Food & Drink

A Dining Surprise in Rosedale

Rosario’s Italian Kitchen offers more than pasta.

From busy Pulaski Highway, Rosario’s Italian Kitchen looks like just another lackluster chain restaurant—bland building, big parking lot, and even a drive-through window. But cast your disparagement aside. This unsuspecting gem has become one of our favorite go-to places. First, it’s not a conglomerate. It’s the loving creation of George Protopapas, who named the restaurant after its neighborhood, Rosedale. Opened in 2012, it already has a stable of regular diners. We’ve yet to go there—and we go a lot—when there’s not a big table celebrating a birthday or other festive occasion.

We understand the draw. The casual dining room is a sprawling, comfortable space of tables, booths, arches, and soothing colors. And the food is equally appealing.

While we lean toward the Italian dishes, the menu also features many American and Greek dishes, like a double cheeseburger deluxe or a gyro. There’s breakfast, too, including omelets, pancakes, and chipped beef.

The staff is polite and genial. After being seated for dinner, a server quickly brings hot, buttery bread sticks with marinara dipping sauce. Do indulge, but save room for the generous portions soon coming your way.

If you’re into sharing, the antipasto platter will get you off to a good start. It’s laden with cured meats like capicola and salami, fresh mozzarella, marinated mushrooms, roasted peppers, artichokes, tomatoes, olives, and more. And the cream-of-crab soup is worthy of any Marylander’s taste buds.

After a long day, we’re often drawn to the soul-satisfying spaghetti with meatballs—three giant spheres topping strands of noodles and homemade meat sauce. Add a side salad for 99 cents. Or try the meatloaf with brown gravy.

Desserts offer a range of flavors and styles. There’s baklava, carrot cake, a cannoli, and good, old-fashioned lemon-meringue pie, among other choices.

From the first time we walked in the door to our most recent visit, we’ve been impressed with the good spirit and attention to detail at Rosario’s. Don’t just drive by. It’s worth a stop.