West Seattle restaurants: La Romanza Bistro closes in The Junction

Two months after the sudden shutdown of A Terrible Beauty, another Junction restaurant has closed. La Romanza Bistro proprietor Aimee Pellegrini confirmed to us via e-mail that her restaurant at 4521 California SW has shut down. We were checking on its status because of multiple reader e-mails pointing out that La Romanza did not open either day this weekend, and that it appeared some of its interior furnishings had been removed; we noted its website was down and that its phone was answered with a recorded message saying simply, “La Romanza is closed.” Then our e-mail inquiry was answered, confirming that the closure is permanent. The restaurant opened as the Tuscan Tea Room in fall 2010 as an adjunct to Pellegrini’s well-regarded Romanza Floral business, and then morphed in April 2012 into a full-service restaurant, offering Italian cuisine as well as the tea service and live music. No indication so far what’s next for the space.

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38 Replies to "West Seattle restaurants: La Romanza Bistro closes in The Junction"

  • AM August 4, 2014 (2:45 pm)

    that’s too bad, i actually enjoyed their food! Dang….

  • Garden_nymph August 4, 2014 (2:50 pm)

    La Romanza Bistro will be missed! Aimee created such a beautiful space. The food was wonderful! I wish the best to Aimee on whatever she chooses to try next! Please keep us posted.

  • Kristen August 4, 2014 (2:56 pm)

    This is a major bummer. My parents adored this restaurant… their 45th wedding anniversary was Saturday and they were so disappointed that they couldn’t get anyone to answer the phone to make a reservation. I had amazing chicken parm there and my mom just loved the crab lasagna. The owner was very kind and endured many of my dad’s conversations about jazz, something which she herself was passionate about.

    My parents were actually walking into the restaurant last June to celebrate mom’s birthday when my dad collapsed to the sidewalk and had a stroke. When he was finally recovered, they returned to La Romanza to make up their dinner, apologizing for having to abandon their reservation that fateful night. The owner simply said, “We were so worried about you and are just so glad that you’re better.” So not only was she aware of what had happened, but she knew it was my dad, and she remembered him.

    We’ll all miss you, La Romanza. Thank you for the great memories.

  • Danielle August 4, 2014 (3:05 pm)

    To me, this is not bad news. After I was told that the did not have high chairs because the owner didn’t want babies in there (by a server), the tea room lost my respect. The owner then going on yelp to fight with dissatisfied customers was kind of a put off too. Good concept, horrible execution. And awful service. Buh-bye!

  • natinstl August 4, 2014 (3:12 pm)

    That’s too bad, especially since I have a $100 gift certificate from there that I was planning on using soon. I really liked the atmosphere and food.

  • Ash August 4, 2014 (3:18 pm)

    Sadness! I celebrated my 30th birthday there last year with my girlfriends, and had a very grown-up tea party! It was a lovely place – I hope it finds a resurrection elsewhere.

  • Jason August 4, 2014 (3:23 pm)

    Bummer, I have never been there, guess I was part of the problem.

  • Sittingbird August 4, 2014 (3:36 pm)

    Didn’t even know the place existed. I rarely go out because too expensive as well, so, I only go out to the places I know. Its a hard business to be in.

  • Brian Pelzel August 4, 2014 (3:48 pm)

    Dang! We loved this place. The food was always great, but we knew something was up two weeks ago (Friday) when we stopped in. Everything seemed fine. Live music was playing and we got our appetizers – then the waitress came up and said there was an emergency in the kitchen and we would not get our entrées. They comped everything, but it was a strange experience.

    Another great West Seattle restaurant bites the dust. Very sad!

  • WSobserver August 4, 2014 (3:54 pm)

    @Sittingbird, I was going to say the same thing. I had no idea the place existed.

  • Louise Suhr August 4, 2014 (4:12 pm)

    I only learned of La Romanza a year ago during one of those fall restaurant specials, and super enjoyed it. Took my parents back later in the winter for another superb and memorable meal. I was looking forward to more visits. This is SAD news!

  • sue August 4, 2014 (4:18 pm)

    Oh! My family is going to miss this place. We get to go out once every two or three months, and even with all the choices available in West Seattle, we often ended up here. Best of luck to Aimee on her next venture.

  • themightyrabbit August 4, 2014 (4:21 pm)

    walked past the place many times. too formal for me. glad some folks liked it. these places need a constant revenue stream to survive and the junction is very competitive with many choices.

  • JW August 4, 2014 (4:36 pm)

    Natinstl, you might check in at La Rustica and see if they may be willing to give you at least a portion of the value. I believe that’s Aimee’s father who owns it. They aren’t obligated but may be willing to work with you. Very nice family and I’m sure this was a difficult decision.

  • LolaP August 4, 2014 (5:07 pm)

    Dang! Loved their food and service. I think they may have suffered from the ineptitude and bad management of the place that preceded them in that location. I didn’t go until I learned it had truly changed hands.

  • trickycoolj August 4, 2014 (5:31 pm)

    I hate to hear of another restaurant going, especially in such a prime spot. I also hate to admit I hadn’t been in, but it did seem much too formal for the typical jeans and t-shirt happy hour/dinner outings I usually meet friends for in the Junction after work on weeknights.

  • Cid August 4, 2014 (6:17 pm)

    I guess I’m the only one who loved it when it was the Tuscan Tea Room, but felt La Romanza Bistro’s food and service was spotty. That said, I hate to see it close.

  • Dan August 4, 2014 (7:57 pm)

    Would go in for a late night glass of wine and a chocolate dessert they did that was great. The bartenders and live music were the best. The only thing was the design did look very formal and a bit over the top for something in the Junction. You expected high expense even before going in. In reality their prices were competitive. Sad to see a good italian restaurant go away. Nothing else over here to match it except La Rustica.

  • sam-c August 4, 2014 (8:41 pm)

    Jason- same here- we’re part of the problem too. We’ve been talking about going someday…. I always wanted to go. but just hadn’t yet made it, especially since it seemed more ‘date night’ than ‘kid friendly’ and we hadn’t yet made it through all the ‘date night’ places at the top of our list. guess we don’t ‘get out’ much. wow lots of quotes. but I’m sorry they are closed.

    I think the last place we went was revel…..

  • fj August 4, 2014 (10:14 pm)

    It’s always sad to see a business close, but their food was mediocre at best.

    If we are going the way of Ballard w/ the condos, I wish someone would do us a solid and bring some of their dining here too.

  • Jason August 4, 2014 (10:15 pm)

    I hate to admit it but I think I actually had a mental block about the place. It seems like it opened as the Tuscan Tea Room around the same time The Wingdome opened right next door and somehow I got the idea in my head that it was like Ladies go to the door on the right & Gentlemen to the door on the left.
    .
    Bummed I never tried it, that was not very neighborly of me.

  • BeachDriveBoy August 4, 2014 (10:32 pm)

    BUMMER!!! (major sad face) We went there several times and loved it; it was easily the most elegant restaurant on California Avenue. Well, I suppose will see another generic gastropub or pizza joint there now.

  • Jeanine August 5, 2014 (7:20 am)

    BeachDriveBoy, we have gastropubs in west Seattle??? How did you manage to keep that secret for so long?

  • sun*e August 5, 2014 (9:44 am)

    :-( Why aren’t the best ones able to make it in the Junction? We still miss Ovio Bistro that closed in 2007!

  • pam f August 5, 2014 (10:00 am)

    The first 3 years are crucial in the restaurant world, and it seemed that to change the identity and focus of the place in this time was maybe not a good idea. Being a Brit i loved the tea room idea and maybe they could have pushed this more.Hope the space gets something in there soon.

  • LivesInWS August 5, 2014 (12:41 pm)

    Loved the live music — no where else to go in West Seattle to hear decent live jazz on a Friday or Saturday night. Let alone Sunday brunch. Yeah, the decor was over-decorative for me, but the prices for meals weren’t as high as it may have looked.

    Sorry to hear it’s closed.

  • JVP August 5, 2014 (1:20 pm)

    Bummer, really liked the place and went there a few times in the past year.

    The former setup with lace tablecloths and teacups might have doomed it. Appeared stuffy. We never went in until it changed, and then found we really liked the food and service.

    Restaurant biz is a tough one.

  • John August 5, 2014 (2:11 pm)

    @Beachdriveboy….
    “it was easily the most elegant restaurant on California Avenue”. We are a different breed my friend. That’s why I felt uncomfortable there. I like my laid back jeans and t-shirt places.
    However, I am sad to see another restaurant closing.

  • Amy August 5, 2014 (4:53 pm)

    That’s a shame. Add me to the list of those who were part of the problem. I’d heard/read good things about La Romanza but never got around to trying it. I was kind of saving it for a special occasion, but I don’t have those very often. My loss. :-/

  • Alphonse August 5, 2014 (11:42 pm)

    Good job, West Seattle. Only one “hate to see a restaurant close but it was mediocre” comment. I always read these and cringe, thinking how would these people like it if they lost their jobs and had to read comments along the lines of, “hate to see someone lose a job, but his/her work was pretty spotty and had been going down hill for a long time and I look forward to someone better taking their spot.”

  • jewel August 6, 2014 (10:43 am)

    We will miss you. Always a wonderful date night if you were involved!

  • Kristin August 6, 2014 (11:12 am)

    Hi all,
    I was a server at La Romanza for the past 2 1/2 years, and I am sad to see it go. It was a fantastic place to work at and a wonderful family to work for. Most of the patrons were super nice and it was overall a delightful experience. Unfortunately though circumstances happen and sometimes all good things must come to an end. I wish everyone who’s ever stepped foot into Romanza the best and for those that never got a chance to experience it, no worries. To my knowledge most of the staff have found other jobs, or are actively seeking. Take care West Seattle.
    Sincerely,
    Kristin

  • dawsonct August 6, 2014 (11:18 am)

    Not to pile on fj in consecutive comments, but their statement “If we are going the way of Ballard w/ the condos, I wish someone would do us a solid and bring some of their dining here too,” warranted a reply.
    Too many in W. Seattle seem to feel we deserve to always live in the West Seattle that we discovered when we grew up/moved here AND it should provide all the hip and up-to-date amenities that other neighborhoods in our city have. Well, guess what? We can really only have one or the other, and the first one is not going to happen and has never actually happened since humans started to change the face of our region. Deal with it.
    One of the bonuses we do get with increased density, is the ability for local businesses to make more money catering to these newly arrived consumers. WHY does Ballard have a better restaurant scene than does W. Seattle? It is BECAUSE of all the new condos, and the new tenants (consumers) who moved into them.
    Quit complaining about future assumed traffic issues and start anticipating all the great new businesses that we will have in our neighborhood serving all our new neighbors! Welcome!

  • Michael Waldo August 6, 2014 (7:22 pm)

    Went for my 60th birthday. Food was excellent and reasonably priced. Service was horrible. When my wife asked the server what wine he would recommend with her dish, he said “I don’t like wine and don’t drink it, so I have no idea”. Poor customer service. We never went back.

  • kathleen greiff August 6, 2014 (11:14 pm)

    So sad to see this. We were regular customers and really enjoyed Aimee’s food and her restaurant. We will miss her, and hope to see her soon!

  • John August 7, 2014 (8:44 am)

    This place seemed to be busy every time I passed by. I’m surprised it closed so suddenly.

  • Randy August 14, 2014 (8:04 am)

    So sad! I loved La Romanza! Was going there tomorrow night! Wonderful Aimee and staff, my heart goes out to you all. Truly, La Romanza will be missed.

  • Natalie August 18, 2014 (1:30 pm)

    So, so sad.

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