We had a most exciting food experience this past weekend. The owners of Royal Rose reached out to us and invited us to come and try their restaurant, so we did. For those that are from Huntsville, Royal Rose is where Bennigan’s used to be on the corner of the Parkway and University Drive.
They love their customers and want to treat them like kings and queens with food fit for a royal table.
When we walked in we were met by a friendly hostess who seated us and then soon after that Tatiana, who owns Royal Rose Diner with her Husband Chef George Kontoulakos, walked over and introduced herself to us. She was so friendly and personable and she thanked us for coming in and proceeded to tell us all about Royal Rose and how she and Chef George had opened their restaurant April 2016. I asked her how they came to name it Royal Rose and she explained that Chef George had a couple restaurants in NY, Rose Royal and Royal Rose so he just blended it together, but she went on to explain that they love their customers and want to treat them like kings and queens with food fit for a royal table. After dining here and meeting them both, I must agree that they have achieved that.
George is Greek and Tatiana is Russian and together they have created an impressive restaurant that has recipes passed down from both grandmothers and mothers. George came to speak to us and you could really tell that he had a fiery passion for cooking only the freshest ingredients and making sure their patrons left satisfied. When I glanced at their menu I was shocked to see that it resembles a book more so than a menu with many pages of different nationalities of food. You know those times when your family is trying to decide where to go eat but every person has a different opinion so you go back and forth inevitably causing someone to have to sacrifice what they want to reach an agreement? Well, let me tell you that this is the place to go in those instances. They have every possible item that most everyone can find something they want.
Chef George wanted to make sure we knew that there was no restaurant like his in Huntsville with completely fresh, never frozen fish (except for items the FDA requires to be frozen such as shrimp) and with a menu as extensive as his. Tatiana asked us what kind of food we wanted to try but I told her that we wanted her and Chef George to bring us the items they were most proud of or wanted to showcase. With this being restaurant week, they brought us most every item they will be offering as their special and what a treat you all are in for!
They also brought us out two flights of beer (Goat Island Brewing from Cullman, AL and Rocket Republic Brewing Co. from Madison, AL) to try along with a few other really fantastic dishes. Make sure you to try the Appollo Amber from Rocket Republic which is one of the Huntsville Restaurant Week’s special brews!
Tatiana first brought us out a beautiful loaf of fresh baked Hala Bread that is made fresh, in-house daily. It was so nice and soft on the inside with a yummy sweetness that went so well with the Olive and Feta Spread.
Next, we were brought out some very tasty appetizers of Saganaki, which is this Greek cheese that is pan-fried in brandy. It was a firmer cheese and it had a salty, creamy texture. It had some olives on the side and the salty brine from the olive was a good compliment to the cheese.
Shrimp Saganaki, fresh shrimp sautéed with Greek cheese, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and kalamata olives. This was such a tasty dish and the bread was also very good dipped in the broth of this dish.
We had Fried Calamari that was so tender and the batter was so light and tasty. It is served with marinara or chile sauce and both are equally delicious with it.
Next, the entrees started coming. We were brought out a couple of the Huntsville Restaurant Week specials like the Fried Green Tomato Parmesan, the Rocket City Burger, and the Seafood Lasagna.
The Fried Green Tomato Parmesan was incredible with gold brown fried green tomatoes atop spaghetti and homemade marinara sauce. The tomatoes were perfectly fried. Not mushy but just firm enough and they were not bitter like some green tomatoes can often be and with the spaghetti it was such a delicious dish.
The Rocket City Burger was such a treat with pure Angus beef, homemade pimento cheese, fried pickles and spicy ranch. All of the ingredients made for an amazing burger and the fries served with it were just as good! Chef George took great pride in sharing that his Seafood Lasagna was made with only fresh fish.
We even got a picture of him holding some salmon that was just one of the fresh fish in this incredible dish. If you love fresh seafood and also lasagna then you really must give this a try! It was incredibly fresh and flavorful with a perfect blend of seafood, herbs, cheese and fresh pasta. Tatiana then showed up with a bowl of Homemade Chicken Pot-Pie.
The crust alone was so gorgeous but once we dug into it the fresh vegetables and delicious filling inside was absolute perfection. So comforting and hearty. I can definitely see myself coming here and ordering this during winter time. We were so full by this time but Tatiana wanted to make sure we got to try a couple of their delicious homemade desserts.
She brought us a slice of original Cheesecake with Strawberries and a slice of Nutella Cheesecake. They were both so beautiful and tasted like heaven. So light and not overly sweet. The perfect way to end this most wonderful dining experience we had just enjoyed.
It must be said that the portions here are enormous with extremely reasonable prices. The waitstaff were all very professional and friendly. When we left I had to give both Tatiana and Chef George a hug because I felt like I had just had a fine meal in their home. You could really tell Chef George had poured his heart and soul into the dishes he had ready for us. They both were so kind and welcoming and the passion they exhibited as they talked about their restaurant and the dishes they serve could not be denied. I feel like we have made lifelong friends that we will stop in and have a meal with often now. I hope you will go and give this wonderful restaurant a try and see for yourself that they feed you just like royalty!
Thank you again, Chef George and Tatiana, for the wonderful meal you provided and for sharing your story with us! It was a real pleasure!
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