“ Address: 161 Queen Street / Glasgow / G1 3BJ „
During a recent trip to Glasgow with my son and fiance, we were looking around for somewhere to have some lunch. With my son being incredibly fussy, we normally stick to the same cafes/restaurants. Dining at an Italian restaurant with my son is usually a no go but as we were passing by La Vita, a quick peek at the menu confirmed that they could offer my son something other than pasta or pizza. So, we entered!
~La Vita Pizzeria~
161 Queen Street
0141 248 3533
Opening hours :
Monday - Saturday : 7.30am-11pm
Sunday : 9am-11pm
La Vita is part of Glasgow chain of Italian restaurants. This particular restaurant is in a prime position in the City Centre. It is opposite George Square and only a few minutes walk from Queen Street Station and the main shopping areas of Glasgow. There is no on site parking but Glasgow has many car parks (you normally need to pay).
I wouldn't say that La Vita was particularly disabled friendly as it isn't the most spacious of restaurants. It is set across four floors. The basement occupies the kitchen and toilets whilst the ground floor is home to the bar and seating area. The first floor is another seating area which has a balcony arrangement and there is a second floor though I am unsure if this is a seating area. There are also toilets on the top floor. The decor within the restaurant is simple and modern with the main focus being food. It is clean throughout and they seem to have a good system whereby food is sent up from the basement in a little elevator. The restaurant has a pleasant, welcoming atmosphere.
~Food On Offer~
La Vita offers an a la carte menu, a day time menu, a breakfast menu and also a takeaway menu alongside a wine and cocktail list. The full menu can be found on the website www.lavitapizzeria.co.uk. The menu is clear to follow with the headings in Italian with an English description underneath.
Breakfast is served from opening until 11.30am and you have the option of a few dishes including a cooked breakfast, cheesy beano breakfast and a vegetarian breakfast (£3.99), Also available is an Italian panini (£1.75).
The a la carte menu includes a varied range of breads (from 95p) and starters such as hand tied mozzarella, soup and sharing platters (from £2.95). The main meals section offers a massive choice including pasta dishes (tagliatelle, chicken etc), risotto and pizza with various toppings (from £6.65). Meat options include steak (from £6.95), various chicken dishes and a few fish dishes including deep sea mussels and lemon sole (from £6.95). Sides are available. Vegetarians have a few menu options including bread with olives, bruschetta, penne arrabiata, macaroni, Italian pasta sliced roll, vegetarian pizza and risotto.
The childrens menu includes soup, pizza, a choice of pasta, chicken bites and fish bites (from £2.95). Desserts include tiramisu, ice cream, sundaes, cheesecake and more (priced from £2.95). La Vita also offers a range of wines and cocktails (around £5.95) as well as hot drinks and soft drinks.
We arrived at La Vita around 12.30pm on a Saturday afternoon. It was busy but not overly so. On our arrival, the manager held open the door for us and greeted us which I liked. There is definitely service with a smile at La Vita and it is a friendly restaurant with kind hearted staff. When one noticed that my son had spotted the balloons, he immediately came over to ask him which colour he would like. Nothing was a trouble for them. There was around 7 or 8 members of staff on the main dining floor. Whilst I am aware that this is to help take orders, hand out bills etc, I did feel that this was a little too many people standing around especially the managers who seemed to be doing their accounts at the entrance of the restaurant.
Our order was taken promptly and our drinks brought to our table quickly. Food was served at a very acceptable pace despite the restaurant being busy. The food was well presented and we were asked if we would like any additional items such as pepper or cheese. I appreciated the personal service and was pleased that they only asked the once if our meals were okay rather than constantly. We were very pleased with the service we received and would dine here again based on that alone.
We chose from the daytime menu which is a set menu available Monday - Friday (from 12pm-6pm) and Saturday (from 12pm-4pm). This menu has a fixed price of £6.95 for one main course, £8.95 for a starter and a main and £9.95 for three courses.
I found there to be a varied selection of dishes on this menu and there is likely to be something to suit all. There is a choice of 7 starters including salad, soup and a garlic pizza bread with dipping sauce. I opted for the deep fried mozzarella balls which were absolutely delicious. I received six little balls on a bed of fresh salad and a Napoli dip. I really enjoyed my starter as it was just the right portion size. The cheese was delicious coated in breadcrumbs and I found the Napoli dip to be flavoursome and rich in tomato flavour. My fiance opted for the deep fried mushrooms and aside from him having garlic mayo as a dip, the dishes were identical. He enjoyed his starter.
As far as main courses go, there is a good selection on the set menu - 15 to be exact. Tempting dishes include creamy mushrooms, haddock gourjons, macaroni, pizza and lasagne. Mussels are also available with no surchage. Vegetarians can choose from the rissoto, arrabiata, pizza and also macaroni. I was tempted by the macaroni as for some reason, it is very rare to find an Italian restaurant in Scotland that actually offers macaroni!
I was swayed by the Italian stew though and was promised pan fried beef, mixed peppers, chilli, tomato sauce and rice. Whilst my dish didn't look all that big when it was served, my meal was delicious and strangely filling! I've never had stew with rice before but I really enjoyed it. It could have been doing with a little more meat but there was plenty of sweet peppers and some tomatoes to bulk it out. The sauce was delicious - tomato based with a kick of warmth and the rice was beautifully arranged and tasty too. It was a hearty, warming dish.
My fiance opted for spaghetti bolonaise and received a large, deep bowl filled to the brim. I tried it and found it to be delicious. It tasted authentic and much better than I make at home (according to my fiance though I must say, I agree). The pasta was cooked to perfection and there a good balance between the meat, pasta and tomato sauce. My son won't eat pizza or pasta so opted for chicken bites and chips. La Vita promise that they cook their childrens meals from scratch and Boo received a large portion which included five, perfectly coated and tasty chicken strips and chips. The chips weren't great - Boo liked them but I found them to be lacking that 'crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside' sort of feel. All plates were cleared. We found the main courses to be filling, substantial and very tasty indeed. The food was cooked perfectly and was piping hot throughout.
My son didn't fancy a dessert but as it only worked out a pound extra for us to go from two courses to three courses, both myself and my fiance decided that a dessert would end our meal perfectly. There are on three choices on the set menu and whilst I had my eye on a delicious slice of cheesecake from the chiller, I wasn't prepared to pay £5.95 when I could have something less attractive for £1! The choices included tiramisu, Nonna's apple crumble and vanilla ice cream with dulce de leche sauce.
We both decided that the apple crumble would be the best dish as neither of us like tiramisu and ice cream is something we rarely have when eating out. When our desserts arrived, they looked too gorgeous to eat. We each received a little ramekin of golden topped, apple crumble, a ramekin of custard and it was finished off with a sprinkle of what I think was icing sugar. There was a little fruit type thing on top but I wasn't sure of what it was to sat it to the side.
For a small dessert, this was absolutely perfect! The apple crumble was very warm and tasted amazing. It had a lovely texture and there was a few, good sized apple slices hidden under the treasure topping. It was very sweet but I savoured every mouthful! The custard was lovely too but could have been a little hotter. I become filled up really quickly now but I made sure I ate every spoonful of the apple crumble as it would have been wasteful not to. In all honesty, I have declared it to be the best apple crumble that I am ever tasted and so beautifully presented too! It hit the spot nicely.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at La Vita. By the end, we were completely stuffed and needed a long walk to burn off some of it! Our bill came to £31.60 which included two x three course meals, a childrens meal and three drinks. We paid by cash and added a tip though they do accept card as payment and gift vouchers are available. I made a visit to the ladies downstairs and the toilet was clean but a little small. As we hadn't planned on going anywhere fancy for lunch, we weren't exactly dressed for a fancy restaurant. We didn't look out of place as La Vita is quite casual and welcomes everyone.
We will be returning to La Vita in the near future as the food was delicious and the set menu offers excellent value for money. Compared to other local Italian restaurants, the al a carte menu is cheaper too and as this is a perfectly suitable restaurant to take my son too, it will be on our list of places to dine when we want something a bit more upmarket than Wetherspoons! We were each given a lolly pop (yes, Mummy and Daddy too) with our bill which I thought was lovely. We were also thanked for our visit.
Thanks for reading ;)