Roma Gourmet on the hill
Has anyone been to the new Roma since they changed things? Although they've cleaning up the store and added more seating - they've drastically increased the prices of the food. Since when should a sandwich with JUST mozzarella and prosciutto be $7? Since when should an EXTREMELY skimpy "Italian" be $5.50? Before the renovation, it cost $4.25 - and it was STUFFED with fresh cold cuts. They also don't have pasta fagioli everyday anymore - and now the small soup is $1 more per pint than it previously was. Other things that pissed me off? They changed the meatball recipe. Once lovingly made by a dear old italian lady in back - they now taste like the freezer bag variety. Oh, and they have buffalo and bqq chicken pizza now. SERIOUSLY? Yeah, thats sooo Italian.
So now that my favorite Italian deli is ruined, I ask, is there anywhere else? I know of the others on the hill - but, I dislike Venda since they MICROWAVE the hot food - among other pet peeves about the place.
Is there somewhere else? I'll drive to the end of the earth for good, fresh, fast Italian food. Ideally, it has good cheese, fresh bread, fresh cold cuts, maybe some hot food and soup - and prices worth paying....
Roma has re-opened again, this time under it's original ownership, and is now called "Original Roma". I just had some chicken parm and an italian sub, and I can say that the food is back to the way it used to be, meaning it's GOOD again. The menu isn't exactly the same as it was, but most of my favorite things are back, especially the sausage and peppers, and the chicken soup. Hopefully they will have some pasta fagioli the next time I go back. I'll probably be back there tomorrow, and every day after that. You should go there too.
I don't normally write in internet forums, but I had to respond to this because I completely agree with your post and I had to vent a little. Roma was by far and away my favorite place to eat in Providence, and now it's just mediocre. As a loyal Roma customer for the past 5 years or so, I am totally devastated by all the changes. I know food is a subjective thing, and everyone has their own taste, but for me, the food at Roma used to taste "right." It was like food that my grandmother made. It was comfort food.
I would still go there if the food was the same, even with higher prices. To me, it was that good. But now, the quality of the food has dramatically declined, the sandwiches are a lot smaller, and all of the best food they had is totally different or just not there. And everything is much more expensive. They shouldn't even call the place Roma anymore because it's just not the same place.
Here is a list of specific things that bum me out about the new Roma:
-Their chicken soup used to be so good that it could cheer me up if I was feeling bad. Now it tastes like something out of a can.
-The pasta fagioli was almost as good as the chicken soup, but now it isn't there anymore.
-The chicken cacciatore used to be excellent, then the new Roma changed the recipe, then they stopped serving it.
-The sausages aren't home made anymore, and where are the tuscan sausages? They were great.
- What happened to the cannoli with the chocolate on top? Now, the whole thing is dipped in chocolate. Who needs that much chocolate on a cannoli? It's just too much.
- And their tomato sauce. What happened? It used to be a good, simple sauce. Now it's loaded with basil, garlic, oregano, and whatever else. It just tastes generic now.
I think as a whole they are either using entirely different recipes for the food, or they are using cheaper ingredients, or both. Everything at the new Roma looks a lot nicer, and I think it's clear that they are going for a different clientele. It seems like they are going for a crowd who can't tell the difference between good Italian food and the Olive Garden. If I wanted generic "italian" food served in fancy dishes on marble counter tops by guys in chef coats with Dean Martin pumping through the stereo I would go to Venda. But those things don't make the food taste any better. I miss the old Roma. I miss the food, I miss the old italian guys that would sit in there all day and argue, I miss the family photos on the wall in the back... I miss the old Roma.
Where can I go now?
Sorry if this was a long post, but this has been bumming me out for a while and I had to get it off my chest.
Wow, loved all these responses - now its time to address them...
Thank you Jenz - I will be traveling to North Attleboro very soon as you said the magic words "best eggplant rollatini"
Jane - this guy Marracco just bought it, and apparently owns/operates a bunch of other mediocre places on the hill (cough, cough Mediterraneo)
Aaahh the Italian Corner Deli. I've been. Good grinders (apparently the secret is slicing the meat very thin) and a nice pesto spread they put on the grinders as well - but no hot food - and the bread is always under baked...
WineDude, I feel your pain. Tony's is super over priced - and yeah, Venda isn't that good. If I need fresh pasta, good cheese or ready to use sauce - this place is perfect. (they also have exceptional coffee and gelato) - but the prepared food sucks. hands down.
Ricotti's is eh. The one on Mineral Spring Avenue is better...Haven't been to Cafe Dolce Vita in years, although I never had a good reason to go back.... I think the problem with La Spezia was A. it was organic and B. it was directly across the street from Venda
Oh, and lastly Sashimi - maybe you should read the post before replying .....
I'm so disappointed to hear this. It seems there's nothing authentic on Federal Hill any more. Venda is good, but not as good as it thinks it is. Tony's prices are out of control. Roma used to be OK, though I always wished it was more than it was. This seems like they've lost their way, and wrecked the only things that made it good. La Spezia was an interesting idea, with a great selection of imported foodstuffs, but it never got any traction and closed. Caserta is still good, but their prices have nearly doubled from a couple of years ago, and it's very expensive for what it is.
The only really special place left is Pastiche, but it's not Italian, of course. I've heard good things about Siena, but haven't been
I've never tried Ricotti. Is it any good? Geppetto's is lousy. I really don't get Bob and Timmy's grilled pizza. I tried the stuffed pizza place once, and thought it wasn't good either.
Caffe Dolce Vita is unappealing to me as well, so I've never tried it. Are the sandwiches or pastries any good?
It's amazing to me how quickly all of the best things on the hill have been wrecked.
too bad, it sounded promising - this was in the projo a few weeks ago: Gianfranco Marrocco has made several changes to his new business on Federal Hill. Vecchia Roma — “Old Rome” — is the new name on the store/café/bakery at 310 Atwells Ave., Providence, that was Roma Gourmet. Marrocco is the owner of several restaurants and businesses on Federal Hill, including Mediterraneo, Caffe Dolce Vita and Hotel Dolce Villa, and co-owner of Geppetto’s Pizzeria. New are 48 seats for those dining on hot food items from chef Gianfranco Campanella (from Dolce Vita) or some of the coffees and pastries. They are baking their own bread and have a pizzeria up and running in the space. Marrocco plans trattoria service and al fresco dining in the near future.
I like Constantino's in the center of North Attleboro (next to the post office and across from town hall and the old high school). They are affiliated with Luciano's and I found the food to be on parr. They are a bit expensive though.
I'm not sure if they have soups, but their sandwiches are good, their antipasto is great, and their eggplant rollatini is to die for