Well… we have been “kidless” around our house for the last few days, so the wife and I have been enjoying some romantic nights out. My good friend Jared Kichula and his stunning wife Aja have just returned from their honeymoon, so they invited us to join them for dinner at their wonderful restaurant La Vita e Bella, in the historic Dafoe Terrace Building in Victoria Park.
La Vita e Bella has been a labor of love for Jared and Aja, and it shows in every aspect of this warm and sophisticated restaurant. From maintaining the old world feel of the classic brick building, to the pictures on the wall, most of them taken by Aja on their trips to Italy.
We arrived and were greeted by the hostess with a warm smile and taken out to the patio, where our host and his better half were enjoying a glass of wine. Before I can push in Dana’s chair and sit down, a plate of Antipasto is put down on the table. Now... I’m thinking this is my buddy Jared having everything timed perfectly, but truth be told it is actually because they were hungry and because I am terrible for being late, if it’s not a business meeting. We settled in and enjoyed the Antipasto and then some Bruschetta, both of which were fresh and flavorful. More wine, conversation and wine, did I mention more wine?
The time has arrived for dinner, like I hadn't eaten enough by then, but we order our Secondi because I can't wait to try the chefs fare. Dana decides on the Vitello Scallopini, pan seared with gnocchi, cherry tomatoes, garlic, shallots, capers & fresh lemon juice. It was fantastic, the gnocchi was like velvet. I intended to go light and watch my calorie count but Jared was adamant that I try the Bistecca, 18oz local Alberta Prime Grade, Bone-in Rib Eye Steak served on a bed of arugula and cherry tomatoes and finished with a little extra virgin olive oil. That combined with the Risotto that was calling my name, has now thrown my light plan to the curb. I have to say that it is one of the best steaks I have had in a long time, and that is a bold statement considering where we live, but true none the less.
We finished the meal with dessert, a house made tiramisu cheesecake, Aja’s favorite and now mine, but hands down the gold medal winner was the house made panna cotta. I will return again and again for this simple but elegant dessert, amazing!
Coffee and aperitifs, more conversation….. I could have stayed all night, and just about did. I have to say that if you enjoy world class food brought to your table with friendly sincere service, then don’t wait for the next hockey game or concert, visit this gem of restaurant and experience it for yourself.
Thank you to Aja and Jared for a relaxing and very special dining experience. Nothing makes a great meal better, than sharing it with great friends. Grazie tanto!