South End: Stella or Rocca (or Toro)?
DC & I don't get to the South End for dining too much and we want to go on a Saturday night in a couple of weeks and try someplace we've never been to. I've been wanting to try Toro but don't know if that will be too busy to get a table -- I know they don't take reservations there. I favor seafood and clean flavors -- don't like heavy butter/cream sauces. Looking for great food and atmosphere. Where should we go?
That's easy, Toro and be damn grateful for the opportunity of being allowed to wait, it beats the other two by far, in my (not so humble, today, apparently) opinion.
I'm not sure what a "clean flavor" is, but Stella will be heavier than Rocca or Toro. If Toro is packed you might consider wandering up the street (it's a short walk) to Stella for drinks and dessert.
Of those three, I like the food at Toro best but you are correct in that they don't take reservations. If it's only two of you, you can either get there early enough to not have to wait (before 7) or just have drinks and fun while you do wait, for two hopefully it won't be too long. As for Stella, it always seems to be hopping. I think the food there is OK but for me, I'm not sure how often I'd go if it wasn't right in my neighborhood. I do like their bolognese there though. Rocca has been less happening. The last time I went a few weeks ago, the bar was half empty. But that being said, there are a handful of things on their menu that I really like. They are the trofie with pesto, the senza pane and the veal stuffed zucchini. Have a fun night out!
I agree with Lissy and sailormouth, Toro is the best out of these three. Definitely lots of "seafood and clean flavors"; not a lot of heavy butter/cream influences. You will probably have to wait on a Saturday night unless you get there early ---but you can hang out at the bar and have a cocktail or two --shouldn't be that long of a wait, and it's definitely worth it. One of my favorite south end restaurants.
Toro is the most lively, Stella is the most sceney, Rocca is the most mod/hotel restaurant-like of the 3 that you mentioned.
Personally I love Stella for the bar and the modern Italian menu, that has plenty of non-meat options (oh, and the chocolate mousse...)
Toro may not have butter/cream sauces, but the flavors are very BOLD and it is dark inside, so often times tough to see what is on your fork (especially if you are attempting to dodge a pepper/onion or something similar). If you (or your DC) have any aversion to garlic beware!