Saturday, October 13, 2007

Zanata Restaurant - Rockwall

When Sara and I were looking for a new home in 1999, we wanted a place that was part suburban/rural and party city. We found this in Rowlett, TX. We have been very happy here. However, the quality of dining in the area has left something to be desired. For family quick outings there was always Chili's, local average (or below) eateries and the traditional fast-food fare. However, whenever we wanted to go higher-end in our dining, we always had to go to Greenville avenue, Richardson, Addison, Plano or Frisco. However, we found a place in nearby Rockwall that could just become a regular haunt for us when we want to eat a bit more upscale but don't want to travel great distances to do so.

Tonight we wanted to go out to dinner so we decided to forgo the Rowlett fare and head to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place in Rockwall. Unfortunately they were closed, so we began to seek out new places to eat. As we waited at a red light on the square in Rockwall, we stumbled across Zanata Restaurant. It had a different look about it, but it was hard to tell what kind of fare it specialized in. So we decided to turn the block and drive by again. Specifically, we wanted to check out what folks were wearing inside as we didn't want to be under dressed. Zanata had large windows that opened out onto the sidewalk, reminiscent of Margaritaville in Key West. The dress looked casual enough, so we pulled into an alley next to the restaurant and parked.

When we entered, it wasn't clear what the seating etiquette was. But shortly thereafter a hostess greeted us and quickly cleared a table for our party of five. Outside a banner had mentioned "wood fired pies," and seeing pizza at several of the tables, I quickly understood the "pie" reference. The decor is in nice earth tones and very warm and friendly. The table is set with hand-blown stemware for the water.

The waitstaff at Zanata was wonderfull. Our waiter, Louie, was great. We started off with two different orders of their Bruschetta which were very good. We ordered a carraffe of the house red wine since Sara is not a big wine drinker. The younger kids didn't enjoy the Bruschetta as much as Sara, Josh and I did. One of the orders, the Sonomoa, had goat cheese, balsamic vinegar and sliced portobella. The other, the Fresh Mozzerella, had mozzerella (naturally), Tomato Confit, basil, sea-salt and olive oil. This was my favorite. The tomatoes where wonderful.

Andrew and Trin ordered a Cheese pizza and Josh got the House pizza. Sara shared the House pizza with Josh as well as a Caesar salad. I had the Lasagna special and boy was I glad that I did. The Lasagna was easily four inches thick, if not more, with tons of Ricotta cheese. The meat sauce, containing fresh tomatos, herbs and italian sausage, was on top and the lasagna layers consisted of pasta and Ricotta. This was easily some of the best Lasagna I have had in some time.

Louie explained that Zanata had been open since January. I don't know how many times I have driven by Zanata this year and never knew it was there. They could benefit from some advertising, but considering the number of couples and families waiting as we left, maybe they don't need to advertise.

If you are in the Rockwall/Rowlett area and are looking for an uncommonly good Italian/Mediterranean restaurant, I would highly recommend Zanata. We will certainly be back there soon!

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