Sedona Fine Dining: Bella Vita Ristorante

Like a secret hideaway you stumble upon on your journey through the Tuscan countryside, Bella Vita Ristorante sits off the beaten path west of Sedona inside Sedona Pines Resort. Inside, the restaurant is divided into three dining experiences. Grab your date and get cozy in front of the fireplace or take a seat in a room boasting high-top tables and windows with charming wrought-iron details. Then there’s the lively bar, a perfect spot for antipasti and cocktails with friends. At Bella Vita, the tables are clad in linens and fresh flowers, and Executive Chef Andrea Di Luca’s menu focuses on homemade pasta, fresh seafood, meats and desserts made in house.

When you sit down, herb focaccia bread and olive oil is brought to your table. We know you’re not supposed to fill up on bread, but this one is exceptional. During our visit, the olive oil was mixed with just a touch of pesto sauce. Wanting to sample a bit of everything, we ordered the Rughetta salad. A nest of purple radicchio arrived filled with green arugula and aged pecorino and drizzled with lemon dressing. The flavors were bright and delicious. Next it was the Melanzane Rollate antipasti (Italian for appetizer). It featured sautéed eggplant rolled with ricotta, marinara and pesto. The flavor of the eggplant was present, and the sauce was light yet creamy, almost like a vodka sauce. Our choice of entrée was the Tutto Mare: sautéed prawns, deep-sea scallops, calamari, clams and mussels piled on top of freshly made pappardelle all in a tomato-herb broth. Chef Di Luca doesn’t skimp on the seafood, and our first bite reminded us of an ocean breeze.

The Torta di Cioccolato dessert was too tempting to pass up, so we shared a slice of the flourless, bittersweet chocolate cake, which is served with strawberries, mint leaves and a side of whipped cream. The cake was dense and decadent without being too rich. With Chef Di Luca’s esteemed credentials, Bella Vita isn’t much of a secret, but it’s certainly one of Red Rock Country’s more authentic dining experiences. – Erika Ayn Finch. Photo by Deb Weinkauff.

Bella Vita Ristorante, 6701 SR 89A at Sedona Pines Resort. Open daily, 4-9 p.m. (10 p.m., Friday and Saturday), for dinner. MC, Visa, AmEx, Disc, DC (928-282-4540) (Moderate to Very Expensive)

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