Authentic Italian food is hard to find thesedays. The likes of Strada and Prezzo are busy annihilating the cuisine of an entire country with gusto. It doesn’t bear thinking about. There are a handful of proper family run Italian restaurants which are worth a visit, though. Even for the gluten-haters. Chelmsford’s Vita Bella is one of them.
Service is beyond efficient. It’s like being waited on hand and foot. The sort of service Italian restaurants are famed for, if they’re not chain horror stories that is. Ask the staff about intolerances, allergies or anything you’re not sure about. They’re a helpful bunch. The kitchens are fully capable of catering for gluten free diets, and happy to adapt any dishes. They’ve got gluten free pasta too.
I didn’t fancy anything from the starter menu when I visited, which the owner seemed particularly troubled by and set about creating a special dish for me – mushrooms with the fiercest garlic sauce, ever. It was delicious, and I spent the rest of the day slaying vampires with a mere glance in their direction.
For mains we all went with pasta dishes, and I tested out their gluten free spaghetti. It wasn’t stuck together in a big lump, it wasn’t underdone, or squidgy, or mushy, or anything! It was just about perfect. In fact I was a bit worried I might’ve got ordinary pasta by accident. It was that good. I had a creamy mushroom and tomato sauce with bacon and chicken. I’m still dreaming about it.
The restaurant has only been open a year and they’ve done no advertising. It’s all about the word of mouth the owner told us. So here I am, doing my bit to spread the word. Vita Bella is brilliant. And you’ve got to go.
The Verdict: Fantastic food, friendly service and great gluten free knowledge.
Gluten Free: Yep, they’ll make special starters if you don’t fancy anything from the menu, and there’s gluten free pasta.