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.

“La Dolce Vita”
Review of Vita Bella

Vita Bella
Ranked #1 of 393 Restaurants in Chelmsford
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $7 - $40
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations
Description: Based in the heart of East Hanningfield, close to Chelmsford in Essex, Vita Bella Italian Restaurant aims to provide guests with authentic Italian food within a friendly and inviting atmosphere. With a range of Italian dishes to choose from, from our array of menus, you are sure to find something that you will enjoy. All of our fresh produce is sourced from the local area, ensuring that your dish with be exceptionally delicious. Call today to book you table at Vita Bella Italian Restaurant. Please note that we are closed on all Monday Bank Holidays. Thank you for your custom!
Reviewed May 20, 2013

The Three Horseshoes in East Hanningfield, Essex, has had what could perhaps be described as a ‘chequered’ history. I first encountered it when I moved back into the area twenty five years ago, back then it was a quiet, country pub. Over the years it ‘enjoyed’ a number of refits, changes of management and the addition of copious amounts decking in the gardens until it finally closed in about 2007. Sadly, there’s a lot of it about.

After standing empty for a while it was refurbished and reopened as ‘Hoyzen’ – an Asian restaurant that focused on fresh seafood served in different Asian sauces. It was okay, but never really excited me or my friends.

Hoyzen closed in early 2011 and after another extensive refurbishment the venue reopened in late 2012 as Vita Bella, serving Italian food. It’s a rarity in this corner of Essex, the nearest Italian Restaurants being in Rayleigh and Great Baddow, while I can name at least a dozen Asian restaurants and takeaways within a five mile radius.

Vita Bella is located on ‘The Tye’, which is the main road through East Hanningfield, set back slightly off the road with adequate parking. The building has been decorated in a distinctive, yet traditional cream colour.

Inside it’s chic, with ‘tub’ chairs in the reception/drinks area, while elsewhere the décor is a mix of cream walls and lush art-deco wallpaper.

The food – well this is a restaurant – is up-market Italian, not your usual pizza and pasta joint. A la carte starters are priced between a fiver and a tenner, while mains are between fifteen and twenty five. The menu is varied, but not over the top.

We went on a Sunday lunchtime and there was a “Sunday Table d’hote” menu at £16.95 for two courses, or £19.95 for three. However the specials menu and regular a la carte selections were just too tempting.

I had the anti-pasto starter, followed by a monkfish in a slightly spicy tomato sauce. My wife had King Prawns Thermidor to start with a “Sogliola con Spinaci” (Spinach-stuffed Lemon Sole) main course.

We both declared both courses to be delicious, if I was to be really picky I might suggest that the salad leaved on the antipasto were a little uninspiring, some Rocket would have gone down a storm.

Somehow we found space for Chocolate & Mascarpone Truffle dessert and that too was rich and delicious.

This is the local Italian restaurant we’ve been waiting for.

We’ll be back.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
4  Thank BobtheBrit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VitaBellaEssex, Director at Vita Bella, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Dear Sir,

Thank young very much for your visit and thank you for taking the time to go into detail about our place. We are pleased you enjoyed the food and the surroundings and we look forward to welcome you back any time!

Many thanks again,
Ciprian

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (1,712)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

1,691 - 1,695 of 1,713 reviews

Reviewed May 19, 2013

We decided to give the restaurant a try on recommendation, (such a pleasant change after 7 Indian take always locally!) the starters, especially the King prawns in cheese and brandy sauce were lovely and the fresh garlic bread was to die for. The monkfish for main was cooked to perfection, soft and full of flavour with an amazing sauce to compliment and lemon sole again perfect and fresh accompanied by tasty root veg selection. For dessert, as expected in an italian restaurant superb ice creams alongside selection of homemade specials! Overall, Great wine, great service, polite staff, pleasant modern decor and spotless toilets (sorry I notice these things), maybe a tad on the pricey side but not extortionate and for quality food is what I would expect ! Overall would recommend and will definitely be going back. Worth a visit!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
4  Thank Poppy2777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VitaBellaEssex, Director at Vita Bella, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Thank you very much for visiting us and thank you for your nice words, we hope to see you again soon :)
Many thanks,
Ciprian
Vita Bella

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2013

Friendly owners, nice decor but lacking in atmosphere especially the bar area. Male owner trying to hard to make a good impression & a bit too serious. Service very good but veal was tough, should have been a lot tender. Hope it wasn't horse meat! Only been there once but would go back and give it another try.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Irene K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VitaBellaEssex, Director at Vita Bella, responded to this reviewResponded June 20, 2013

Dear Madame,

Thank you very much for your visit. I am sorry you felt that the bar area had no atmosphere. This is a lounge we designed for initial drinks or for after meal coffees. I don't know what day of the week you visited us but the lounge is generally empty once every guest had been taken to their table. Please if you have any suggestions to liven up the area, don't hesitate to let us know :)
I apologise if you felt the veal was tough, I can assure you we always try to buy the best cut! I can also assure you it was veal and not horse meat (the latter is now too expensive due to continuing presence in the news :)))
Please do visit us again and we will do everything in our power to make your visit enjoyable!

Thank you again for your visit and loom forward to welcoming you back,

Kind Regards,
Ciprian
Vita Bella

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2013 via mobile

We was recommended to try this restaurant and we're glad we did! Yes it was pricey but you get what you pay for.
The staff were extremely helpful and were very friendly and accommodating. It was nice to speak to the owner and hear of his hard work and efforts!! And it of course shows!!
We will be back, I'm already thinking what to have next!!

    • Food
2  Thank Hrtlya7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VitaBellaEssex, Director at Vita Bella, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Thank you very much for the kind words and for your visit. Please do command see us again :)
Kind Regards,
Ciprian
Vita Bella

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013

Brilliant food and service. Heard that it was good and was not disappointed.
Relaxed atmosphere. We were not rushed. Staff attentive and aware to ensure service just right.
Chef from Napoli so food authentic. True Italian food comes to East Hannifield.
Owners obviously have not skimped on the refurbishment so decor and ambiance just right.
Definitely one of best in area.
Give it a try

2  Thank RayUnitedKingdom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VitaBellaEssex, Director at Vita Bella, responded to this reviewResponded June 30, 2013

Dear Sir,
Thank you very much for you visit and for the very nice words! Nice of you to remember that our head chef is from Napoli, the do say they're the best :)))
Again, thank you for your review and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Kind Regards,
Ciprian
Vita Bella

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Vita Bella also viewed

 

Been to Vita Bella? 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