Jill & Carmine Castaldo met at The Culinary Institute of America in 1987, while he was an instructor for the famed Escoffier Room, an in house French 5 star dining restaurant and she a student. While Carmine's career flourished in New York and New Jersey, after her graduation from the Culinary Institute, Jill returned to her home in Houston. There she worked for renowned Chef Robert del Grande at Cafe Annie and the downtown hangout Charley's 517. She then headed for the wine country for a fabulous Chef's position at the very well known, high profile Elaine Bell Catering Company.
After three years there and a continuous long distance relationship with Carmine, Jill finally moved to New Jersey. Together, Jill and Carmine opened a full service catering operation in Green Brook, New Jersey. In 1997 they came across an abandoned building in Bethlehem Township off Route 78 in Hunterdon County. After 2 years of renovations to the building & property they opened RosaLuca's Italian Bistro, named in homage to Carmine's parents Rosa and Luca.
They have always believed that with alot of hard work, dedication, great food & service along with all the details that follow, they would be a successful team! After 13 years they have proven that to be true!! While Jill manages the front of the house, Carmine is the Executive Chef. Since the very the beginning, they have always maintained the same theory - "provide the best food and service you can to continually exceed the expectations of your patrons!"
Hannah B. February 2017
Deserves More Than 5 Stars
My husband and I were in for the saturday before Valentine's Day, in which we had called a reservation ahead of time (good idea since they were packed for our 6:00 reservation).
We each have visited RosaLuca's before with our newborn, and its nice to see that the whole place is very family friendly. For dinner we had the Trout with the potato and crab "hash", and it was the best piece of fish I've ever eaten around here, and that lemon butter sauce was to die for. My husband ate the "Veal Milanese", and it was prepared just the way my mother-in-law makes it, with the fresh tomato and mozzarella salad on top, and was great to take home and finish as a sandwich.
One of the biggest reasons we keep coming back is the small and noticeable touches the restaurant has to offer, like the hot water and lemon napkin after the finger foods like our Mussel app, and the little heart shaped chocolate to top our homemade mint gelato dessert. Keep it up, we are hungry 🙂
Patricia T. December 2016
Best Italian in Hunterdon County
This is the best Italian restaurant in Hunterdon County. I eat here about once a month. I try to get something different every time and I've never had a bad meal. The food is always fresh and delicious. Very nice ambience. Some of my favorite things to get here are the oyster appetizers, pizzette appetizer, and linguini & clams in white sauce entrèe. They also have an amazing martini menu. This is really great --- if you spend $50 or more and pay in cash, they give you a free jar of their delicious homemade pasta sauce and a box of penne pasta.
Scott T. December 2016
Everything was perfect from searing to dessert. Let me start backward with a banana sorbet and a pote de chocolate. Shared among four of us as it was so good. The entrees are all Italian and are cooked to perfection. I had the salmon and was seated and seasoned perfectly. Wife had the eggplant and kids had the gnocchi. Each was as good as it could be.
Appetizers and martini menu is great and varied and I could make a meal of the appetizers alone.
Service is impeccable and water glasses never ran dry.
Easy parking and don't miss out on homemade sauces.
Wish I knew about the special. Pay by cash and get sauce and pasta for a meal at home.
Next time !!!!
Mark October 2016
When we moved out to Warren County almost 10 years ago, we were shocked that we could not find the food we were used to eating from North East NJ. We had lots of suggestions but none met our foodie appetite. We love fresh, tasty and well-made food and enjoy great service. My wife was out for lunch with some women who took her to RosaLuca's. When she came home, she raved about this place and said we have to go again. That was about 9 years ago. Ever since we've been coming on a very regular basis. We go to dinner there on average 4 times a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. We have NEVER had a bad meal. And if something is not exactly how I like it. the wait staff are adamant about making it right no matter what it takes.
When we arrive on days the owner is there, she is absolutely wonderful at making us feel so important. Most often she will come up to us and give us a hug and truly makes you feel like she's happy that you are there. We love Jill and Carmine. They are what makes dining at RosaLuca's a wonderful experience.
After so many great experiences, I decided to have my wife's 50th birthday party there. The guests not only had a great time, but everyone I talked to was raving about the food and the wait staff being so very friendly and professional. They are polite and awesome people. We can't say enough about them. If you're looking for a great meal, friendly and professional wait staff and an environment that is clean, cozy and charming, this is your place.
Last year we wanted to have my son's engagement party at our home. My wife was going to do all the cooking and a few days before the party, the oven broke, the microwave broke and we were in trouble. So we called RosaLuca's. Not only did they say, "Yes, we can help," they prepared an awesome menu for us and sent two women to do all of the cooking, serving and cleaning on the day of the party. They also set up a bar with a bar tender. We could not lift a finger even if we wanted to. The guests were so impressed with the food and service.
By the way, when my wife and I got married, we had close to 100 guests all taken care of at RosaLuca's. Another great success! I'm sure it's pretty obvious we are very happy with this establishment. But let me be clear. If RosaLuca's was not as great a place as I've described above, we would not be coming back so many times. We are very discriminating people when it comes to food and service. So that's why we give RosaLuca's a 10.
Jeanette F. September 2, 2015
I regularly have dinner at this establishment. It is a gem. This is a total dinning experience. The appetizers are artful and delicious. The entrees are always unique and delicious. The most appealing aspect of the food is the freshness of the ingredients and beautiful presentation that comes with every item on the menu. The staff is exceptionally attentive and accommodating. This is a great restaurant for a very special occasion or just anyone looking for an total dinning experience.
Rosemary M. October 27, 2015
RosaLuca's is one of the best restaurants in Hunterdon County. Located just off Route 78 West (exit 11), it serves culinary delights, seasonally fresh and delicious. I especially enjoy the zucchini blossoms featured in late June early July. Seasonal specials are offered throughout the calendar year, but the menu always offers traditional Italian fare as well. This is a high end restaurant whose quality food is worth the price. Their home made tomato sauce and soups are also on sale and make great gifts, or a wonderful treat for a time-saving supper. Gluten free? No problem, Although there isn't a separate GF menu available, the staff and chef worked OT to suggest suitable choices to satisfy.
The conversation at our table in RosaLuca's spacious dining room basically boiled down to exclamations of joy! "Aah," and "Ooh," was repeated constantly throughout our meal, as each new delight appeared and was consumed with sensuous pleasure. From the lush, piping-hot crab pot pie with sautéed vegetables ($12.95) to the amazing grilled eggplant topped with an intense Parmesan soufflé ($12.95), we found ourselves dazzled and delighted by the selections. Head west to RosaLuca's to be DAZZLED and DELIGHTED!
The Courier News
"Mama Mia!" writes Lois Mattson on her most recent visit, "I've been hearing about RosaLuca's for some time, but wasn't prepared for the outstanding meal, ambience and service that I found. The menu is well tempered, in that it features a nice array of items, but not so many that you begin to be suspicious of the kitchen." "The Chef shows true inspiration in the creation of his dishes featuring simple ingredients that come together so well. RosaLuca’s is a real find and I will definitely return!"
"Jill Castaldo makes all the desserts at RosaLuca's and I particularly enjoy her butterscotch caramel mousse, chocolate pot de crème and excellent bread pudding. Here the specials are really special, particularly Carmine's appetizers -crisp fried ravioli filled with wild mushrooms & smoked bacon or pan seared foie gras with grilled brioche & peach apple raspberry chutney. I highly recommend two pastas, the pappardelle and the lobster ravioli. Main courses are first rate - the baked Chilean Sea Bass with porcini, sun dried tomato pesto or pecan crusted pork tenderloin with scalloped potatoes, caramelized apples & sautéed spinach is properly prepared. But most of all I like RosaLuca's interesting & delicious menu".
“RosaLuca's Italian Bistro sparkles from a tiny hamlet in Hunterdon County near Clinton. The pride and skill of Chef/Owner Carmine Castaldo and his wife Jill are obvious in every facet of this exciting restaurant. The simplicity of the decor is entirely suitable to a countryside location. RosaLuca's is an amazing place where you'll have a meal to remember, whatever you order.” "Leaders of the pack, top 10 restaurants in 2003".