Portuguese-Inspired, Locally Sourced Menu Revisits Point Loma’s Rich Fishing Heritage
This November, Point Loma’s Liberty Station Promenade will welcome a fresh culinary concept, Roseville Cozinha, a “fish-to-fork” eatery inspired by the seaside community’s rich history as a popular fishing peninsula settled by Portuguese and Italian immigrants over 100 years ago. Owner/Executive Chef Michael Alves, a Point Loma native of Portuguese ancestry, will serve flavorful traditional Portuguese and Italian dishes with a contemporary twist, focused on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and fresh off the line seafood.
Alves, a former Georgia Southern University football player and graduate of San Diego State University, comes from a tight-knit Portuguese family where hearty food and fine drink was at the heart of every gathering. As the youngest in a family of 10, Alves spent much of his childhood and adolescence immersed in the flavors of his mother’s, grandmothers’ and aunts’ kitchens, developing an earnest appreciation for traditional Portuguese cuisine and honing his culinary skills.
Alves made his first foray into restaurateurship as an independent operator of Da Kine’s Plate Lunches, a tribute to Hawaiian cuisine and culture, in Point Loma in 2007. A year later came the opening of the Point Loma location of seafood-focused Joao’s Tin Fish Bar and Eatery, named for Alves’ beloved Portuguese grandfather, also a lifelong fisherman. Inspired by the Da Kine’s concept, Alves set out to pay homage to Point Loma’s Portuguese and Italian fishing community with Roseville Cozinha.
“Few San Diegans know that Point Loma was built on the tuna fishing industry by Portuguese and Italian immigrants— in fact, San Diego was once America’s tuna fishing capital,” says Alves, “I want to educate people and honor our community’s legacy.”
Roseville is the oldest settled part of Point Loma, named for its developer, San Diego pioneer Louis Rose, and “Cozinha” is Portuguese for kitchen. The restaurateur’s longtime friends Pete Balistreri (Rose Pistola and Tender Greens) and Craig Jimenez (Craft & Commerce), Point Loma natives and notable San Diego culinary virtuosos, collaborated on the familial yet sophisticated menu offering— a modern take on authentic Portuguese dishes. The impressive menu will emphasize seasonal cuisine from local farms including, Suzie’s Farm, PL Farms, Shoemaker Farms (Ramona) and Terra Bella Ranch, as well as freshly caught shellfish from Carlsbad Aquafarms, and grass-fed meats from Natural Angus. Menu standouts include the Ervilhas Stew, a traditional Portuguese dish made from green peas, potato, linguica, and topped with a poached egg, and the Fish Monger, a selection of the day’s seafood, pickled onions and wood oven roasted vegetable. Balistreri has also lent his skill at making exceptional salumi to Roseville Conzinha’s menu with the Local Salumi Board, featuring hand crafted P. Balistreri Salumi, house-made pickles, marinated olives, Dijon mustard, nuts and pate.
A custom-made wood fired oven will be turning out hot, fresh-out-of-the-oven Neapolitan-style pizzas with a variety of fresh meats, seafood and cheeses. Alves was schooled in the fine art of pizza making by nine-time World Pizza Champion and the only American to win the Naples Championship in Italy, Tony Gemignani. Pies include the Wild Mushroom, topped with a variety of wild mushrooms, mozzarella, speck, buratta, arugula, truffle oil and piave, and The Fennel, topped with fennel seed sausage, roasted peppers and chili oil. Traditional Portuguese desserts are not forgotten. The stand out sweet selections include, Malasadas, Portuguese sweet dough, fried and rolled in cinnamon and sugar and Portuguese Sweet Bread Pudding, Portuguese sweet bread made by Con Pane Rustic Breads served with a scoop of gelato.
To ensure a truly memorable meal, an exceptional wine, beer and craft cocktail menu has been carefully cultivated. Alves has enlisted the assistance of Cohn Restaurant Group’s Sommelier, Maurice DiMarino, a childhood friend, to develop the sizeable wine list – all from Portugal and Italy – include the Malvasia/Gouveio Blend from Ferreira winery in the Douro region and a Paso Robles Syrah by San Diego local, Greg Martelotto. Roseville Cozinha’s 22-strong craft beer selection is focused on outstanding local brews including Ballast Point’s Yellowtail Pale Ale, Stone’s Arrogant Bastard and Sagres, a popular Portuguese beer. The craft cocktail menu, inspired by San Francisco’s vibrant North Beach neighborhood, historically home to Italian-American fisherman, includes unique options like the Spicy Carrot Martini, made with Tru Organic Lemon vodka, carrot juice, lemon juice, roasted cumin syrup and garnished with fennel fronds, and the Um Beijo (“a kiss” in Portuguese), made with hibiscus infused gin, Lillet Blanc and Benedictine.
Rustic design elements are combined with familial comfort for a welcoming, relaxed ambiance. Point Loma’s fishing history is celebrated in black and white framed images along the walls, the day’s catch and specials are prominently displayed on a large chalkboard and vintage items like an antique typewriter, milk basket and copper pots (from Alves’ grandmother’s farm and central California) and reclaimed pendant lights made from old farm toasters and wenches from old tuna boats add an air of nostalgia. Wine bottles are housed inside an exposed wood grain case that lines the entryway with the focal point being the custom wood-fired pizza oven. A large, outdoor patio encourages guests and their canine friends to enjoy the San Diego sunshine and cool Bay breeze. Roseville Cozinha’s authentic design captures Point Loma’s history as the hub of San Diego’s tuna fishing industry and haven for Portuguese and Italian immigrants.
Roseville Cozinha will be open seven days a week, 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Sunday – Thursday, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday. Roseville Cozinha is located at 2750 Dewey Road #104 in Point Loma’s Liberty Station Promenade, formerly Joao’s Tin Fish Bar & Eatery. Follow the eatery’s Facebook and Twitter feeds (@rosecozinha) for more opening news. For more information on Roseville Cozinha, Michael Alves, the food menu and wine, beer and craft cocktail list, hours of operation, and special events, please visit:http://rosevillecozinha.com/.