An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Jul 12, 2013
12:09 PM
The Connecticut Table

Roia: A Renovation Returns Glory

Roia: A Renovation Returns Glory

Mara Lavitt

Croquette of brandade: salted cod cooked with potatoes, extra-virgin olive oil and herbs.

I can’t tell you how many people have said I should do a blog post on the new restaurant Roia. Seriously, I’ve lost count. They ooh and aah about the food. They go on and on about the renovation. They talk about its great location, right next door to the Shubert Theater. So I went to find out for myself.

Chef Avi Szaprio and his wife Meera Laube-Szapiro were living in Brooklyn after several years abroad, and Avi was consulting. One of his clients brought him to New Haven for a project that fell through. Good thing, because instead, the owner of the Taft building, Francis Moezinia, asked Avi to take on a once majestic but now sad space. The floors were hidden by tattered, ancient linoleum. The period details had been obscurred by disco-era modernization.

“A lot of people ask us why we chose New Haven for this project,” Meera says, “but we tell them New Haven chose us. Avi fell in love with the space and said he would do it if he could do it right, which meant doing a big renovation. This [space] has always been a restaurant ever since the Taft Hotel. When the building was first built this space was the grand dining room of the Taft Hotel. And ever since it has been a restaurant or a club.”

Chocolat fondant: molten chocolate cake with house-made whiskey gelato.


The first floor dining room.

Read the full story on Mara Lavitt’s blog on the New Haven Register online.

Roia: A Renovation Returns Glory

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