Sunday, 11 April 2010

Vitalba Cafe in Sandy Bay

A, one of our family of Rita-readers, has sent in the following review of Vitalba in Mayfair, Sandy Bay. Coincidentally, I was checking out this restaurant just last week (on my way into Wings), wondering what it was like and thinking to myself that I hadn't ever heard anyone I know saying they'd been there. Thanks A, for sending in your feedback. If anyone else feels they would like to send in their reviews or experiences in local restaurants or cafes, please feel free.

Hi Rita,

My fiancee and I went for dinner at Vitalba Cafe/Restaurant in Sandy Bay (its in the Mayfair Plaza, entracnce is either from the carpark or a side street opposit coles). They serve traditional italian food, and even though this sounds boring, in my opinion there is still a place for traditional foods, especially italian!!

For the food, well we shared a margerita pizza, and appart from it being a little underdone it was quite nice. For main I had gnocchi bolognese. The gnocchi were homemade and quite good, the sauce was ok, but it had an over abundance of cloves. Bolognese sauce usually (and traditionally) does not have cloves, and for mine they would do well to remove them totally.

My fiancee had the meat lazagna, which had the same issue of cloves. They claim that all of their pastas are home made. Having said all of that, I could tell that the quality of the food was good, especilly at the price you were paying. The serves were very big, and with a glass of wine, a couple of mineral waters and two coffees, the bill of $64 in total is very reasonable.

I feel that of we had of tried one of the pasta dishes without the bolognese it would have been nice. What I could not understand is that we were the only two people in there, on a saturday night!! The service was friendly, however the chef and another staff member were wearing casual attire, shorts and t-shirts. The waitress was well presented. They were all friendly and appeared to be mother father and son. Perhaps a visit and a blog may encourage more people to go to this eatery.


Maggie said...

I'll certainly head down there to check it out.

Anonymous said...

On Masterchef last year, there was a Spag Bol with 17 ingredients which had to be identified.
Three of those ingredients were cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
I guess that means it's not that uncommon? I know I often put cinnamon in tomato-based dishes as it's quite a complimentary spice...


steve said...

My understanding is that the Greeks ruled parts of (southern) Italy & no doubt influenced the native cookery. The Greeks in turn were influenced by the Arabs. Everyone adding their own little bit of culture to the mix.
Recipes are always evolving & have a habit of reflecting the times & the geography in which they are practised.
Having said that, the reason why in this case that the bolognaise's ingredients are in question is precisely because for most people, bolognaise is one of those sauces that is almost static & dosn't change much at all & thats why its so recognisable everywhere to many people.

ut si said...

First thing I ever learned to cook...and one of my nicest memories is of watching #1 son's then girlfriend teach him how to cook it.
Glad you had a nice time away Rita.

sir grumpy said...

Probaby why its quiet is that the Mayfair interior may as well be Mars.
No one goes there, I think it's mainly all offices now.
They need to advertise.
Actually, the interior atudded with restaurants and cafes would be tremendous.
Then you'd have the outside lined with food places and the inside too.

Anon2 said...

Interesting comment on the marguerita pizza being slightly underdone. I remember this when I was in the Naples area where the pizza originated - thin pizza base crisp around the edges and slightly undercooked in the centre with simplest fresh topping-tomato, basil, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil - Yum!

Anonymous said...

We eat at Vitalba probably once a month. My favourite is the Bruschetta pizza and Carbonara pasta. We took friends there recently and they had the veal and said it was the best veal they have ever eaten. We don't understand why more people haven't heard of Vitalba, perhaps its the name. It is a family run business and the waitress/owner is named Rosa and we always say we are going to Rosa's place. We think they should change the name. We hope business picks up for them because we think it is the best Italian food in Hobart and the prices are very reasonable.

John said...

So I went to Vitalba with 3 others and got 1 large pizza, a medium size pizza, a coke, and a hot chocolate, and it was $53.
Hmm... considering the large pizza was meant to be $17 but for some reason became $23 when I asked for no mushroom, but pineapple instead, I started to question the bill.
We found a $6 charge for plates.

Yes, that's right, because we shared 2 pizza's between 4 people, we had to pay $6 for plates.

So paying over 50 bucks for 2 pizzas and 2 drinks in Sandy Bay for pizza that's good, not amazing, is a rip off, to say the least. The service is fine, however, not amazing. The place is near-empty most nights of the week, and I can understand why after dining there. With places like Da Angelo's, Dom Camillo, and Maldini's so close by, this place will have to step up to the extreme if it's going to turn customers.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could say I had the same experience.
My personal experience was as follows:
I bought two pizzas to takeaway - a 'gourmet' marinara and an ordinary mafiosa.
I got home and opened them to see that the marinara was burnt black on top. I tried and all I could taste was charcoal.
I called them to tell them that the pizza was burnt -I used to work in hospitality, so expected a basic level of professionalism.
I was told over the phone that I couldn't possibly be right and that they never make mistakes, so I took the pizza back to show them (and to ask for a refund cos they sure aren't cheap!).
Once there I got shouted at, and again told that they never make mistakes. I suggested that the cook try the pizza to see what I was talking about, he said wasn't from some third world country or a dirty Australian.
I asked for my money back, and got shouted at some more. When I left I got followed down the street, being abused and threatened with violence (the cook is no waif and is pretty intimidating).
Needless to say I'll never go back there, but I think other potential customers should be warned a) not to order to the marinara and b) not to complain, no matter how bad the food - it just isn't worth it.

Anonymous said...

I was underwhelemed with Vitabla. Have tried it twice in the hope that my first experience was a fluke. However, it disappointed both times. Pasta is supposed to be home made - but I'm skeptical. Ravioli was watery (I think it had been frozen and reheated). They 'ran out' of pizza bases when we were there, so they obviously aren't made on site. Atmosphere is terrible inside the restaurant, needs some soft furnishings. I agree with the post above - as long as there are so many other fantastic places serving great Italian you can easily avoid this disappointment.