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Rosalina's Kitchen
83 Hamilton Street
Worcester, MA
(508) 926-8887

Rosalina's Kitchen

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Many chefs are known to have a split personality.  In the kitchen, they're tough; out of the kitchen, they're tender.  And at Rosalina's Kitchen in Worcester, Chef-Owner Rose-Ellen Padavano shows both sides of her personality every evening.  In the dining room, she's Rose-Ellen, the gracious and welcoming host.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "Rose-Ellen is a little bit more relaxed."


But back in the kitchen, her alter-ego Rosalina comes out.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "Rosalina is crazy.  The kitchen is a demanding place.  So when I'm Rosalina, she's high strung…  It gets crazy, it gets hectic, it gets hot, it gets busy and dramatic, and the bell's ringing and people are order in and order out, let's go, pick up your food, do this, do that, and it's wild."


Fortunately most of the craziness at Rosalina's is kept in the kitchen.  So the customers in the BYOB dining room can just sit back, relax, and feast on big plates of Italian American eats.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "It's a very homey atmosphere, it's sort of like walking into your nonna's house for Sunday dinner."


And Rose-Ellen cooks just like grandma would.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "We roll out our own pasta, we hand fill our raviolis, we make our gravy from scratch every single day.  They always say 'your gravy is better than my nonna's gravy' or 'it's the best gravy I've ever had.'  People really love the gravy."


And that gravy is showcased on lots of dishes coming out of the kitchen, like the simply sensational Macaroni & Meatballs.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "The meatballs here are huge.  They're a huge four ounce ball.  You get two of them to an order, they're nice and soft.  It's like the go to meal, I mean who doesn't love macaroni and meatballs?”


Another simple dish that will have you singing is the hand-filled jumbo ravioli, bursting with smooth, fluffy, creamy cheese.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "They're huge pillows of love.  We make the dough by scratch, and we hand fill them, and serve five huge raviolis on a plate.  And when you cut into that ravioli, it just oozes with whatever is filled inside, and it's amazing to see."


There are plenty eye-popping appetizers too, like an enormous Antipasto, hand cut Calamari, and golden fried Mozzarella in a pool of marinara.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "It's actually a fresh mozzarella patty that we hand coat, bread, and fry.  And when you take a bite of it, it just goes like this, and it's all cheese."


Rosalina's Kitchen excels at the classics.  But the extensive menu is also filled with plenty of inventive options.  Like this dish known as Ricotta Puffs, a recipe that actually came to Rose-Ellen in a dream.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "I don't know why I was thinking about it when I was sleeping, but I did, and I woke right up and wrote it down and created it the next day.  They are nice big balls of ricotta cheese and pepperoncinis, and then we roll them into the egg mix and the panko and we fry them.  And then we serve them on a nice big golden piece of eggplant.  Everybody says the first bite is like heaven.  So you bite into it and it's soft and the texture is so creamy.  A little salty, then you get a little kick from the pepperoncini, and it's fantastic."


Another creation you'll only find at Rosalina's is the mountainous Four Parm Avalanche.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "If you can't decide on what kind of Parm you want when you come to an Italian restaurant, we have it covered.  So we offer a Four Parm Avalanche.  It's chicken, eggplant, meatball, and sausage, smothered with gravy, mozzarella cheese, and topped with bacon.  When it comes to the table, it looks like an avalanche, that's why we decided to call it an avalanche.  And people, they're not even sure how to attack it.  It's fantastic."


Enjoying a meal at Rosalina's Kitchen feels a lot like you're just sitting down with family.  And Rose-Ellen has actually named many of the dishes on the menu after her own family.


There's fried chicken cutlets and crispy bacon smothered in a maple cream sauce named after her son Sebastien, a massive bowl of Sicilian seafood stew named after her brother-in-law Bill, and a nutty, earthy, garlicky concoction known as Angela’s Sauté.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "So Angela is my business partner who is also owner here at Rosalina's Kitchen, and she loves toasted pine nut, she loves chicken, she loves spinach.  So I said let me whip something up, see if you like it, and it's been her go to meal ever since.  So I said we're gonna name this Angela's Sauté."


In fact, you don't have to be family to have the kitchen cook your favorite recipe here, because every Wednesday night, Rosalina's offers a 'Design-A-Dish' menu that allows the customers to get creative.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "The customer picks one or two proteins, four or five different vegetables, they pick their pasta, they pick their sauce, they pick whether they want it mild, medium, or extra spicy, and they design these dishes that are just outrageous.  But oftentimes they love it.  I think they'd be embarrassed to say they didn't like it, because they picked it."


The truth is, everybody who eats at Rosalina's Kitchen leaves happy, but just finding the place can be a challenge.  It's tucked away among the triple deckers on Grafton Hill, and the locals want it to remain Worcester's little secret.


Rose-Ellen Padavano - Chef/Owner, Rosalina's Kitchen: "A lot of people often say to us, 'you know what, I found this little gem, and I don't want to tell anybody, because I want to be able to get in.  And I want to be able to eat here when I want to eat here, so I don't want to tell my friends.'"

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