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Bella Vita

Sorry, Jake and Jason de Paul. I couldn’t wait any longer for your review of Bella Vita, the new Italian joint on Sixth Avenue. Snoozers.

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The owners of the defunct Blue Olive are behind Bella Vita. They were stylish down on Dock Street and haven’t lost a step here. Smooth sounds of old-timey jazz crooners greet you as walk in the door. To the right, a wooden dance floor (covered with tables on a Sunday evening) and flat screen TVs dancing with images of swimming tropical fish for a faux fish tank effect.

Lighting was a bit too bright in places while perfectly dimmed in others. Black leather couches line a spacious alcove to the main dining area’s left. Hanging sheer curtains in soft shades of blue provide subtle separation for the more relaxed lounging area. Straight ahead, the dark wood bar and 25 house martinis await (Urban Bourbon, Hendricks Rare Gin with cucumber, White Cosmo Martini).

For such a visually beautiful place and wannabe high-class vibe, I think thier attempt at stylish food fell flat. The Chicken Marsala entrée ($20) was served atop a mound of “from scratch” garlic mashed potatoes with one piece of zucchini, one of yellow squash and a chunk of broccoli. I didn’t enjoy it. A staple in Italian restaurants, Chicken Marsala is typically accompanied by pasta. Executive Chef Roman Aguillon might be trying too hard in creatively paring items together, and that can backfire.

The Cappuccino Crème Brulee ($5) was also disappointing. This dessert’s top should have a crisp caramelized sugar layer, but it was spongy and kitchen staff’s second attempt could not produce a winning dessert.

A dish that was a definite hit, Cheese Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce ($16), was exactly what was expected. Large raviolis swam in an herbed cream sauce rich with baby button mushrooms, large chunks of cremini, and smoky roasted garlic pieces with rosemary walnut oil accent.

The service was slow, too. Maybe the de Paul’s are waiting for them to iron out the wrinkles.

[Bella Vita Italian Restaurant and Ultra Lounge, 6108 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.565.1070]

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