for some unknown reason it went downhill and now it has a new name Rosario’s.
    The food isn’t good.
    The restaurant looks like one of those assisted living places. A bunch of old folks eating there.
    they have a piano in the front and it really is depressing to go in.
    Try another one because this isn’t good.

  28. mm says...

    Great food, great service, lovely atmosphere. Its east Boca, there are older diners in every restaurant, especially in the summer months.

  29. ggold says...

    I come from LI as well, use to eat at La Viola in cedarhurst and had always enjoyed their food. My wife and I would eat there once a week and once a week at Matteos. 22 years ago I made a 25th birthday party for my wife at LaViola. 40 people $2000. and well worth it. When I went to pay my bill with my Amex, they had added on a 5% credit card fee. I disputed,they removed it, but it put a damper on a almost perfect evening. I have always paid them with my amex when I ate there weekly and never was asked to nor would I pay an additional fee. Needless to say I have never gone back and in the 16 years living in Boca have never steped into their current location!

  30. dee dee says...

    the crowd here is right out of a nursing home.

  31. Brian says...

    I enjoy the food at this restaurant. The service is actually pretty good compared to other places around town too. As for the crowd, thats what you get in the area. All those places in the Royal Palm/ Mizner area are over crowded by older diners. They have a great veal chop with marsala wine as well as tiramisu.

    • John S. says...

      You got to be something like 110 to quaify to eat in this restaurant. If you are any younger you’ll get depressed watching this crowd in action. Be smart and go right across the street and eat at MATTEO’S which has some of the best food that you ever ate and great professional service.

      • Brian says...

        You people know there are other restaurants besides Matteos right? Rosarios is a great place. I read that they will be on Food Networks The Best Thing I Ever Ate. There are plenty of other Italian joints in the Boca area and South Florida that are better then Matteos as well. Also, if you live in Boca you know that the downtown area and East Boca in general are full of grey hairs. They are all over the place in ever single restaurant no matter what type of reputation that restaurant may have. We all will get there some day.

  32. joe r. says...

    hey jeff, sorry i didnt read your review before my wife and i ate in rosarios last thursady night. the food stinks. what a waste of money.

  33. Stan says...

    We visited Rosarios on Wednesday night and it was a great experience. I dont really see the the negative reviews on here. I actually stumbled across this site when looking up Rosarios. Anyway, I enjoyed their Baked Clams and Red Snapper Livornese immensely. The chocolate mousse cake to finish off dinner was also great. Its funny you mention the garlic bread because we thought it was fantastic. I would honestly be back and recommend this place to others. To each there own I guess.

  34. friends took us there last night. looks like a nursing home. food was fair. service was ok. won’t be back as there are so many other much better italian restaurants in boca.

  35. HS says...

    Took a chance on this place last Saturday night and surprisingly it was mobbed. Usually service isnt up to par when a place is busy but it was actually pretty good. Our orders were taken promptly and the garlic bread they brought out was delicious. Some things my table ate were the baked clams, mussels, lamb chops, snapper and a veal with tomato salad dish that I had which was very good. Everyone at our table said they enjoyed what they ate. Their tiramisu is also very well prepared. There are a lot of Italian places to choose from in the area but I would add this one when you make your rounds in the Boca Italian dining scene.

    • JK says...

      I completely agree with HS, I eat at Rosarios at least once a month, it is the highlight of my trips to Florida. I highly recommend trying out the chocolate mousse cake, it is out of this world! I am only 17 years of age, however being a well traveled teenager, and having eaten at numerous nice restaurants, there is no doubt in my mind that Rosarios is up there on my favorites list!

  36. joe z says...

    this one reminds me of the dining room at my grandma’s nursing home. food ok but nothing special.

  37. IS says...

    This is for anyone who really believes that Rosarios is a top notch Italian Restaurant.

    IT ISN’T.

    The joint and crowd looks like its in a nursing home.
    The food is fair, same for the service.

  38. Mike says...

    There is a lot of unnecessary hate in this blog. I am 35 years old and my wife saw this restaurant on tv a couple weeks ago so we decided to try it last night. The place was packed and honestly to me it seemed like a mix of all ages. The food was fantastic although we did wait a bit for the main course. We even saw Chris Carter sitting at a table. Maybe on another night besides Saturday it might be different but we had a great meal and will try it again.

  39. chewy says...

    eating here is like being in a nursing home. not for me. service the two times i was there was pitiful. food isnt much better.

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