UPDATE (2018): Rosto has closed in Linden and reopened in the far northern suburb of Kyalami.

Linden, a quirky Jozi suburb not far from Melville, has always been one of my favorite dining spots in town. The Cheese Shop is there, as is Hashi. There are at least five great Linden restaurants that I’ve eaten at but never gotten around to blogging about, and at least five more that I’ve heard great things about but haven’t eaten at yet.

So when I received an invite to have dinner at Rosto, I jumped at the opportunity to expand my Linden repertoire.

Rosto in Linden - outside at nightRosto, which is right in the middle of Linden’s 7th Street restaurant row.

Rosto is new — less than a year old — and specializes in Italian-inspired roasted chicken and street food.

[Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci invented the automated spit-roaster more than 500 years ago? I didn’t, until my meal at Rosto.]

This is a Quickie Restaurant Review so I’ll be quick.

What I liked about Rosto:

1) The decor. The restaurant is bright and cheerful and there is enough light to read the menu at night.

Inside RostoInside Rosto.

2) The staff. The people working at Rosto are nice, responsive, and knowledgeable about the menu, which is important because the menu is extensive and a little bit out of the norm. (Ask your server to show you the yeast.)

Bongani and Alfonsina the yeast, at RostoOur waitress, Bongani, shows us Alfonsina, Rosto’s 100-year-old yeast. This yeast, which someone’s uncle smuggled over from Italy, is the source of Rosto’s focaccia.

3) The rice croquettes. These balls of deliciousness come in three flavors. I loved all three but the spinach, ham, and provolone (back-right) was my favorite.

Rice croquettes at RostoI wouldn’t have thought to order these if Bongani hadn’t recommended them. I’m glad she did — they exploded with flavor and were my favorite part of the meal.

4) The chickpea-flour fries. I know it sounds weird but trust me — they’re amazing. Apparently chickpea flour is a popular ingredient in Italian cooking.

Pork sandwich with chickpea flour friesMy roast pork sandwich with chickpea-flour fries (left side of the plate). Ray is already eating one. Incidentally, Rosto roasts a whole pig every Thursday and that’s the only night pork is on the menu, which is why I decided to order it. The sandwich was tasty but I wish I’d had the chicken (see below).

5) The roast chicken. Okay, that’s a lie. Ray and I tried pretty much everything on the menu except for the roast chicken, which I realize in hindsight was dumb. The chickens can be ordered whole, halved, or quartered, and come with a choice of three sauces.

Chicken at RostoLook at all these juicy, free-range chickens, just waiting for me to eat them. Next time.

What I didn’t like about Rosto: Nothing. And I’m not just saying that because my meal was free.

My dinner at Rosto was complimentary. Opinions expressed are my own.

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