Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Aptly Named La Vita é Bella

Venture Communications
La Vita é Bella in Calgary is located in the Warehouse District, next to the Stampede Casino. It's also just a stones throw from the Calgary headquarters of Venture Communications, the brainchild of Arlene Dickinson, a name you should recognize from CBC Television's Dragon's Den. This was also where we were meeting @bluebirdsy, my lovely #yyc girlfriend, one of many girlfirends I have around the world.

Bruschetta with Sheep Ricotta and Maple Balsamic Reduction
It's proximity to her workplace and delicious vegetarian options made it the ideal location to meet up for a Friday lunch. Although small inside, the restaurant itself is cozy and homey, adorned in dark wood flooring, furnishings, and contrasted by brick walls. We opt to all go vegetarian for this meal and order their bruschetta sans pancetta to share. My lovely girlfriend @bluebirdsy chooses the Verde pasta, while I just can't resist trying their risotto.

Butternut Squash Risotto
The bruschetta arrives swiftly and it is hooves down one of the most different but tasty bruschettas I've had at a restaurant yet. Unlike many places who present the bruschetta already constructed, at La Vita é Bella, they allow you to choose how much or how little topping you want. The roma tomatoes were fresh, plump and juicy, while the light drizzle of olive oil and maple balsamic vinegar reduction adds a nice hint of sweetness. They even win the heart of my male human who often finds bruschetta at restaurants too garlicky, but here they use just enough to give you a taste without overwhelming the other flavors. They also impress us as they do not overwhelm the bruschetta with too much olive oil, a folly committed by many others. The only thing we wished for as we ate up every morsel, was that there was just a bit more moolicious sheep ricotta and maple balsamic vinegar reduction.

Next the verde arrives, which is red spaghetti with zucchni, capers, spinach, chives, spanish onion, garlic, and grape tomatoes. The whole thing is drizzled lightly with olive oil, and finished with grana padano and fresh basil. Although lightly dressed, the combination of all the ingredients is flavorful, with the saltiness of the capers, crunchy onions, and a dash of garlic creating a moovealous symphony of flavors, a filling but not heavy dish.

Lastly the risotto was amazingly creamy, yet light tasting with the butternut squash. The onions and pine nuts add a crunchy contrast to the smooth concoction and I wish I wasn't so full from the previous night's meal so that I could finish it.

If you're looking for great Italian food that is light yet flavorful, La Vita é Bella has it all. 

La Vita é Bella
401 12 Ave SE
Calgary, AB  T2G 1A4

La Vita E Bella on Urbanspoon

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