We stop in at VaBene to enjoy a fine meal with good wine at the perfect pace. Bonus if we can get seated in the enclosed deck overlooking Lake Superior. Make a reservation if you don't want to be disappointed. It's not a big place and can be busy. My only small complaint is the noise level in the main dining area. There are no soft textures so sound bounces everywhere - it gets hard to hear conversations without nearly shouting and that only makes the problem worse. Even so, it's such a great place to spend an hour or so, it's worth it.
The salads are fresh, creative and perfectly dressed (meaning, not swamped in dressing as is so common in NE MN). We usually split a salad but here we can each choose from a short list of half portions and get different plates.
I could comment on the many dishes each of us has enjoyed but it's enough to say that every one of them has been nothing short of excellent. The menu descriptions are accurate and the servers are well trained to answer questions.
The wine list is just long enough to offer a fine choice for any price range and taste. Again, the servers are trained to know enough to offer suggestions to anyone who is undecided. Bonus - one night per week there is a 1/2 off the price of a bottle option.
We rarely order dessert but the times we have, they have been perfect and in a portion size large enough to share.
I must mention the gelato. This is a great place to stop during a bicycle ride around town or walk along the Lakewalk to "refuel" with a treat. Many flavor choices and as fresh as you could wish for if you were cycling around an Italian village.
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