By Eden Ramsay (@EdenRamsay)
Bella Vista Restaurant and Pizzeria overflows with hospitable warmth, great food, and an intimate music venue full of soul.
The popular mainstay in the Wolseley area, located at 53 Maryland Street, is known for its Italian comfort food as well as lively performances by many roots, folk, country, jazz, and blues acts. The blue painted lounge side of the place has instruments decorating its walls which nods its hat to the many great musical acts it hosts. Big Dave McLean is one locally famous musician set to play the Bella Vista at the end of the month.
The last time I visited was a couple of years ago when I saw local alternative roots act, Twilight Hotel, hit the stage. The song Viva la Vinyl is a personal favourite.
However, this time we came for the food, which is an equally sound reason to visit the place. The restaurant side of Bella Vista has hand-painted images of Italian landscape including an image of a stone walled restaurant in an Italian countryside named Bella Vista Ristorante.
I decided on the baked eggplant and my date on the cook’s special of the day, pasta al forno.
Both were reasonably priced and came with homemade bread rolls and butter. The bread had a delicious crispy crust that gave way to the soft, fluffy texture on the inside of the bun.
The salads that came with our entrees were equally as delicious. They looked simple enough, pieces of lettuce served with a single slice of tomato, but the sauce is what makes them special. I was told it is mainly a mix of canola oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper, but man, was it good.
My stuffed eggplant was a delicious and came out in a generous portion. Homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil covered the dish and definitely added to it. The thick stuffed eggplant itself was cooked nicely, soft, and delicately spiced.
The pasta al forno also came smothered in tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. They covered large, perfectly cooked penne noodles and tiny meatballs and sausage chunks. This also came in a sizable portion and my date definitely did not leave hungry.
Weather you are coming for the music or the food, the welcoming, family-run Bella Vista will make you feel right at home.
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Eden Ramsay is a Creative Communications student at Red River College. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the University of Manitoba and majored in graphic design. She loves culture, design in its many forms, and exploring the world around her.