Sala Rosa: A Review

February 25, 2008 at 9:57 am (Restaurant review)

The Spanish restaurant Sala Rosa has been recommended on the Chowhound Montreal website, for its extensive choice of vegetarian tapas. I finally got a chance to try it last week, and indeed the menu has an unusually large number of vegetarian options for a Spanish restaurant. I went for Sunday dinner with 2 friends and we ordered 4 dishes: the goat cheese with honey and carmelized onions, the fried potatoes with rosemary, the rapini with garlic, and the asparagus tortilla. I was also interested in the carrot salad and the spinach croquettes, but we didn’t want to end up with too much food. The four dishes we did order ended up being just the right amount of food for four people. We probably could have gotten away with just three if we were going to have dessert.

Overall, although the atmosphere was pleasant enough the service was extremely slow (albeit friendly), and none of the food excited me. The goat cheese was quite a large portion, and tasted fine, but I was disappointed in the bread.  The honey was standard and I felt like the ratio of cheese to honey was off–it certainly wasn’t as good as the toast and goat cheese and honey appetizers I’ve had in Paris. My friends, however, seemed to really like it, enthusing about the smoothness of the cheese.

The rapini was not bitter at all, but neither was it garlicky enough, and it was a bit under-salted, and rather small for the price (each dish was $8-$10). The potatoes were tasty when slathered with enough mayonnaise and rosemary, but I thought they were way too dry and fluffy–they tasted like the home fries I used to get at the school cafeteria as a kid.

I’ve never had a spanish tortilla before, and so wasn’t sure what to expect. When the tortilla finally came, I thought it looked quite beautiful. The shape was sort of like a sunken cake, and the surface was uniformly browned. Unfortunately, however, given its good looks, it tasted quite bland. It came with some diced tomatoes that didn’t seem to help. Now, perhaps all spanish tortillas are bland, but it still seemed strange that we couldn’t taste any asparagus (although we could see bits of asparagus).

Overall it was a pleasant evening, but I wouldn’t recommend any of the dishes or order them again, although with the help of mayonnaise everything was tasty enough that it got eaten (except the remnants of the tortilla).

I might come back on Flamenco night, but I wouldn’t recommend the place for its food (a least for vegetarians that don’t eat fish). Instead, other nearby options include a Greek Restaurant I’ve heard good things about on Parc, and Aux Vivres, a vegetarian restaurant just down the street that I haven’t had a chance to try yet. Also, Sala Rosa is just a few blocks away from Fairmount Bagels, my favorite Montreal bagel place.  Finally, don’t confuse Sala Rosa with Lola Rosa, which is a vegetarian restaurant in the McGill Ghetto.

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