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La Casa Rosa

  • “I had the Old California Casserole and my boyfriend had the Seafood Souffle.” in 9 reviews

  • “The rolls are from a bakery in Hollister, and a wide assortment of homemade jams, marmalades, and chutneys are spread across the piano for your tasting pleasure.” in 6 reviews

  • Charlie is an institution in himself and can answer any question you might have on San Juan Bautista's very long and interesting history.” in 14 reviews

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Recommended Reviews for La Casa Rosa

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  • 5.0 star rating
    9/28/2014

    To start off: this is NOT a Mexican restaurant. Just because the name is Spanish, does not a Mexican restaurant make (go next door to the average Jardin if you need Mexican food).

    The menu is simple: four options- casseroles and souffles- each served with hot, freshly baked rolls and a green salad with a light vinaigrette. A jam bar provides toppings, such as jalapeño jelly, raspberry preserves, apple chutney, and whatnot, for the rolls. As other reviews have stated, a carafe of Ash blonde aperitif is a light, refreshing drink to add to the meal.

    My parents eat here every time they visit San Juan Bautista,  but this was my first time. We all opted for the seafood casserole and it was delicious! Full of shrimp, crab, and scallops.

    The place has been run by the same couple for the last 40 years and they are very welcoming.

  • 4.0 star rating
    10/4/2017

    A somewhat peculiar place, owned and run by Charlie.  He'd be running it for decades- offering meat pies, and interesting jams and chutney.  It was quiet the day we went, and we had a chance to chat with him; and we would recommend it for something unusual.

    Alas, Charlie explained the 2008 financial meltdown forced him to quit his business.  And that, to me, is the real story here.  Not a single bankster got so much as a wrist slap, and businessmen and entrepreneurs like Charlie who create places like this and truly the fabric of a community get shafted. (Edits: typos)

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/28/2016
    • 1 check-in

    If you're the adventurous eater looking for a different kind of experience, I encourage you to try La Casa Rosa.  It's a time warp experience inside an old Victorian, adorned with similar period-style antiques and motifs.  You'll get the warmth of being served homemade food by your grandparents here.

    With that said, the menu is limited to your choice of chicken or beef casserole or the seafood souffle.  This is served as a full course meal with homemade biscuits and fresh butter lettuce salad.  I encourage trying the apertif wine.  It's a unique blend of Italian white wine and two parts dry French.  It's got a subtle taste of sweet in it- perfect to get the appetite going.  Dessert is a refreshing light sorbet.

    The homemade biscuits arrived warm.  They have the best selection of homemade jams I've ever seen sitting on the piano right side of the dining room.   I tried every single one of them.  The raspberry was 2nd best to the jalapeno jam which had a hint of spicy in it.  The fresh butter lettuce salad had a light herb dressing on it.  It's a secret combination of herbs by the owner's mother from her garden.  This really makes it special.  My New California casserole was perfect portion size- not too large to weigh me down, but clearly made with some passion.  I haven't had many casseroles, but this is one I enjoyed and would return to try another.  Monterey jack cheese, beef sauce, corn based...  It was a simple, hearty meal.  If we hadn't heard the ladies at the adjacent table talking about purchasing jam or dressing, we wouldn't have known.    

    We purchased a jar of the homemade herb dressing and jalapeno jam.  Both of those are going quickly!  I would definitely return to repeat this experience and return home with more of these detectable condiments!

  • 4.0 star rating
    1/5/2016

    Wine,chutney, light breads.I would try the chicken dish I only visualized if I returned. Went here after analyzing a 10 mile road race coming up and was surprised at the light snack ,( non Mexican), and superb service mixed with elegance and ambiance this place offers in a historical California town.

  • 5.0 star rating
    2/1/2015

    A great find in San Juan.  The aperitif is light tasteful blend of wines.  The casseroles were an amazing confront food appeal . The flavors all come together so nicely.   The jams jellies and chutneys are really amazing.  Old recipes done with care and it shows in the subtle sweet flavors.  
    The place is a wonderful stop for lunch,  the menu is not extensive   But do not let that stop you from trying the casseroles and tasting some wonderful food

  • 5.0 star rating
    3/28/2015

    Casa Rosa is a very charming restaurant.  The food is good and the  service is excellent. A must for lunch if you're in the area.

  • 5.0 star rating
    2/15/2016
    • 1 check-in

    You start out with local lettuce and herb salad. Fresh baked roll. My friends started with the wine aperitif. Not too sweet and just a bit tart.  Not a Mexican restaurant, old Americana food. It's as if we're eating in a museum or a diorama. Lovely, friendly, inviting.  This should be a destination. Right near the Mission San Juan Bautista.

  • 5.0 star rating
    11/21/2014
    • 1 check-in

    Excellent food and ambiance!  The most friendly couple you will ever meet!  And the food is made from scratch!  Awesome!!

  • 5.0 star rating
    7/8/2016

    Thank you Charlie, for the many years of excellent food, service & conversation. San Juan Bautista will not be the same without La Casa Rosa.

  • 3.0 star rating
    4/19/2012
    • 1 check-in

    3.5 stars

    My girlfriend and I came here with a Living Social deal to spend $35 in the small town of San Juan Bautista. We went on a Sunday afternoon while the city was having a festival. This was great because the restaurant had only two tables occupied when we entered. The building has a history to it that you can read about on the menu.

    For $14.95 you get a simple salad with a delicious vinaigrette dressing, warm rolls, your choice of 1 of 4 entrée options and a refreshing raspberry sorbet for dessert.  I ordered the Seafood Souffle which consists of shrimp, crab and scallops in a mushroom cream sauce with a fair amount of garlic. The Soufflé was good. I can say it was the best soufflé I have ever had since it was my first one ever! At the end we sampled their jellies, jams, and chutney that were spread out across an antique piano. My favorites were the spiced apple and 4 berry. The chutney with curry was interesting but not my cup of tea.  

    Final Thoughts: Great for a different casual dining experience. I like the atmosphere of this restaurant; it really fits well with what they do here. They also brew an awesome glass of iced tea!!

  • 3.0 star rating
    1/15/2012

    What a strange restaurant.  Apparently only open for lunch, it offers only two items: a chicken "souffle" (actually a casserole) and the "California casserole," which is basically a tamale pie.  You can have the latter in the "new" recipe, with mild green chiles, or the "old" recipe, without, and a choice of cheddar or jack cheese on top.  And that's it.

    The "California casserole" was fairly tasty and well made, but unexciting, and at $15 a little overpriced.  On the other hand, the service from the elderly couple who run the place was extremely friendly and attentive without becoming irritating, and the fresh-baked rolls that come with the meal are just fantastically good.

  • 5.0 star rating
    11/20/2013
    • 2 check-ins

    SO CUTE! This is definitely a place to go with the ladies of the family (not that the men can't come too and enjoy) but It was so fun going with mom (who used to go with her mom), having tea, tasting the jams, and enjoying the scenery (a beautiful rooster who posed for all my pictues...I have included those pictures for you). This place has a small fixed menu of souffles. I had the chicken soufflee which is so beautiful and fluffy looking! They then scoop it out and plop it onto your plate (it loses its pretty-ness) but the flavor is all there! YUM! The soft warm buscuits they provide are also good with the jams they have out! You definitely can feel the love the owners put into this small family business and thats why this place is such a wonderful hidden gem! I Definitely recommend! Especially on a cold rainy day. :)

  • 4.0 star rating
    5/24/2015

    Very good service.  Jellies were good. I had the chicken  soufflé.  It was delicious, perfectly seasoned and all chicken with no fillers. Chicken was tender. A bit pricey but if you want freshly cooked?  That is your spot.

  • 5.0 star rating
    3/22/2013

    A real gem.
    Menu limited to a chicken or seafood souffle or two types of casseroles with different cheeses for an entree.  The menu is fixed with fresh baked bread and a delightful assortment of home made jams to start  This is followed by a delightful salad.  The meal is capped off with a dish of sorbet.
    There are several beverages we choose wine which is nothing like I have ever tasted before.
    The restaurant it self is quaint sort of like a 19th century living room.  There are a number of antiques and items to peak your interest.
    The hosts are very friendly and if time allows will entertain with a number of stories.
    Off to the side is a little store selling jams.
    This is a real treat, very unique, not expensive not a place to miss

  • 5.0 star rating
    12/7/2012

    Always consistent, food is hot, ambiance is wonderful, and the older guy that runs the place (and serves the food) has personality.

    If you like soufflés, definitely a solid win. I prefer my old-california casserole personally, but my wife likes the soufflés. I like the chicken soufflé better than the seafood soufflé, but that's because I don't like scallops, it's dang good for soufflé though, my wife raves about the seafood soufflé so it must be good if you like seafood.

    Love the butter-leaf salad and the apricot almond chutney jam (who knew they went together so well? They have other jams too but it's my fav) as well as the fresh rolls you get to put their homemade jam on. Brut was very smooth, even the wife gave thumbs up and liked my brut better than the wine she ordered and practically drank my whole glass (I stole as many sips as I could!)

    Great deal if you have a Groupon or Living Social.

    Joints like these are memorable and keep you coming back for both the food and whole experience of getting away from city life and entering a different world.

    Limited menu though, casseroles or soufflés for main course, that's it. Then again what little they do, they do right. Let's face it, we go to falafel drive in to get a falafel, we go to St Johns for their Philly cheesesteak, we go here to get away and have an enjoyable romantic getaway lunch and order their soufflé and casserole and walk out happy.

    Sorbet is a nice treat at the end, I actually like their sorbet, that speaks volumes as I hate sorbet. Tastes fresh and refreshing (as it should).

  • 5.0 star rating
    12/7/2012

    Amazing little hidden jewel. I have been to San Juan many times & honestly never knew this place existed. Best idea to try a different place for our anniversary; the place was indeed unique, food was delicious & one of a kind. The home made jams where all so delicious, the house wine (wow:-) never had anything quite like it super yummy. Our main dish was the seafood soufflé - you have to try it for yourself it is filling, rich tasting... Perfect!

    We will be back! Very happy customers.

  • 5.0 star rating
    7/23/2011
    • 1 check-in

    Most of the comments already give the kind of description that I would have written, had I been first to review. With that said, I don't give five stars very easily.  I give five stars to my dining experience because this is a treasure of a restaurant, in a historic town that is slowly dying on the vine.  In speaking with our server, she said that so many businesses are closing due to lack of business. I hate to see this restaurant close. I live only 30 minutes from SJB, and I should come here more often. Why I've never eaten here before is beyond me, but I'm glad that we did.  I give five stars to our service. The young lady was charming and very attentive.  We decided to try the house Ash Wine, which was said to have a blend of French and Italian vermouth.  She said if we didn't like it, that it would be on the house.  How sweet of her!  I'm not a fan of vermouth, but for $6.75, we thought we'd give it a go.  The flavor reminded me, a bit, of Dry Sack Sherry. It was good, but next time I'll order wine.
    We loved the warm rolls-- soft and billowy, and the choice of condiments.

    I ordered the seafood souffle' (crab, shrimp and scallops).  It was creamy and flavorful, though I requested some lemon wedges. The lemon juice was perfect!  The souffle was light and airy.

    SIL ordered the chicken souffle.  It was also creamy, the chicken wasn't dry and she loved it.  Hubs ordered the New California Casserole. It reminded me of a tamale pie, without the corn.  He loved it, and I took a taste. Very good.

    The salad was fresh and the vinaigrette was perfect.

    We were offered a 50/50 orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream or mocha fudge ice cream-- which surprised us.  We were very full.

    Total tab $51.00 for three of us. What a deal!
    We met Charlie, who is a delightful man-- very friendly.  We felt as though we were guests in his home.  Forget going to Jardine's or Dona Esther-- it's average Mexican food, anyway.  Try this place. Though they only serve FOUR menu items, they do it well.  Five stars to supporting a small restaurant with a heart.  If you still want Margaritas, then go to Jardine's and sit in their courtyard for drinks. Just, eat here first!

  • 5.0 star rating
    6/2/2009
    • 1 check-in

    "You'd be surprised how many people come in here and think they can order an enchilada," the owner of La Casa Rosa said to us, in a manner that made me wonder if he was trying to talk us out of eating at the place. It was the first stop of my girlfriend and mine roadtrip down to San Luis Obispo and back up the coast. We had time to kill (it was a Friday at 11:30 in the morning) and the attempt to deter us failed.

    When we sat down at the table, it became pretty clear exactly why he gave the disclosure. The menu read more like a manifesto than anything. Three items were on it--the Chicken Casserole, the California Casserole and the New California Casserole--with a special Seafood Casserole mentioned as a fourth option. There were several wine choices, but the manifesto recommended that we pair our dish with the House Ash White Wine at $6.75 a carafe. The owner then instructed us over to a piano that had been turned into a makeshift jam bar--blackberry, strawberry, red currant, marmalade, some sort of chutney. All went well to top the fresh baked rolls that were waiting for us as we returned.

    Each dish comes with a salad, which is nice and light and topped with an interesting vinaigrette dressing. The main course is less a "casserole" than a puff pastry dish baked in a ramekin. As the girlfriend and I savored every bite, we could hear the owner explaining the cuisine to the next person who came in. "This is real California cuisine, the kind that General Vallejo had made for him every night," he said as we turned our ears to listen as well. It wasn't listed on the menu, but after we finished, the owner then brought us a raspberry sorbet as dessert.

    We were a bit stunned when the bill came and it was under $40, given that we had two three course meals and a carafe of wine. As we went to pay the bill, we looked for little things we could buy--a jar of red currant jelly, a bottle of salad dressing, a post card--to beef up the bill a little, as we felt like we stole the meal.

    "When I decide to sell this place, it will be the end of an era," the owner said as we left, sort of resigning himself to the thought that places like this just don't exist any more. I suggest stopping by before the era ends.

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/21/2010

    The previous 2 reviews say it all.  Only comment I would add is to urge everyone to try this place at least once.  It is a truly unique experience, and Charlie the owner is a unique character.

  • 5.0 star rating
    5/5/2013

    I have been coming to La Casa Rosa since the first time in 1949 with my grandparents when I was age 7. Charlie's parents (the present owner) were in charge then. The place has changed little (except for the dinners which included chicken rosemary back in the day.) This is our favorite Sunday Lunch destination and we nearly always order the same thing, the seafood souffle, because I do not cook fish at home. All the former reviews give an adequate overview of this adorable spot, to include the four selection menu (New California Casserole, Old California Casserole, Chicken Souffle or Seafood Souffle) plus describe the eclectic assortment of homemade chutneys, jellies, and preserves-- all set out for you to sample on top of  an old square grand piano. You just help yourself and can go back as many times as you like, to try each new savory treat on your fresh hot roll with butter, and you can even top off your souffle with the chutney for an added taste delight. The Ash Blonde aperitif really is a unique drink, as is the select but tiny wine list. Charlie is an institution in himself and can answer any question you might have on San Juan Bautista's very long and interesting history. The decor itself has not changed one bit (that I can notice) from my first 1947 visit as a little girl and that suits me just fine as well, down to the probably 1890s faded pink wallpaper. The exterior is painted pink as well to go with the La Casa Rosa (The Pink House) motif. It is a rare comfort to step back in time here to spend an hour in another, slower era and dine in friendly hospitable surroundings while eating such scrumptuous comfort food.
    One thing I would like to add is that La Casa Rosa is pleased to sell their rich preserves and the wonderful vinaigrette salad dressing in a little gift shop area just off the dining room. You can take home an order brochure for later and once you are on the mailing list you will get an annual update from Charlie to put in Christmas gift orders that can be sent all over the US. I have sent many chutney gift packages to family in Chicago, Connecticut and Florida and they are most welcome for my displaced California relatives who miss the taste of home, and of Old California, such as is presented at this delightful venue.

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