Bella Vista Review
Remember when Gordon Ramsey toured the UK to find the best local restaurant – taking in regional cuisines like Italian, Chinese and Indian – for the F Word last year? I highly doubt he personally visited each and every single one of the 10,000 restaurants nominated by the public. Although to be one of the lowly researchers eating your way round Britain while the Botoxed swearing machine looks after his empire would have actually been a pretty sweet job. Pay me in food, not money, Gord!
Anyway, do you also remember Prosecco from Bristol that spent a day in the F Word kitchen battling it out to be crowned the best Italian restaurant in the country? As a true gastronaught with a boyfriend living in Bristol I demanded a table there upon my next visit and was rewarded with rustic dishes with an innovative twist. A terrific Italian restaurant.
Fast-forward to 2010 and back in London I recently visited a restaurant that very pleasantly smacked of Prosecco’s style and success.
Enter Bella Vista, a charming restaurant in Blackheath village (I didn’t know where it was either – it’s just past Lewisham in south-east London, for all you fellow ignorant ‘norf of the river’ diners).
Even though it lacks a post-watershed ‘this is what cooking is f***ing all about’ endorsement on Channel 4, it gets my vote as one of the best Italian restaurants in London. Its immense popularity and dreamy dishes concocted by chefs that have previously worked at Michelin-starred restaurants make this a vibrant restaurant, which in turn more than justifies the long trip from Dalston to Blackheath.
Said boyfriend was lured away from Bristol to sample Bella Vista’s treats and together we chomped our way through most of the menu. The salads were gorgeous (the colourful Insalata Primavera with perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg was a high point), the pastas fresh and inventive (whoever heard of marrying goose, walnut, grape and ravioli? But somehow it worked), while the meat and fish were well seasoned and moist.
One of our sides, the polenta chips, was slightly disappointing and tasted like a bland rice cracker, but the others (yes, we ordered them all) were delicious and I was upset that I couldn’t finish all our savoury dishes as dessert beckoned. The pannacotta with strawberry and basil was a triumph and better than the tiramisu which needed a splash more booze.
So what of the staff and the surroundings? The waiters were attentive and efficient and on hand to translate bits of the menu as well as recommend dishes (the pannacotta was a recommendation and our waiter wasn’t lying when he said it was one of the best puds in town). The restaurant is homely with a stone floor and cream and brown finishings. It’s a long, narrow venue, so it’s best to request a table at the front by the window when booking.
I think the music piped out included songs like Me and Mrs Jones and Barry White anthems, but really all I was thinking about was what to eat next and cooing over the rich flavours and pretty presentation.
If you come here for dinner, don’t eat lunch that day. And clear your diary the next day so you can just laze about purring ‘I’m so full’ until about 4pm when you’ll feel vaguely hungry again. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t some kind of greasy American diner where your starter is the size of a main course. But everything on the menu sounds so good and tastes so damn good that it would just be rude, and not really in keeping with the Italian culture of feasting, not to order three courses. With sides. And dessert wine. And an espresso, of course.
Customer Reviews for Bella Vista
Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Bella Vista.
“I went to Bella Vista upon a recommendation and was pleasantly surprised about the quality of the food and service. The staff were attentive and helpful - their suggested signature crab pasta starter was delicious. One small downside was that the dessert, although good, was not to the same excellent standard as the starter and main. Overall this is definitely a place I intend to come back to.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Law, Derby (8 years 4 months 15 days ago)
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The essence of Italian cooking today is simplicity, offering artfully produced food without any pretensions, food that is full of rich flavours and delightful touches. Bella Vista’s menu offers an abundance of dishes, many using seasonal produce that will delight you with their evocation of all the warmth and conviviality of La Bella Italia. The simple pleasure of eating good food in good company never diminishes.
No Italian meal would be complete without a good local wine to excite the palate and enhance the flavour of the food. Bella Vista’s carefully chosen wine list features some fine Italian labels as well as some excellent new world wines and established favourites. We of course also offer a wide range of beers and spirits to suit everyones tastes.
Bella Vista Opening Hours
|Monday:||12:00pm - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 11:00pm
|Friday:||12:00pm - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 11:00pm
|Tuesday:||12:00pm - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 11:00pm
|Saturday:||12:00pm - 3:30pm
5:30pm - 11:00pm
|Wednesday:||12:00pm - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 11:00pm
|Sunday:||12:30pm - 9:30pm|
|Thursday:||12:00pm - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 11:00pm
- Cuisine Type: Italian
- Dress Code: Not Specified
- Group: (Independent/Freehouse)
Bella Vista Hire Details
Bella Vista's function room is available for wedding receptions, private parties and other special occasions and gatherings.
There are special party menus available from just £23.50 per person.
Type: Private Room
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
Notes: The elegantly restyled function room situated on the first floor makes it the ideal venue for private parties and gatherings. The room has it's own bar and can accommodate up to 35 people.
Bella Vista has yet to supply us with with a public email address. You can telephone them on 020 8318 1143 (please mention Fluid London when calling).
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