Thursday, August 5, 2010

Devour Downtown 2010: Bella Vita Restaurant

I love the summer Devour Downtown event in Indianapolis. It gives me an opportunity to try restaurants I normally wouldn't for much less money than during the rest of the year. During this event, downtown restaurants offer special menus and pricing (such as 2-for-$30 and a 3-course-meal for $30 per person) so that patrons can try their restaurants. I've participated for at least the past three years. Check out the restaurants and menus being offered this year at the official website: Devour Downtown.

On the first day of the event this year, my husband and I went to Bella Vita. He had researched the menus and chose a location which had a variety of vegetarian options but was also a place we haven't been to yet. He chose Bella Vita which is located at Circle Center Mall in downtown Indianpolis. Here's the link to Bella Vita at Circle Center.


Decor:

I found the decor and interior of Bella Vita to be very nice, plenty of tables and booth space, a large, clean open-fire oven and prep area, bubbling but unobtrusive water features, and soft lighting made for a lovely ambiance.


Service:

Unfortunately, on the Monday night that we attended, there were not many patrons, but it led to us getting plenty of attention. When we entered the restaurant, the hostess was very pleasant and seemed genuinely excited to see us. In years past, I have had the experience of not being treated that well when the staff finds we are at a restaurant for the Devour Downtown promotions. Thankfully, this was not the case at Bella Vita. The table service was great and we really felt taken care of.

Food:

Bella Vita, if you haven't guessed by now, is a finer Italian restaurant. The Devour Downtown menu provides three courses from a pre-set menu which can be seen here: an appetizer to share, an entree for each person, and a shared gelato dessert (it was either caramel or chocolate on the day we went).

Surprisingly, our meals also came with bread and flavored olive-oil and salads.

The appetizer we chose was the Bruschetta alla Bella:

There were originally five of those, but they so delicious I didn't think of taking a picture until there was only one left. The tomatoes were fresh, there was an ample amount of garlic and seasoning, and the bread was perfectly toasted. Sill soft, but crispy on the edges. DELISH.

For my entree, I ordered the Penne Meditteranean which featured penne with kalamata olives, pine nuts, tomatoes, feta, and spinach:

It was tasty and fresh, but a little tangy for me. I admit, I am not the biggest fan of feta so that's more an issue with me, not the dish. It was well-prepared and the pasta was perfectly al dente.

My husband ordered the Eggplant Parmigiana:

I am not going to lie: I ate half of my husband's dinner. I loved this dish. The sauce was lovely, the eggplant well-made, not overly fried or greasy, and as you can see, there's enough cheese for a batallion of mice. My cousin has a rule about cheese: "If you don't put enough cheese, no one will like you." Bella Vita did not break that rule!

The eggplant parm also came with a side, and while I can't remember all of them, we ordered the garlic mashed potatoes that were sublime. I am sorry I didn't have more. I could only manage a couple bites 'cause I was too busy demolishing my husband's dinner.

The gelato we had for dessert (caramel) was good, not great, but not bad. My husband ate most of it so he may have a different opinion!

Pricing:

The pricing for our meal for 2 for $30, but my husband got wine, I got a diet soda, and with tip, we ended up paying about $56.  I enjoyed everything and Bella Vita seemed a little nicer than the norm, so I thought it was fair.

Verdict:

A win. I was pleased and will definitely keep them in mind for future downtown dinners. I would give them a 4 out of 5.

Bella Vita Ristorante at Circle Centre on Urbanspoon

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