This past weekend we headed out with the family and some friends to check out the new restaurant in downtown Santa Rosa. Ever since the Cantina closed, we’ve been looking forward to checking out its replacement. The restaurant is set right on 4th Street, which is a great location at the heart of the city. There is street parking and several public parking lots nearby. The large outdoor patio area is still there, complete with renovated heaters for those cool wine country nights. You enter the restaurant through oversized doors, past a large fountain. (A holdover from the previous restaurant). Inside, a brick wall decorated with crosses forms the backdrop for a pleasantly trickling fountain.
We didn’t make reservations, but at 6pm on a Saturday night, we had no wait to be shown to our table for 4 adults and one child. The restaurant provided a high chair for our toddler, and a kids’ menu with crayons for her to color. Our booth was plush and comfortable, but the restaurant was so loud that it was difficult to hold a conversation. On the plus side, loud restaurants mean fewer worries if you travel with baby!
Our waitress was friendly and helpful, and cheerfully went off to check when we requested a meal be made differently than on the menu. She returned saying it was no problem – they’d simply make the child’s burrito in an adult size. With that meal and 3 others ordered, we began our
evening with an appetizer of vegetarian nachos. The small portion arrived smothered with cheese and on the soggy side but tasty non-the-less.
It was when our main meals arrived that our experience at La Rosa began to go downhill. First off, our friend noticed that her burrito was missing all the promised fillings. Then, Wendy noticed that her chile relleno didn’t bear much resemblance to the restaurant menu’s description, either. A quick check revealed that it was nothing like what had been described – no Jack cheese, no breading, no ranchero sauce and no beans or rice. Instead, the chiles were plain, stuffed with what was apparently goat cheese and roasted red peppers, and served with a small side of salad.
Thankfully, the other two meals were what was ordered, and Ian’s steak and chicken fajitas were good and our other friend enjoyed his meal, too. Still, we were hoping for better than two out of four meals correct! We told our server about the issues with our food. In fact, our friend called her over right away to point out that there was next to nothing in her burrito and it was definitely the kid one. The waitress offered to have another one made, but since we were all already eating, our friend chose to just go ahead and make the best of it.
The waitress also solved the mystery behind Wendy’s meal – they serve a chile relleno appetizer at the restaurant, and that’s what had been made. She apologized for the mistakes and explained that the restaurant is still new – having only been open for six weeks. She also told us that the kitchen staff were overly busy and that they sometimes just “get in the zone” and don’t really pay attention to what’s ordered. We were never offered dessert, coffee or anything else complementary to compensate us for the two wrong meals, although at least the prices on the bill reflected the meals we were actually brought rather than what we had ordered.
We left feeling very unsatisfied with the experience – little did we know it wasn’t over! That night, our toddler wound up throwing up in the middle of the night. We definitely cannot recommend eating there!
So, if you’re in Wine Country and looking for somewhere to eat, we’d suggest heading for Ca’Bianca –a great Italian restaurant that will charm you with their wonderful service, lovely setting and delicious food!