Roseland Apizza

Review by: Michael Stern

A meal at Roseland Apizza starts innocuously with some very good, baked-here bread. From there, things get grand. Choose from a broad menu of hand-cut ravioli, lasagna, various parmigianas, spectacular hot and cold antipasti. Whatever else you eat, you must eat pizza, for this is one of the great pizzerias in Connecticut. The crust is what connoisseurs know as New Haven style: thin but not brittle, with enough brawn to support all but the weightiest combinations of ingredients and to allay the pizza-eater’s primal fears: slice collapse and topping slippage.

What to eat at Roseland Apizza

Some of the pizzas that come from these ovens are spectacularly lavish, such as shrimp casino topped with bacon, mozzarella, fresh garlic, and too many jumbo shrimp to count. Roseland also is a good place to sample the relatively uncomplicated Connecticut classic, white clam pizza. Recommended configuration on that one: no mozzarella, no tomato sauce, just a crowd of freshly-shucked Rhode Island clams strewn across a crust frosted with olive oil and scattered with bits of basil, parsley, and oregano, thin-sliced garlic, a twist of cracked black pepper, and a scattering of grated Parmigiano Reggiano. The nectar of the clams insinuates itself into the surface of the crust, giving every crunch exhilarating marine zest.

Roseland Apizza is known for huge portions. No one leaves without a tower of Styrofoam containers holding leftovers. Proprietor Gary Lucarelli once told us that he likes to see diners carry home his food. “They take it to their grandmother or aunt who can’t get out,” he beamed, thinking of all the nice old ladies who have the opportunity to enjoy a Roseland meal at home.

“Being in the [Naugatuck] Valley, we get people with good appetites,” he explained. “They come in and knock off a ‘hot anti’ then have their sauteed escarole and a sausage pie or a plate of ravioli.” As he thought of these good neighbors enjoying their big meals, he raised a wine glass in a one-word toast to all of them: “‘Eat!’ I say.” He inhaled the bouquet of the wine (which he makes himself), took a sip, and repeated the toast that is his family’s way of life and the soul of Roseland: “Eat!”

What To Eat


Hot Antipasto

Special Garlic Bread


Shrimp Fra Diavolo


Spaghetti & Meatballs


Tuna Pizza

Shrimp & Spinach White Pizza

Arugula Pizza

Shrimp Oreganate Pizza

Arugula Salad

Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza

Penne and Sausage with Marinara Sauce

Zuppa da Clams


Roseland Apizza Recipes


What do you think of Roseland Apizza?

2 Responses to “Roseland Apizza”


December 16th, 2012

Terrible… just terrible. When we moved to Ansonia this year, our friends told us that we “need” to go to Roseland and try the pizza and broccoli rabe. We ordered a medium margarita pizza and an order of broccoli rabe to go; $35! I actually took a step back when the guy behind the counter told me the price (he actually saw that I was a bit shocked, and said “Well, you can reheat the rabe, and we threw in some garlic bread”… gee, thanks).

So I thought, “Alright, this better be awesome food!” Boy was I disappointed. First off, how do you make a GREASY margarita?! The crust was hard as a rock, the tomatoes weren’t fresh at all, and there was hardly any flavor to the pie. Second, although I’ve never had broccoli rabe, I’m almost positive that it shouldn’t taste like that. My wife and I each took a bite, spit it out, and said,”Well now we know we don’t ‘need’ to go there again!”

I know this is a landmark in Derby, but I don’t see why. Sorry Roseland, this is one local you won’t be getting any business from again.


Ed Mann

March 22nd, 2010

Many say Roseland Apizza is “Nirvana in the Valley.” With a cult-like following and good press, we had to try it. In a residential area, Roseland is hard to find. People speak of the charming, homey, family restaurant flavor. The interior is “old Italian pizza joint” or “country café” with many booths. Zero lobby or bar. You squeeze into a corner while waiting or clog the entrance/exit. People must run the gauntlet of those at the door to get on the waiting list or to leave. Arriving at 6:30, we waited, though they had empty tables in the next room. A waitress pointed and said, “That’s your table.” On it were three odd plates, three paper napkins, two regular forks and one salad fork.

The printed menu is sparse. Once seated it can be hard or impossible to read the chalkboard. Sparse, too, is the wine/beer selection. We ordered a $25 bottle of wine ($10 in a store!). They were out of some red wines. They offer nine reds and three whites. They offer some by the glass; six bottled beers and six on tap. Nothing fancy except draft Sam Adams.

A sliced boule of ordinary, cold bread was brought with cold butter. The bread was very cold in the middle. There was a long black hair cooked into the loaf. The zuppa de clams broth was super-salty and inedible. The $20 dish sat under heat lights so the clams were partly dried out and tough.

We wanted a shrimp with prosciutto pizza. The waiter immediately asked us if we had been there before. The pizza was going to be $42! The pizza was very much like in New Haven, with a thin, crisp crust. With 20-25 butterflied large shrimp and a little prosciutto on it, they were skimpy with at least the cheese and sauce. The pizza was quite good; the shrimp were obviously fresh.

The sausages with penne and marinara sauce were probably the best Italian sausages I have eaten. The high quality meat was chopped (not ground), and had a wonderful flavor. I was surprised the marinara had little visible oregano or parsley. They melted a very good cheese on top. For the price, and the voluminous amount of pasta, we felt they skimped on the amount of sausage. This came with a high quality salad. The house vinegar and oil was very good and applied in just the right amount.

We three dropped $129; no dessert and one bottle of wine! We poured our wine and weren’t offered anything else to drink when we ran out. They were slow to remove dishes and we never got clean plates, fresh forks, or additional paper napkins during the meal. One meager napkin apiece. You can’t charge tips to your credit card. What?

With prices equaling better New Haven restaurants, we thought we deserved more. The food may be made with good ingredients and some portions are large, but it’s expensive for a no-frills, low-overhead joint with “pizza joint” service.


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