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“Even better second time round”

Che Vita Ristorante
Ranked #177 of 324 Restaurants in Durham
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed August 10, 2011

Don't be put off by the fact that this is attached to a Travelodge! We went to 'Little Italy' for the first time in October 2010, and after a year in Durham we made it our last night out, and we weren't disappointed. The food is good (with peaks of excellence), the staff are friendly, and the atmosphere is welcoming, unpretentious and comfortable (there are also lots of booths, which are a very nice touch). I'm Italian, very picky about food quality, and normally cringe when anyone suggests 'Italian' restaurants, but this place serves up the sort of good food you'd expect in a standard Italian household -- which is a million miles better than the vast, *vast* majority of 'Italian' restaurants in this country. The chef must also have changed since October because the food was even better the second time (e.g. excellent meatballs, and they serve a really good Caprese salad, with a perfect vinaigrette, another rarity in British restaurants, where salads come either drowning in some kind of Newman's Own-style cream or with nothing at all, as though you're supposed to graze on it!). If you then factor in the price, which is very reasonable, well, we think there just isn't a place in Durham to beat it. If you're after a 'chic' restaurant with better cutlery and design than food, then go somewhere else, but if you want good food, a relaxed atmosphere and good value, this is the place for you.

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Thank KlimtEastwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4 - 8 of 22 reviews

Reviewed October 3, 2010

This restaurant may not blow you away for the Italian haute cuisine, but that's not what it's all about: it's a surprisingly decent, warm, welcoming restaurant with no special pretensions inside a Travelodge. The lunchtime opening hours can be a bit erratic, but in the evening staff were always very welcoming and accommodating: one evening they had no chilli oil so the cook made some specially for us, and the servings of Parmesan (actually, Grana) were always generous (one member of staff even left us with a rather big bowl!). A word about the decor: beautifully and dare I say 'tastefully' tacky, they've managed to make what is essentially a warehouse-style space feel pleasant - certainly a lot nicer than the surrounding Travelodge! All in all, while you probably wouldn't want to go on a date here, if you're staying at the Travelodge and don't fancy walking into town, this is a good enough choice.

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1  Thank KlimtEastwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2010

I have visited this restaurant many times and I have to say even though it has changed ownership it still maintains it's excellent name as a Italian restaurant.
I have worked in this type of industry for many years and I have to say the service from the staff and management was exceptional, always being enthusiastic and professional.
What can I say, food...brilliant.
I recently found out that Che Vita is on this web site and notice alot of negitive comments. I find this hard to believe as everytime I visit I'm given excellent service and there's no error for the food. I have recommended this restaurant to many friends and family and they have also enjoyed there time at Che Vitas.

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Thank Dazbo2334
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2010

We have dined as group on several occasions at Che Vita specifically due to the location of the Travelodge. We have always found the food & service to be excellent and were extremely concerned on reading recent reviews as to what to expect. Well we bit the bullet and decided to go ahead with our reservation for 10 people and we were not disappointed.

The staff were extremely friendly and welcoming, we certainly didn't have any problems with getting drinks served.

There was a large party in when we arrived and at first was concerned as to the service we would receive. The waitress kept us up to speed with our meal informing us there would be a slight delay while they served them and indeed this was the case, but only a slight delay and as they say forewarned is forearmed. We were not in a hurry and had a few drinks while we waited.

The food when it arrived was enjoyed by all and could not fault it.

The only downside was the price of the house wine at £14.95 was a bit steep and we have had a lot better at a lower price. However, this is the only downside and would definitely go back when we visit Durham again.

Thank tigers50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2010

Unfortunately, I didn't know that TripAdvisor did restaurant reviews before we returned to Che Vitas. We had been there before for many meals and had good meals.

It's all change at Che Vitas. Although we didn't know this at the time our meals arrived, there is a new owner and 2 of the existing chefs had gone (according to the staff). This explains a lot.......

Let me give credit where it's due. The service staff were helpful and attentive....The ambience is pleasant.

And now the negatives, which far outweigh the positives.....

There were 4 of us in our group.......We were enjoying a catchup meal, so it wasn't a special occasion.

2 of us had their Garlic and Sea Salt pizza bread starter......It was like cardboard. It tasted like the dough was stale, or it had been overcooked. It was a bit like eating rice bread. One of us opted to not have a starter (the best move in hindsight). The remaining person had "King" prawns, which weren't very "King", but they tasted ok.

For the main course, 2 of us had Calzone (1 bolognese, 1 kiev). Both suffered the same fate as the starter, the dough wasn't cooked correctly. It was overcooked on the outside and light uncooked dough on the inside. My kiev filling was bland and the chicken felt like it was a few days old. The bolognese calzone had the bolognese drizzled over the top.

The person who had the lasagne fared better and enjoyed it. My wife who had the pizza option suffered the same brittle overcooked (or stale dough) experience as we did for our starter.

At this point, we enquired as to "has the ownership changed or something ?". Our suspicions were confirmed, it had apparently, and 2 of the chefs had recently left. Well, that explained a lot. Both my wife and I have been in the hotel/restaurant business for 20 years between us, so we know only too well how this kind of change can affect a restaurant. But, we know how important criticism is, so we passed on our experience of their dishes, hoping to help.

Only 2 of us opted for sweets and if things couldn't get any worse, the cream on the desserts had gone sour. Of course, the 2 people with sour cream passed it round the table to get it confirmed and we all agreed it was sour. We told the waitress who offered to get the dishes changed to versions without cream, which was promptly done, but then the worst thing of all happened, the new owner came up and told us that the "cream was fine and the chef had only whipped a few hours earlier from fresh and that one of the waiters had confirmed it was fine".

Poor Che Vitas. You were a good place to have a meal at one time, but you're not any more.

And with an owner who can't tell sour cream, I am uncertain of your future and fear the worst.

I would not recommend anyone uses Che Vitas.

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3  Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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