Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >
Mar 20, 2007 06:15 PM

Review - Colosseum (Salem, NH)

The Colosseum is on regular restaurant rotation for the Rabbitz. Tonight, we sat at the bar, as per usual, and Mr.Rabbit started with a Manhattan while I drank Chainti (both good). Service was a sometimes-problem tonight, with staff not being quite as attentive as we always needed (drink, please!), but when present, our bartender/server was absolutely charming and personable.

On to the food... no starters tonight, save the bread basket (soft, squishy warm white with some packaged Italian breadsticks... actually totally satisfying). For mains, I had the salmon special, perfectly prepared to my very nitpicky standards (I like a very dry and healthy grill, although I will negate this with a pasta side and dessert). Aforementioned pasta side was homemade papardelle with marinara and also satisfying. Mr. Rabbit had the same papardelle, but with a seafood marinara - plenty of clams, and lobster!, with other seafoody-stuff. He finished his plate and was very happy.

The real highlight tonight was the cannoli - neither Mr.Rabbit nor myself can recall it getting much better than this.

The Colosseum is not chi-chi Boston Ital, but the food is very authentic, hearty and pretty great. We'll be back (again and again)...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I appreciate this review, Rabbit, because though long a fan of the Colosseum, I've had neither salmon nor dessert (never have enough room; I should try skipping app's and eat the olives and bread only) there. Thanks for posting.

    1. Need to get here, thanks. I've read many people like it. Is it a nice mix of northern italian and southern italian dishes. Hubby likes the red sauces, I'm more the white or oil/butter sauces.

      5 Replies
      1. re: lexpatti

        thegolferbitch - Oooh, do hold out for dessert... they roll out an old-school dessert cart which is total fun. Note that the cannoli were not on the cart last night, which is why I think we've overlooked them before. We already knew the rum cake to be great, but the cannoli were a revelation...

        And, lexpatti - you can get all of the aforementioned sauce variations- plus they're pretty flexible about mixing and matching, so I doubt they'd have much trouble with you adjusting menu offerings so that you get what you really want (Mr. Rabbit switched the "on the menu" pasta offering regularly served with his seafood pasta so that he could try a homemade pasta instead and it was no trouble at all).

        1. re: Rabbit

          That visual effect on the dessert gets us every time. I'm ok if I don't have to see it and just read it but as soon as I see it I can't resist.

        2. re: lexpatti

          When they roll out the dessert wagon, if you see something that looks like a green flying saucer, order it immediately. That is the Italian Rum Cake with the Green Marzipan Frosting. It will change your life.

          1. re: Mr Rabbit

            Do you think they have that all the time or maybe just for St. Pats?

            1. re: thegolferbitch

              I think it's all the time, but I'll have to go back and make sure.

        3. Sorry, but I have found the food here to be usually overcooked, oversauced, and rather boring. It is also not cheap.

          1 Reply
          1. re: aadesmd

            I'm sorry you've had such bad experiences there. Is there anything more disappointing than wanting great Italian food and not getting it? Not when you're wanting great Italian.

            I've found them to be moderately priced, a good value for what you get (and cheaper than the North End by far). But a good way to save money if you're inclined to go back is to try them for lunch if possible, or to order a couple of appetizers for dinner. I've done that a number of times, or in the winter have done soup and then a hot appetizer. The waitstaff are really good about taking directions. There's a steak Annibale that I like that comes with broccoli rabe, and I like my rabe almost raw, not wilted. That's how I ask for it and that's how it arrives. My H is the opposite of your taste; he likes enough sauce to float the Titanic. He orderd a seafood arrabiata there last time we were in and they brought him a small side bowl of sauce for dipping bread in. Anyway....that's a long way of saying that if you are inclined to try them again, ask for what you want, and they'll generally comply.

          2. Finally made it to the Colosseum last night after all the reviews. Loved the table side ceasar salad, absolutely worth it. I had a special as did hubby. Haddock Savannah (stuffing on the top with shrimp, lobster, crab, peas,). With a side of wide noodles in a nice olive oil & herbed lite sauce. Very good. Hubbies was a chicken stuffed with a seafood mixture. His daughter got the Speg. Carbanaro (sp?) which she loved. Service was excellent, they even did a smaller version of speg & meatballs for our grandaughter. All in all, very good to great but to be honest I was a bit dissappointed in the price compared to quality. I think we paid a little less at Ricardo's Trattoria in Lowell if not the same but get far better quality Italian dishes. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind paying this kind of price but it needs to be backed up. I didn't feel it here. I'm anxious to try the other Italian place in Salem that others talk about but for now, my Italian tops is Ricardo's in Lowell.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lexpatti

              Finally made it to the Colosseum last weekend. There were only three or four couples in the place Sunday evening. It was quite deserted which worried me some. I've heard excellent things about this place, but was disappointed. I ordered a veal dish, hubby had pasta and both were just ok. Service was spotty but ok. The one thing that I disliked the most...the restaurant was full of smoke overflowing from the bar. Cannot wait until the 90 days is up and smoking is banned in NH! Overall, I don't think I would return with so many other favorite italian restaurants in NH. Our new favorite in Giorgio's in Milford.

            2. We were back at the Colosseum last week, and I have to agree with the two most recent posters... I felt a little underwhelmed by the experience.

              I was eating light, so I just had a shrimp cocktail and some minestrone. Both were fine, but nothing remarkable. Wine selection by the glass truly, truly sucks. They need to work on this. And I am sympathetic to the problem with too much smoke at the bar.

              Food and atmosphere, something just felt off to me?? I wasn't even tempted to stick around for dessert.