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Jun 5, 2013 10:16 AM

Roia Restaurant & Cafe - New Haven, CT

I was lucky enough to have a tour of this restaurant prior to its grand opening. What a beautiful place. We met with the wife/owner whose husband/owner is the chef--you can tell how much love they have for this venture. Entirely refurbished the old Taft Hotel restaurant space using a lot of period pieces and refurbished finishings, etc. While we were there we questioned the acoustics as the venue is quite palatial and open. They do have some long curtains to help. For anyone who has dined there, I was curious what you thought of the acoustics. I am thinking of booking a 16-person dinner there up in the balcony area--their alcove private room I think is too small for my function.

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  1. Has anyone tried this place since? The reviewers are all over the place. NYT swooned, many yelpers bitched. CH is silent.

    Anyone? Anyone?

    1. My husband and I ate there in August. It was very enjoyable. It had only been open for a few weeks and we had an early dinner. The place was almost empty when we arrived, and it had a long way to go to fill up by the time we left. The place is not noisy under these circumstances - obviously. I can't say what it would be like if the joint were full, but I'd bet it would be quieter than Barcelona or Ibiza - and certainly quieter than the famously noisy Tre Scalini.

      They obviously put a lot of money and care into renovating the old space - plush banquettes, pricey lighting fixtures, removal of the big staircase that took up too much space in the dining room.

      For food, it's definitely on the high end of Italian/Spanish in New Haven. The portions are smallish. Everything was cooked perfectly.

      I had the beet salad with marcona almonds and the arctic char. Both dishes balanced flavors very well between richness, acidity, salt, crunch, softness - something for every sensation of flavor and texture. My husband had a liver pate appetizer and the linguine with clams. The liver had a bit of a metallic flavor that you either love or don't (he does). The linguine with clams was the best version of this dish he says he'd ever had - bright and light and fresh. He just wished there were a bit more of it.

      The service was very quiet and attentive. There seemed to be a lot of service people milling around - as I mentioned, only a few tables were occupied.

      We haven't been back because we eat Italian mostly at home. We've been eager to try a fall menu the next time we have a big night out on the town.

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      1. re: shoes

        I've read several reviews of this restaurant, so was really looking forward to going this past Sat. night. I called and left a vm for a reservation for Sat. night at 8 p.m. I got a call back a few hours later saying that she had me all set for Sun. night. I corrected her and she seemed a little bit confused, but I felt we got that cleared up. we arrived and our table was ready and we had one of the very quaint semi-circle booths. It's quite comfortable for 2, possibly 3, but no more. Our waitress came over, didn't tell us her name, offered the 3 types of water they have and walked away. She came back, I asked her name (Kathleen) and she gave us water & walked away. On the 3rd visit she asked if we wanted to order a drink (I did!!). We ordered our apps - I got the beets w/ I thought pine nuts, but I see above someone said they were marcona almonds. It was delicious. My husband had the meatball app & he said it was good. For entree I had the Fish of the Day which was a fish I had never heard of (and can't remember now) but it was a white fish with seasonal vegetables. it was tasty. I had no leftovers. My husband had the steak frites with tarragon butter & watercress salad. He really enjoyed the steak, but wasn't thrilled with the salad. It looked like a tangle of greens, which hadn't been cut at all, so it was not easy to eat. He didn't. We didn't have dessert. NOthing on the menu was knocking our socks off, so we decided to pass. We did not see our waitress from the time we placed our entree order, but other wait staff were taking care of us. Then she showed up again with the bill & didn't even ask if we enjoyed our meals. In fact, no one asked us that. So all in all, I wasn't wowed by this place. The dining room was full (except for one 4 top), but the acoustics were pretty good. We checked out the bar before leaving, it's OK, as well. It's not too big, probably 8 seats at it & a couple of tall tables with stools in front of it.