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La Rocca's Pizzeria

Update 11/16/11: La Rocca's is moving south to Oregon, WI.

In a word: Though the shadow of Roman Candle weighs heavily, this pizza's good too.

La Rocca's PizzeriaThe specs: #0319
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Madison Restaurant Reviews on Ning, Yelp, Fearful Symmetries, QSC; Table Talk with the owners; official web site; La Rocca's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Latest La Rocca's Pizzeria news and reviews

JM and Nichole ate a thin crust pizza with mushrooms and bresaola. Nichole also had a cannoli and JM had a lemonade.
Kristian ate the meat lasagna with a Capital Amber and a cannoli and shared his aroncino.
Kyle ate the cheese tortelloni with a Hopalicious and a piece of panna cotta.
The bill was about $50, or $12.50/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave La Rocca's Pizzeria an A-; Kristian gave La Rocca's Pizzeria an AB; Kyle gave La Rocca's Pizzeria an A- if you have company, a B+ if you're alone or ordering out (see our grading rubric).

The atmosphere at La Rocca's pizzeria is nice and homey. So homey that when we walked in, we think the family/staff was enjoying a pre-dinner rush repast, but warmly waved us in. (The music was kind of cheesy lite jazz piped in from the telly, unfortunately.) For most of our meal, the place was empty. We were worried for them about the lack of business, but before the night was out we saw them pack up a 10+ pie delivery order.

La Rocca's has a nice beer selection, including some Ale Asylum choices. On the downside, they offer no hot beverages like tea, coffee or espresso which would have been very welcome on this cold night.

ArancinoWe started with an arancino, a deep-fried, stuffed ball of rice, peas and other vegetables that Kristian was tempted to call a Sicilian samosa. We agreed it was tasty and well-packed, if rich and dense.

Cheese tortelloniKyle opted for the cheese tortelloni in alfredo sauce . This sauce was smoother and lighter than usual (if you can ever call alfredo light). It was also a richer tan color that made Kyle wonder if they had cooked the mushrooms in the sauce rather than adding them ex post facto. The portion was ample and not too expensive; overall the dish was somewhat bland, but it had a good, comforting mouthfeel.

LasagnaKristian's meat lasagna had a sweet, smooth red sauce. The proportion of pasta to fillings was good. The fillings were dominated by hamburger and peas. Lots of peas, actually, considering there were also peas in the arancino. But Kristian figured that was OK. It, too, was a large portion (Nichole accidentally called it a meatloaf) at an appropriate price. Kristian figured it tasted better than most other down-home lasagnas and was much less greasy.

PizzaNichole and JM split a thin-crust pizza with bresaola, a type of cured beef that had a good woody, smoky flavor. The fresh mushrooms complemented it well, meaning that Nichole and JM somehow managed to correctly coordinate pizza toppings they hadn't ever tried. The crust was good: thin and rolled over on the edge. The "traditional" sauce was packed with herbs and spices, and came recommended by our server over the "classic" sauce, which she said was more tame. In true Wisconsin fashion, the pie had plenty of good cheese.

We couldn't pass up homemade Italian desserts. Kristian and Nichole opted for the cannoli, which were delicate-looking, but hoo mama, were they filling. The cool, sweet, creamy filling, studded with dark chocolate mini chips, melted in our mouths. Likewise the panna cotta Kyle sampled was GREAT (emphasis his). It came in a raspberry sauce that just had to have been homemade.

Kristian summarized La Rocca's well when he called it very good homestyle comfort Italian.

Comments

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We've ordered pizza from here a few times. The crust is very good. The cheese and toppings are pretty standard, but good. The problem we've experienced every time we've ordered is that the sauce is TOO salty! It's kept us from ordering from here recently. Really, its an astonishing amount of salt, to the point where just a little bit of sauce overwhelms all the other flavors of the pizza. Someone should really let them know to cool it with that stuff, and they'd be surprised how many return customers they have. I've never quite experienced a problem like this with cuisine before.

This places sounds wonderful!! I can hardly wait to try it, but I must admit Roman Candle is still my favorite pizza in town.

Thanks

Did the people that opened Roman Candle start at Pizza Pit? It's the exact same crust, same sparse covering of cheese; if it weren't for the more upscale toppings at RC I'm convinced I couldn't tell the difference between the two in a blind taste test.

Not dogging your taste Tac, I actually like Pizza Pit and Roman Candle. But it's just uncanny how similar they are to eachother, down to the screen marks on the crust. It seems like somebody must have carried the technique from PP to RC.

As usual, it was fun! Next time I'm there, I will definitely be getting the beef bruciole, which was out when we visited. It looked way too tasty on the menu.

(In my opinion) their veggie pizza is delightful with good use of garlic.

LaRocca's veggie pizza is pure comfort food. Also, the red sauce they serve with the calzone (for dipping) tastes like the sauce my grandma used to make. Delicious.

When I lived in Rome, every pizza place sold arancino - balls of fried rice - and I think Kristiain pretty much hit the jackpot calling it 'an italian samosa,' because that's what they are. There was this pizza place across the street from the University that we'd go to whenever we were hungover (pretty often on the delicious, and cheap, wine and Peroni). We'd always get 'Pizza al fungi porcini' (slice of pizza with olive oil, porcini mushrooms and buffalo mozzerela' with aranico and fried olives. They're called 'arancine' because they look orange when fried (the word 'aranci' or something means orange). Have never found them madison before - but will check these out!!

Hey, so it took me over a year to get back to a place that's a block away. Such is my life in food. Anyway, I did get the beef bruciole, and aside from an unpleasantly whole and tough piece of hard-boiled egg white, it was delicious and hearty.

Once again, though, La Rocca's was empty. I feel like it can't be long for the world, which would be a shame. It's quite good.

Had dinner there again last night. Pasta primavera coveted by teenage son, lasagna delicous, and cheese tortelloni still at the top of my list. Ordered a small pizza to take home for breakfast. Yeah, it's that good and deserves more traffic.

I first went into La Rocca's not knowing what to order. I'm not a big sea food fan, so anytime someone can make me enjoy the stuff, they win me over (I still lament the demise of Pasta per Tutti, as that's the first place I had mussels with squid ink pasta - YUM!).

I ordered the Fettuccine ala Vito, and I was astounded. I literally wolfed it down. My girlfriend and I ate there together after that, and we ordered the pizza Aglio Olio e Peperoncino, La Rocca Style. OMG! Garlic oil with NO marinara sauce? YES! The crust was light but firm, the four cheese topping was generous, and the garlic oil was superb.

Vito and Cathy (his wife) are two of the nicest people you'll ever meet. If you don't feel like family after your first visit, it's because you'd be the type of person that no one could get along with.

I highly recommend La Rocca's. Tell them Mike sent you.

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