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Rosso's Trattoria offers casual to classic fare

Rosso's Trattoria in historic downtown Grants Pass offers a variety of Italian dishes, ranging from casual lunchtime fare to classic dinners.

The location, at 225 S.E. Sixth St., makes it a convenient stopping point for people viewing the city's iconic public art bears. Painted by area artists so that each is unique, the grizzly-sized sculptures are concentrated along Sixth and Seventh streets when they come out from hibernation each summer.

Rosso's offers a choice of table or bench seating inside, with a few outdoor tables on the sidewalk.

On a recent trip there with my family, I ordered Basilica ($14) — penne tossed with a creamy basil sauce plus chicken and walnuts. The cream, olive oil and basil sauce made me feel like I was eating a mix of Alfredo and pesto sauce.

The taste was unique, but I would have preferred a pesto sauce without the cream and more basil. My Alfredo-loving husband and daughter became fans of the mixture when I shared a portion of my large entrée.

The chicken and walnuts added a dose of protein to help balance the creamy sauce.

My husband and daughter shared an order of Alfredo on pasta with chicken. Our waitress brought the entrée out already divided onto two plates before we even had to ask for an extra plate. Through the meal, the servers were friendly and attentive.

The noodles tasted homemade, and my husband appreciated the smoky flavor of the sauce and said he liked that the sauce wasn't too rich and creamy.

Both the Basilica and the pasta with Alfredo sauce and chicken came with focaccia bread and a buttery spread, plus a house salad. My kids were both fans of the bread and butter, while I enjoyed the fresh greens, olives, pickled red onions and Gorgonzola cheese dressing, which comes in place of a more common blue cheese dressing.

My husband said his Italian dressing had just the right amount of zing.

My son had a kid-sized portion of Meatballs & Marinara, which is normally $14 but costs $2 less as a smaller portion. The serving size was still large, and he went away with noodle leftovers after cherry-picking out the sausage meatballs.

The tasty marinara sauce reminded me of the homemade spaghetti sauce I used to make with college friends in an iron skillet with crushed tomatoes and oregano.

Other menu items include Seafood Linguine with shrimp, scallops and clams in a white wine, garlic and cream sauce for $17, plus vegetarian offerings like Linguine Giardino with artichoke hearts, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, olives and garlic for $14.

Rosso's has more than a dozen sandwich offerings on focaccia bread, starting at $5 to $7 for a half sandwich to $8 to $11 for a whole. The choices include Arrosti Bestia with roast beef, Swiss cheese, grilled onions and horseradish sauce and Hot Pastrami with cheddar, dill pickle, stone ground mustard and red onion.

Appetizers, soups, salads and traditional Italian desserts round out the menu. The restaurant also has daily specials.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The restaurant is closed Sundays.

For more information, call 541-476-8708 or visit rossos.biz.

A kid-size portion of Meatballs & Marinara at Rosso's Trattoria in downtown Grants Pass. Mail Tribune / Vickie Aldous