We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Meet Us Here”
Review of Va Bene Caffe

Va Bene Caffe
Ranked #4 of 260 Restaurants in Duluth
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Scenic view, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Family owned and operated, fresh Italian. Not your nonna's trattoria. Pastas, salads,pizzas, staek,fish, fresh baked desserts and gelato. Full bar, fantastic wine list and specialty cocktails. Perched over looking Lake Superior with the best view of the lift bridge and harbor.
United States
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Meet Us Here”
Reviewed September 28, 2013 via mobile

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.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank ReCycle958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

599 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Saint Paul, Minnesota
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Va Bene Beautiful!”
Reviewed September 24, 2013

Loved it!!! We loved it!!! The Alaskan Salmon was DEE-licious! The gelato was fantastic. God, we can't wait to get back to this place. The cuisine was an exceptional experience and spectacular ambience and service. FYI: My husband loved the Italian style bathroom ingenious design.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank Croomism
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Excellent food and view”
Reviewed September 20, 2013

We went to Va Bene for our anniversary - the food was excellent and the desert was amazing. Can't wait to go back.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank MN-BlueLoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eagan, Minnesota
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful Night”
Reviewed September 4, 2013

We stopped in at VA Bene while we were staying in Duluth over Labor Day. We sat outside on their small deck that overlooked the Lake. It was beautiful! The beet salads and pasta we had were excellent. Service was attentive and good. For such a "nice" place I was surprised they wanted us to keep our salad forks for the main course. They have a very nice greenhouse type area that over looks the lake also. The main restaurant inside seemed sterile. Would certainly go back again!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank B M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great food and service, sit on deck if possible”
Reviewed September 4, 2013 via mobile

We wanted a nicer restaurant to eat dinner at during our stay in Duluth, and VA Bene was perfect for that! Per the recommendations on trip advisor, we asked for seating on the lower deck. While the upper part of the restaurant was crowded, the downstairs was barely occupied on a Wednesday night. The view was absolutely spectacular! It is a great view of Lake Superior and the lift bridge, and was very quiet and relaxing. Our waitress was very friendly and as it was our first time, gave us lots of great recommendations. The gnocchi was excellent, as was the penne pasta with sausage (had customizable spiciness which was great) and the number 18 (angel hair pasta with tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, and pine nuts). I also had a mixed salad which was very good as well. The only thing that was disappointing to us was the "Noce e pera" (penne with a cream sauce, pears, walnuts, and spinach). It had rave reviews on tripadvisor and according to our waitress was one of the restaurants most popular dishes, but fell flat. It wasn't hot and was just kind of goopy and blah. We saw the gelato on the way out but were stuffed from our food so we returned the next day in the afternoon. The restaurant was quiet and the gentleman who helped us was very kind and patient as we took for ever to decide what flavors to try. The mint chip, sea salt caramel, and white chocolate raspberry were all superb! If you are looking for a nicer Italian restaurant in Duluth or even just a dish of gelato, this is the place to go!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Grape452
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Va Bene Caffe? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing