Being the son of Italian immigrants I can freely admit I am totally addicted to Italian food. Barely a week will go by without pizza and if I don't eat pasta at least twice a week I start to get agitated! But there are two good reason for this addiction, 1) Italian food boasts great flavours and versatility, and 2) the calibre of Italian restaurants in Bristol is startlingly high.
|Bella Vista's lunchtime offer is worth the money|
Bella Vista is the newest restaurant spot to open on Victoria Street, which is incidentally the area where I work. Sat on a corner of Bristol Bridge, with a "bella vista" over the river and Castle Park, this restaurant was ideally located for a spot of lunch and I couldn't wait to try it.
A colleague of mine was having a leaving lunch so I made sure I was in charge of booking the venue, and surprise surprise come 1pm on Thursday six of us were sat around a table in the middle of the restaurant. The place was humming with the murmurs of the other diners and was refreshingly light and airy with windows stretching the length of the riverside wall.
The menu boasted lots of traditional Italian fare including pizzas, pastas and salads. The lunch time menu was a reasonable £7.95 and included a trip to the salad bar and a main as listed. The salad bar was surprisingly good, none of the cheap nasty "salads" one has come to expect from salad bars. I filled my plate with shredded creamy mozzarella, soft and warm bread sticks, freshly baked garlic pizza bread, deliciously tangy coleslaw, garlic mushrooms and a few slices of tomato and cucumber.
For main I opted for Lasagne, a top tip from me is don't order pasta in a restaurant you don't know well enough to trust, it is usually overcooked and soggy ( a HUGE gripe of mine) but as it was lunchtime I didn't feel I could conquer a pizza! I was pleasantly surprised when this turned up at my table:
The ragu sauce was vivid red and looked amazing against the melted cheese that was dripping teasingly from the sides of the pasta sheets. Thankfully I was proven wrong and the pasta wasn't over cooked or soggy, each forkful retained its form and you could really taste the texture of the pasta against the sauce and cheese.
There were two points worth raising, firstly, it was slightly cool in the middle. I appreciate that you don't just zap a slice of lasagne in the microwave but have to heat it in an oven, perhaps it came out 5 minutes too soon.
Secondly, the cheese. So much cheese that I struggled with it towards the end, next time it would be nice to see a slightly more balanced plate. Nevertheless I thoroughly I enjoyed it.