La Vita restaurant has had a reputation as being one of the most upmarket and expensive eateries in Pietermaritzburg for a while now. Situated in the popular and well-known Invesco Centre just a few kilometres from the CBD, La Vita specialises in Italian cuisine and has an extensive selection of pizza, pasta, seafood and meat dishes to cater for almost any palate. Curious sounding offerings such as Drunk Duck and Raunchy Rabbit are guaranteed to arouse interest and even Guineafowl is available for those wanting to try something new.
Italian cuisine has a rich heritage, having traceable roots as far back as the fourth century BC. La Vita strives to maintain this heritage by using only imported ingredients, giving the food an authentic and unmistakable Italian flavour. My mom and I experienced this authenticity first hand when we had supper at La Vita recently, an experience we’ll certainly remember for some time.
With so many options and combinations to choose from we were somewhat befuddled but with a little help from our waiter, Musa, we were able to place our orders. I selected the Polla Limone (a whole free range spring chicken, prepared in a wood-fired pizza oven and sprinkled with fresh garlic, fresh lemon and a medley of fresh herbs), which came with the option of vegetables, rice, chips or baked potato.
It was rather good and after applying a liberal amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice, the taste and flavour of the dish improved even more. I selected the option of vegetables (I am trying to eat as healthily as possible these days) to accompany the meal which, to be honest, could have been better prepared. Nevertheless the Polla Limone still represented value for money at R89 because it was well-cooked, well-presented and came in a rather sizable portion.
For starters my mom had the Roly Poly Pork (succulent pieces of pork glazed in honey and lemon) which she described as “succulent and tasty.” Not wanting to just take her word for it, I requested a “little taste” and boy was I glad I did so. The Roly Poly Pork was delicious, almost heavenly in fact and well worth R45.
At this point I was beginning to realise that talk of La Vita being “expensive and over-priced” were unfounded. It most certainly is not cheap, but by the same token cannot be described as expensive considering what I have encountered at similar establishments in Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands.
For her main course my mom ordered the Baked Polo (strips of Ostrich swathed in a delicious sauce and resting on a scrumptious potato bake), which she described as an “excellent” dish. Curious, I once again requested a “little taste” and was most impressed. I had never eaten Ostrich before and was quite surprised to find the meat tender and flavoursome. Truth be told I actually preferred the Baked Polo to the Polla Limone, it was that good.
With no room for dessert we requested the bill and began to reflect on the evening’s events. My mom was thoroughly impressed with her experience at La Vita. She loved the food and the vibrant atmosphere and would definitely recommend the restaurant to her family and friends, some of whom have a distinct love of Italian Cuisine.
I, too, was pretty impressed with this restaurant. The food was brilliant in every aspect, the atmosphere very uplifting and the service prompt and professional. With a packed restaurant and dozens of patrons to attend to Musa did not make a single mistake while serving us and his product knowledge was truly impressive.
Owner Shaun Beatt certainly has a winning combination in the form of La Vita and his adjacent Bangkok Wok franchise, which specializes in traditional Thai cuisine. Besides offering fantastic food and superb service, La Vita also boasts an extensive wine list, which features over 90 great tasting wines. Restaurant manager Tim Lander is always on hand to assist patrons in pairing their favourite dish with a wine to match and there’s even a range of certified organic wines available for those who would prefer this option.
La Vita is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 11h30 to 15h00 and again from 17h00 to 22h00. On Sundays the restaurant will be open from 11h30 to 15h00 and again from 17h00to 20h30. So for truly fine Italian dining at surprisingly affordable prices look no further than La Vita, arguably the best Italian restaurant in Pietermaritzburg.
Telephone: +27 (0)33 342-0024
Physical address: Shop 10, Invesco Centre, Corner Sanctuary and Armitage Road, Pietermaritzburg
For a detailed review of the Bangkok Wok restaurant at the Invesco Centre, please refer to an earlier posting entitled ‘The Bangkok Wok – Add some spice to your life’