The Bull's Eye

Restaurant Review: Vita Italian Bar and Grill

Vita Italian Bar and Grill, a modern Italian fusion restaurant, featuring local ingredients in its sophisticated dishes, strives to bring affordability to fine dining. Although the restaurant opened in May, its high ratings across every review site encouraged my family and me to visit for lunch.

 

Upon walking into the Pomona restaurant, I was hit with the intense aroma of smoky barbecue that made my mouth water. The four of us were seated immediately at a wooden table by a window, which illuminated the restaurant with daylight.

 

The restaurant’s decorations, made up of large drawers, assorted potted plants and booth seats with pillows, created a modern atmosphere that made me feel at home.

 

Many of the items on the menu were Italian dishes we were unfamiliar with and our waiter was not of much help, as he did not know what most items were either. After much deliberation, we ordered the $13 Artisan Charcuterie, the $12 formaggio, and the $6 fresh burrata to start.

 

The dishes we ordered came quickly, and we started adding various meats, cheeses and dried fruits from the platters onto crispy olive toast.

 

The charcuterie was a platter of meats, dried berries and crackers to put them on. It had standard salami and herb-flavored meats with the cold, shredded duck meat with dried cranberries standing out due to their odd presentation in a jar. The sweet cranberries’ slight acidity hid any hint of gaminess in the juicy duck.

 

On the formaggio board, was a platter much like the charcuterie, but with cheeses instead of meats. There were wedges of blue cheese, parmesan and brie as well as golden raisins, dried cranberries, pecans and micro watercress. My favorite cheese was the brie, which I found best when paired with the cranberries and pecans on the olive toast.

 

The burrata arrived as a surprise to us, especially since the waiter had told us it was a type of bread. Upon arriving, the meal includes cheese that came in a jar, sitting in a thin red wine reduction and topped with olive oil. It looked similar to a ball of mozzarella sitting in jam and drizzled with olive oil. The sweetness of the red wine reduction paired well with the moist, stringy and salty burrata and it quickly became a favorite of everyone at the table.

 

We also ordered two entrees, the $11 “whole pig” meatballs and wild mushroom ravioli for $16.

 

The meatballs were served covered in cheese and a pleasant marinara. They were very flavorful, and I could even see the herbs in the meatball, unlike the homogeneous ones sold in stores. However, they proved to be too peppery given how well-spiced they were otherwise.

 

The ravioli came shortly after the meatballs. Topped with deep green watercress, bright red pickled onion, fresh chives, thinly-sliced parmesan and wild mushrooms, the plate was an organized array of colors. The ravioli’s meaty flavor absolutely harmonized with the creamy texture of the sauce and filling, and was definitely my favorite dish of the day.

 

We finished with a deconstructed tiramisu, locally made cheesecake and house-made ricotta cake, which were $9 each.

 

Despite being advertised as deconstructed, the tiramisu was not not plated differently than a typical cake style. Nonetheless, it was tasty, with evenly-soaked lady fingers and a light dusting of cocoa powder. The cheesecake tasted like standard-fare cheesecake, but the texture was fluffier than usually dense cake. The berry sauce and strawberries on the plate were pleasantly sweet and went well with the dish. Despite the success of the other two desserts, the ricotta cake was a bit of a letdown; the candied citrus slices on top added flavor, but did not make up for the dry, crumbly cake itself.

 

In the end, we paid around $20 per person. The wide selection of dishes did not, however, make up for the fact that neither we nor our server knew exactly what we were ordering. But the burrata and wild mushroom ravioli were well worth the price. If you plan to eat at Vita’s, I’d recommend researching the menu first.

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