If you are looking for authentic, homemade Italian meals cooked fresh, look no further than La Vita Bella Italian Ristorante. It’s like taking a trip to Italy without leaving the Coast.
The restaurant, which opened in July, is owned by Joe and Jessica Sadiku, who met at a local coffee shop she worked at a few years ago. Married last summer with dreams of owning their own eatery, they searched the Coast for the perfect spot for their business. They celebrated their one-year anniversary by opening La Vita Bella, Italian for “the beautiful life,” in Long Beach.
Chef Sadiku moved to the U.S. from Venice, Italy, in 2017, having acquired his culinary skills from many years of working in his family’s restaurants. When he and Jessica realized they would need help making their dream a reality, they asked Jason Syverson, La Vita Bella’s service manager who worked with Jessica at the coffee shop and officiated their wedding, along with his partner, John McDonnell, director of operations, to lend a hand. After the four of them sat down one evening over wine to discuss the restaurant’s future, they pooled their ideas and made their dream a reality.
“We believe that when you are here, you are really family,” Jessica says. “We love interacting with our guests. They tell us about their lives and give us their feedback on how to make our business prosper. We give back to our community and put our guests first and foremost.”
La Vita Bella specializes in offering authentic food crafted with the freshest and finest ingredients. The pasta is made each morning; all sauces are made to order, and fresh bread is baked daily and served with most entrees.
On my visit, my very friendly server, Kimberly Yocom-Bounds, first brought out shrimp Napoleon, which was comprised of jumbo shrimp sautéed in herbs, olive oil and basil with a hint of lemon butter sauce. It was a great, light dish to start off my meal.
Up next was a traditional Italian appetizer called insalata caprese, which consisted of sliced, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella seasoned with salt, pepper, and capers, then drizzled with olive oil and a balsamic glaze. The presentation looked like a piece of abstract art, and the flavor complemented what was to come rather nicely.
Eager to try the fresh pasta, I had one of the house specialties — chicken broccoli. The generous portion of grilled chicken and sautéed broccoli was served in a creamy garlic white sauce over house-made cheese tortellini.
My favorite dish of the evening was the lobster ravioli. Large ravioli stuffed with lobster was sautéed with plum tomatoes, topped with shrimp and served in a delicious, creamy garlic sauce with a touch of marinara. When I return, I definitely will order it again.
The meal ended with two terrific desserts: a traditional cannoli with a crunchy shell that was stuffed with cream and chocolate chips, then drizzled with chocolate sauce, and a slice of lemon cake made with cooked-down limoncello liquor and a cream cheese icing with a lemon-infused white chocolate.
La Vita Bella Italian Ristorante is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sunday for brunch. Lunch specials are available Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and be sure to check the chalkboard when you enter for the daily specials. You also can have meals delivered via Waitr, Ubereats, Doordash, and Bitesquad.
LA VITA BELLA ITALIAN RISTORANTE
229 Klondyke Road, Long Beach