Pizza La Rosa in Scarborough, Humble Italian Eatery
Pizza La Rosa in Scarborough is a halal Italian restaurant that has been steadily building a name (and clientele) for itself. I recently owed my siblings a treat, so when I heard of Pizza La Rosa, I decided to check it out with my brother and sister. Before diving into a deeper overview, let me just state that Pizza La Rosa has made us a huge fan of their food and service and we have recommended the restaurant to everyone we know.
Let’s talk about the location: Pizza La Rosa is tucked into a plaza just south of Victoria Park and Sheppard in the same building as Hong Tai Supermarket. There’s ample free parking available.
Pizza La Rosa is primarily a takeout place. We walked into a clean restaurant with a large kitchen and food preparation area in the middle with bright, clear menus displayed on LCD screens in the front. The dining space was enough for about 20 patrons. The walls were painted a bright red and green, with three tables that seated four, and another dining space with bar stools. The floors were clean and tiled, and there was a serviette holder and condiments on each table. The big glass windows let in plenty of natural light, and despite there not being much dining space, we never felt cramped or stifled while we were there.
We went around 4 PM for a late lunch, and it was empty, so we decided to sit and eat there. We were there for around an hour, and while we were there we saw quite a few customers enter, place an order and then take it to go.
The menu had a lot of items, and for some time we were puzzled as to what to order. However, the staff (there was only one lady working there when we walked in) very helpfully walked us through the menu, taking the time to describe each option. In the end, we decided to order Lasagna ($8), Chicken Parmesan sandwich combo ($6.99), and a medium Meat Lover’s Pizza ($12.99). I had to go and order at the counter, and was told to take a seat – a server would bring out the food to our table. When asked if we wanted the sandwich with French fries or a Caesar salad, my sister was (unfortunately) outvoted by her two brothers, so we chose fries.
About fifteen minutes after our order, the owner brought out the cutlery to our table. The plates were china, the cutlery was stainless steel, and the steak knives had wooden handles. Given that it was primarily a takeout type of place, to see them serve food in proper cutlery, rather than paper plates, or plastic spoons and knives, was a pleasant surprise.
The food soon followed. Impressively, just like any good restaurant, the food was all brought to the table at once, and the presentation was quite adequate. The pizza looked fresh out of the oven; the lasagna was stacked nicely, with the tomato sauce and extra toppings leaning on one side, the cheese sprinkled neatly on top; and chicken parmesan looked scrumptious, ready to be delved into. We were all quite hungry, and my siblings allowed me just enough time to take some pictures, before we tucked into our food.
The chicken parmesan was my favourite dish of them all. It was a breaded chicken breast, topped with the house special tomato sauce, cheese and served on a Kaiser bun. The sauce was enough without being overpowering (and thus the bun did not get all watery but retained its shape). The bun also tasted quite fresh, and was slightly toasted, which gave it a great crunchy feeling. The sauce was pretty good (just the right amount of cheesy), tangy, with the proper amount of sweetness. The chicken breast piece was nice, thick, and crunchy; cooked properly thoroughly. It was seasoned well, and seemed quite juicy as I bit into it, with the sauce and cheese providing the parmesan flavour. Overall, it was cheesy, juicy, crispy, and crunchy, and that’s really all you want from your chicken parmesan. The fries were just like your regular fries, crispy and well fried, but did not have too much salt, which was a big plus.
The pizza was a delight. It wasn’t a thin slice, so two or three small slices can be enough to make one feel full. There were generous portions of grilled chicken, salami, Italian sausage, pepperoni, all sitting on a bed of delicious tomato sauce. The dough tasted fresh, and wasn’t hard at the bottom, which was a sign of it being cooked just right. The cheese acted as a glue to hold everything together, so the toppings didn’t fall off or come loose when you bit into a slice.
The Lasagna was great – basil, meat (ground beef), and parmesan cheese in the house special tomato sauce, and everything tasted fresh. You could actually distinguish each ingredient used, and the overall taste, with the sprinkling of herbs, was full of flavour. The pasta wasn’t overcooked, and again there was just the right amount of meat in the dish. Sometimes lasagna can have a lot of oil and cheese – this wasn’t the case here.
So overall, the food was so great that we had trouble picking our favourite dishes. Each of us picked a different dish, which tells you how tasty the meal was.
Now, let’s talk about the service. The server (and also cashier and the cook – same person really!) greeted us with a smile as soon as we entered the restaurant, and guided us through the menu when she realized this was our first time there. The food was presented promptly (I have to mention here that it wasn’t a particularly busy time at the establishment), and the owner (who came later) checked upon us once or twice if we needed anything. Every table had all the condiments you could need, and the kitchen/food preparation area is just across the counter if you needed to get hold of someone. A big positive for me was that there were no mistakes in the order and everything was as expected.
After we were done, I chatted with the owner for some time, and found out that he used to own a regular Italian restaurant (along with some partners) in Toronto, but decided to start his own establishment that was fully Halal and did not use wines and alcohol commonly used in other Italian establishments. Pizza La Rosa has been open for just over a year, and has already built a successful reputation as a place with good food, affordable prices, and great customer relations.
If our experience was a typical experience, it’s not hard to understand why they’re so popular. It’s a great restaurant to go with your family and friends for a Halal Italian food that won’t break the bank, and a restaurant with great staff and service as well.
Meat Source: Chicken is from Al-Zahraa which is sourced from Sargent Farms and beef is sourced from Super Bazaar and Crescent. ** NOTE: meat was checked (receipts checked and sources contacted for verification) at time of review and can change at anytime – please check meat sources before eating and let us know if there are any discrepancies **
Mezbauddin Mahtab is an IT professional, photographer, blogger, and a devoted husband and father based in Toronto, Ontario. Mezba also loves to eat and is an avid foodie. He is the author of Teaching Kids the Holy Qur’an – Chapter 18: The Cave, as well as Teaching Kids the Holy Qur’an – Chapter 71: Nuh, both of which tells stories from the Qur’an using LEGO© Bricks and toys. He maintains a personal blog on A Bengali in TO, and is currently planning his third book on Surah Qasas.
Pizza La Rosa
2555 Victoria Park Ave, Scarborough