I moved to Wichita after culinary school in the early '90s. The restaurant landscape at the time was just beginning to change and grow.
You could always get a good steak, but finer dining options were fairly limited.
I had become very spoiled in San Francisco, a city with every cuisine on the planet available everywhere. One of the things I missed most in Wichita was regional Italian food. Restaurants devoted to regional specialties just did not exist here yet. I’m glad to see that over the course of the last two decades, that has begun to change.
Currently, I adore Bella Vita Bistro, a lovely restaurant with a diverse Northern Italian menu. Chef Adrian DeLodder makes delicious food. I have eaten my way through much of the menu, and I have never had anything I didn’t enjoy.
His seafood dishes are outstanding, very fresh and perfectly cooked. The fried calamari is tender and lightly breaded, served with their light and herby house marinara. The seafood crepes are stuffed with tender shrimp, crab meat and scallops in a light creamy sauce that accentuates the natural sweetness of the filling without drowning it.
The entrees at Bella Vita are interesting and varied. I love their lasagna, made with thin pasta sheets, prosciutto, porcini mushrooms and mascarpone. It is lovely, rich without being heavy. Their meat and chicken dishes are well executed and every plate is beautiful.
Chef Adrian makes great specials, too. I recently had a sweet pea and prosciutto risotto topped with salmon roe that was one of the best things I have ever eaten.
Everything is made by hand, and the service is excellent. It is clear that everyone on the team is invested in making your experience a happy one. I can’t wait to go back!