Review: La Vita, George Square
La Vita is an inviting little Italian restaurant in the heart of the city centre. I say little, but inside it is a veritable tardis spread over three floors with loads of nooks and crannies adding to its appeal.
The staff were attentive and friendly from the outset and when seated at our table on the 1st floor we were very comfortable, not too close to neighbouring tables. My dining companion had a view of George Square, whereas I wasn’t to be so lucky with my view of Greggs. I was there to eat though, so the view was immaterial! Booking in advance is advisable, as it was very busy when we attended on Saturday afternoon, but other diners arriving on spec generally seemed to be accommodated.
We were a bit spoiled for choice by the array of menus on the table on arrival. We had booked through a popular dining website which we often use and which usually offers competitive deals. We paid £13.95 each which was for three courses including a glass of Prosecco or ‘Italian sangria’. This certainly seemed reasonable enough, but the same daytime offer in the restaurant costs £9.95 without the drink, which means we paid £4.00 for a pretty measly glass of cheap fizz. You could also decide with the daytime menu how many courses you wanted rather than have all three, so best to book with the restaurant direct in this case.
The set menu offered a great choice of starters and mains, both for me and my veggie companion, who decided on the minestrone soup for starter. I was tempted by this myself but, wanting to sample as much as possible, I opted for the deep fried mozzarella which was accompanied with a spicy Napoli dip. Both dishes arrived in nice time and the soup, which came with a hunk of rustic bread and butter looked fantastic, and tasted just as good. Feeling a pang of regret I tucked into my mozzarella which, fortunately, was very tasty too. Nicely presented, with the rich, spicy Napoli sauce, it had a great balance of flavours.
My main was the Italian Stew. Tender and succulent pieces of beef in a delicious tomato based sauce (I am partial to a tomato!) served with rice. The slow-cooked beef melted in the mouth and I enjoyed every mouthful, but portion-wise I could have managed a little more. My companion’s main course choice was Fusilli Funghi; pasta served with sautéed mushrooms, cream and Napoli sauce. This was portioned a lot more generously and was a delicious, if a tad generic, vegetarian option.
Naturally, we had to order a little something to wash all this food down, and opted for a bottle of the restaurant’s house red; a Syrah Shiraz from Sicily. Light and fruity, this was a great choice to go with our food. At £16.45 it was a tad expensive for a house wine, but at least it had a bit of quality. Also available was a good variety of wines and beers, an interesting range of Italian cocktails and the usual array of soft drinks. We were also served glasses of iced water.
We never usually manage three courses but went the whole hog on this occasion with Nonna’s Apple Crumble, and Gelato Caramello. Very nicely presented, the crumble was served in a ramekin packed with large chunks of juicy apple with a nice portion of home-made custard on the side. The crumble was a tad stodgy but tasted great, so I gobbled the lot regardless. The Gelato Caramello, which consisted of a rich vanilla ice cream in a Dulce de Leche sauce (rich and decadent, similar to caramel) was delicious, and a much better choice after two other courses.
We had a great afternoon in La Vita and will definitely return. This is a very inviting restaurant with a lovely atmosphere, excellent drink, decent food and reasonable prices. By no means the best Italian food you’ll eat in Glasgow, but certainly one of the better choices in the city centre and, if you get the right table, you could quite happily while away hours with a bottle of wine and a great view.