Bella Vista: a hidden gem in southwest Oklahoma City

by | April 19, 2008 | 59 Comments


Bella Vista

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5801 S. Western Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73109

This one’s a “must try.” In fact, you may want to stop reading right now and make your way to Bella Vista. Alright, I’m getting a little carried away, but I just get so excited whenever I find a new “hidden gem” to share with you. I have to thank a friend at my workplace for recommending Bella Vista. I had never heard of it before, but I know I’ll be going back soon.

Bella Vista is a small, family-owned, family-run Italian restaurant in Southwest Oklahoma City. It is humble, casual, and the food is incredibly fresh. They claim that everything is hand-made daily, and I believe it. They have a special olive oil bottled for them from Vasiliko Di Kalamata (I don’t know where that is, but it sounds impressive). They bake their own bread. Every sauce is cooked fresh each day. This is Italian comfort-food and I have not experienced anything else like it in Oklahoma City.

The place is very casual. Come in jeans, shorts, or whatever you like. From the outside, the building doesn’t look much like a restaurant. Inside, they have made an effort to add some Mediterranean ambiance, but it’s definitely nothing to write home about. Yet, it’s comfortable and warm.

The food is what I would imagine home-cooking is like in Italy. It’s nothing fancy, but it is so extremely fresh and flavorful. I ordered the spaghetti and meatballs ($8.95 at dinner). It’s common, I know, but I really like to judge any Italian place by this staple because you can tell so much from the way they handle their marinara sauce. I also ordered a dinner salad ($1.25 extra with a dinner) with homemade Italian dressing.

The salad dressing was absolutely perfect. Whatever special olive oil they claim to use was extremely effective. The dressing was so light, yet with a great mix of spices and some Parmesan cheese mixed throughout. Though the salad itself could have used a little more interest (it was mostly iceberg and a couple of tomato / cucumber slices), it pretty much just serves as a canvas for the dressing, so perhaps plain is better to really let the dressing stand out.

After that, my pasta came out. A very plain-looking plate with a heap of noodles covered edge to edge with sauce and two meatballs sitting on the side. When they placed it in front of me, I was overwhelmed with the aroma of fresh vegetables from the sauce. Now, the sauce was completely smooth, but you could still smell every bit of produce that went into it. It was unbelievable. Not sweet and overly heavy like a lot of commercial sauces. This is so light and so fresh. I can hardly describe it.

They say the meatballs are made fresh each day and slow-cooked for four hours. They were so tender and smooth. Again, nothing fancy, just basic Italian food done extremely well. I could eat it at least once a week, I think. Too bad it’s not closer to my office.

At lunch, they offer a special. For $6.95, you can choose from any of their basic pastas such as spaghetti alla marinara, arrabiata, bolognese … etc., or other favorites like baked ziti, manicotti, lasagna, eggplant parmigiano, or chicken alla parmigiano. The price of lunch includes a salad and their homemade bread. I consider this a tremendous value and I wish I had the time to get down there for lunch more often.

I have heard that if they get crowded at lunch, the food can take a while to come out. I didn’t experience this at dinner, but thought I’d pass it along. One thing my friend recommended is to call ahead at lunch time and they will start preparing your order in advance. I may have to try that some time as the drive, for me, would take up a good chunk of my lunch hour.

The menu has even more to offer than I’ve mentioned here. There is a large selection of appetizers, salads, soups, pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, and specialty dishes like chicken picata, marsala, scaloppini and a host of other specialty sauces. With so much to try and food that is so fresh and fabulous, I look forward to becoming a regular here.

I hope you’ll give Bella Vista a try soon. It’s local, unique, and very, very good. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Bella Vista on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Tim Wall on Saturday, April 19th, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • Markbb says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 11:58 am   

    Wow after a review like that who wouldn’t go, it is on my to go list…..Thanks for the review

  • Paul Baird says:
    April 28th, 2008 at 1:44 pm   

    Heads up! I tried to go there today for lunch and it was shut down. Something on the door about a Greek holiday. I’m sure it is temporary but call before you go.

    Olive Garden really sucks when you are hoping for/expecting Bella Vista!!! I guess it sucks anyway but it was my daughter’s birthday lunch and I got out voted.

  • PDB says:
    May 1st, 2008 at 4:28 pm   

    Okay…I’m more than a little bit challenged. As you may have figured out, I tried to go there on a Monday. Sorry….feel free to delete my stupidity.

  • Tim says:
    May 1st, 2008 at 4:39 pm   

    Paul, I didn’t even make that connection until you just pointed it out. Ha. No big deal. This will just be a good reminder to everyone to make sure they go Tuesday through Sunday.

  • Markbb says:
    May 3rd, 2008 at 3:26 pm   

    Today at approx. 1 in the afternoon we went to Bella Vista and lets say we’ll keep this our little secret, the food is simply marvelous, if you go don’t be in a hurry the dishes are made to order, my wife had the clams in red sauce and I had the raviolie with sausage, the bread is homemade and dense and flavorful and prices are very good for the amount of food and the taste, well let say I licked my plate shamelesly, I recommend this place with the highest regard and I will be going back for seconds,third,fourths well you know what I mean…Thanks for the tip Tim and keep them coming

  • Tim says:
    May 3rd, 2008 at 6:04 pm   

    Thanks for the report, Mark. I’m glad to hear you liked it as much as I did.

  • Chris Hennes says:
    May 17th, 2008 at 1:46 pm   

    Hey Tim,

    We have differing opinions on restaurants, because I really can’t recommend the place. It is a prototypically bad Italian-American restaurant complete with gigantic portions, and oversauced and overcooked pasta. Did I just hit them on a bad day?

    Original post is over here:

  • Tim says:
    May 17th, 2008 at 2:08 pm   

    Hey Chris, if we all had the same opinion, life would be pretty boring, eh? Not to mention there wouldn’t be much need for blogs or forums :)

    Thanks for sharing your take. I’ll hold to my view. I think this place is at the top when it comes to casual, home-cooking, mom and pop Italian. It’s certainly nothing fancy or complex, but I think it’s unique in the Oklahoma City landscape as far as delivering a simple, fresh and delicious product.

    I will agree with you that the portions are too big. I’m a big fan of reasonable portions so that is a strike against it. However, I feel the prices are reasonable so at least they’re not just pumping up the portions in an effort to charge more.

    Do you have some other home-cooking OKC Italian places that you consider to be better? Let us know.

    Thanks again and please leave us more of your comments. We’d love to hear more from you.

  • Chris Hennes says:
    May 18th, 2008 at 1:43 pm   

    I only spent a little over a week in the area and mostly ate Mexican and BBQ, so I don’t have any other home-cooking Italian recommendations, but I’m be back soon, so hopefully I can remedy that! I agree that the prices were very reasonable, but I would have been happy to pay the same for half as much food. And I can’t get over the overcooked and oversauced par: in my mind those are criminal failings for an Italian restaurant. Maybe I should go back and have a go at the lasagna or something: that’s harder to mess up on those dimensions. The people working there (I assume the family?) sure were nice, anyway. And the bread was pretty tasty, too.

  • Tim says:
    May 18th, 2008 at 2:31 pm   

    Chris, yeah I read back through the whole thread on your forum I realized you are from out of town. It’s great to have your perspective here. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll continue to do so as you visit OKC more.

    I noticed you visited a few other restaurants that we have reviewed here (Cheever’s, Iron Starr, Deep Fork, and La Baguette). I would love to have your comments on those reviews as well.

  • Kathy says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 12:30 pm   

    Stopped in after reading all the reviews. Went in about 1:00 p.m. on Thursday and still had time to catch the lunch special. The service was a bit slow considering there was only one other person there, but the food was great. Had the spaghetti and meatballs on the lunch special. For $6.95 w/a salad,the price can’t be beat. The sauce was excellent, well blended and very fresh. Will be going back soon..

  • Holley says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 11:16 am   

    I love this place. Just be ready to take your order when the waitress comes to your table. She’s kind of impatient, but not in a rude way, if that makes sense.

    In addition to their Italian food, they have excellent pizza and calzone.

  • Bizzle says:
    June 3rd, 2008 at 7:44 pm   

    So, back from my trip to Santa Fe I decided to have one last hoorah. I can’t stop thinking about Bella Vista and I’m so full that I’m having trouble typing. We started with the Shrimp Baci, bacon and cheese wrapped shrimp. Nuff said. I ordered the Eggplant Parmigiano $9.25 and it came with a huge bowl of spaghetti marinara. I ate aproximately 6 bites before I even got to the eggplant. At first, I was a little displeased because I kept getting forkfulls of sauce and cheese. Then I realized, how can I be upset when the sauce and cheese is so darn good that I could take a bath in it? I would agree that the spaghetti is overcooked. I prefer al dente, but it was still good and I still took the leftovers home. My date had a small pizza with 3 toppings at $9.25, I had a small piece and he still took half of it home. It was a winner as well. Even after all of that food, I inquired about the Baklava but it had sold out. I can’t wait to go back and explore the rest of the menu. I couldn’t get a read on the waitress because she did seem hot and cold. One moment I felt like that I was annoying her and the next she was warm and friendly. I think that is just her personality.

  • Dave says:
    June 5th, 2008 at 3:16 pm   

    Went about 5pm and were the only ones there. Not a bad thing but even then the service was slow. The food though slow in coming was hot and tasty. I had the Lasagna and the boss lady had an eggplant dish. We were too full to even think about the good looking desert spread.
    I don’t really like marinara sauce that comes off sweet and this one does. I’m going back though, some really good looking pizza on the menu.

  • steph says:
    June 5th, 2008 at 8:38 pm   

    We tried it last night before going to see Spamalot. It was so wonderful and fresh. I have recommended this place to a lot of people. It was a yummy start to a fun filled eve.

  • Donna says:
    October 6th, 2008 at 1:12 pm   

    We have a group of friends that like to dine at Bella Vista before we go to the Civic Center or when we take our own family out for a meal. The portions are large and the food is great. Our group hasn’t been disappointed with the tuscan pizza, sausage pizza, manicotti, chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan, spaghetti or lasagne. We haven’t ordered the calzone, but it looks large enough for two to share. It’s definitely one of the best places in Oklahoma City. If you have a large group, call ahead and make a reservation. Allow a little extra time if you do have a large group. We’ve done that several times and had excellent service. Great place to go for an evening out with your friends.

  • Kimberly says:
    October 9th, 2008 at 11:04 pm   

    I went here as soon as I read the review on this site, and the place didn’t disappoint. The food was strongly seasoned which was perfect for my palate. It’s definitely an experience that is unlike any other Italian place I’ve ever been to… anywhere! We went on a weekend evening and it wasn’t that busy.

  • Ryan says:
    October 30th, 2008 at 12:00 pm   

    This place used to be called Dal Italia, and was over in the Hefner/Britton area for many years. I was sorely dissapointed when it closed down in teh late 1990′s. When I discovered that it had reopened as “Bella Vista”, I was enthralled. The food is outstanding as ever, and I HIGHLY reccomend the Bella Vista Pizza, and the handmade Baklava. 200 Stars.

  • Kevin says:
    November 5th, 2008 at 11:10 pm   

    I went to Bella Vista tonight, can I say amazing!! It was much better than I thought and their mousaka was amazing. The place is owned by a Greek family from Athens, they have good authentic Italian and Greek food on the menu!!

  • RC says:
    December 16th, 2008 at 5:56 pm   

    Went there for lunch today, it is good italian food! I would say it is worth a return trip. Very downhome authentic.

  • Ryan says:
    December 29th, 2008 at 8:38 am   

    Ate here again on Sunday. Fantastic as usual.

    Cheese Tortellini – Fantastic

    Chicken Marsala – OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD!!! Voted #1 in OKC in the Gazette magazine for a reason!!!

    Polposo Pizza – Ridiculously good

    Bella Vista Calzone – Also ridiculously good

  • Robert says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 8:24 pm   

    I went to Bella Vista for the first time on 1/3/09 (Saturday).. I ordered the Calazone double topping with Ham and Peporoni. It took my food approx 40 Mins to get out, and my food was served before my wifes food and grandmothers food, There food was served about 5 mins after my food was served. I was left with a dry drink for 15 min periods, Felt like we were being ignored. Anyways to my point, Sunday night I was Bent over the toilet throwing up and i had severe diarrhea. It is 1/6/09 and i still havent gotted rid of the Diarrhea. I figured out that the calazone Was not cooked properly, and was just thrown together. I ate 1/4 of the calazone.. When the lady came to the table to ask if everything was going alright, i asked if i could get two more glasses of dr. pepper because I Suck pop down really quick, and she stormmed off like she got mad…. I dont know if she done something to my drink, or if it was the food.. Anyways that was my experience with HELLA VISTA… BTW, my wifes food was awesome and my grandmother said her food was awesome.. Lazania

  • Robert says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 8:31 pm   

    Oh and I Will never go back, The pain and Discomfort is not worth it.

  • Tim says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 11:28 pm   

    @Robert, wow! That is quite an experience. I’m sorry to hear things didn’t go so well for you, but glad your wife and grandmother enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your take with us.

  • Sarah says:
    February 13th, 2009 at 9:30 pm   

    My husband and I ate here tonight. He said it’s the first place we’ve eaten with bars on the doors and windows. But we loved it. We did kind of pick up that they prefer you have reservations. If you don’t, you’re “shooed” to the back room to eat. But it looks just like the front room and has the same cheesy 70s easy listening music playing. He had the spaghetti and meatballs – like it cuz the sauce was on the sweet side and the meatballs were gigantic. Brought enough home for lunch tomorrow. I had the vegetalli pizza – it was very fresh with nice, crispy vegetables. I had the small one, and brought home well over half. The car will smell like garlic for two weeks – pure heaven. We ate at Papa Dio’s last night on north May. Not impressed – food here is better.

  • Ixa says:
    April 15th, 2009 at 11:51 am   

    I love this place!! I took my Mom here (it was her first time. She’s an excellent cook and makes a great marinara sauce herself. She likes to eat out but can be critical of food she thinks is sub-par. After her first bite of the lasagna, she wanted to know if she could just buy their sauce…hahaha. Bella Vista rocks!

  • Deonne says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 4:21 pm   

    I’ve been enjoying the exquisitely awesome food at Bella Vista since a friend of mine recommended them to me back in 2005. I’ve just been trying to keep them a secret!

    I must say that I’ve never actually eaten at the restaurant, always get the food to go. The lady waitress can seem a little put out even when I come in to pick up my “to go” order, but at the same time she’ll ask how I am. I think that’s just her.

    They have a fantastic menu (I’ve eaten too many dishes to list!). And I’ve never had anything I didn’t just fall in love with. I always have the hardest time deciding what I’m going to order, as I want it all.

    They have great prices and great proportions, as I’m a gal who prefers to get the most out of her money.

    Simply put, Bella Vista is just great Italian cuisine!

  • Kevin says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 3:17 am   

    I have been to Bella Vista and sometimes they are busy and the service is slow. I think there food is great! My friend ordered the Spaghetti ala Bolognese and they did not make the sauce right. They put too much tomato sauce in it. It was much more red than it should be because Bologna is northern and is different than the heavy red sauces from the south. The best places to get Italian food in this are and is authentic is Frateli’s Italian Restaurant in Shawnee, OK. There Bolognese dishes and many other dishes are great. I think they make the best Calzones around.

  • Kevin says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 6:41 am   

    Very good food. I did not find the portions too much, but then, I can strike fear in the hearts of a buffet owner, so maybe that’s connected.

    My more prone to nibble than feast friends would likely agree the portions are somewhat beyond being ample.

  • Andrea says:
    August 1st, 2009 at 11:52 am   

    I have been eating Bella Vista food for the last 7 years and it is one of the best kept secrets in Oklahoma City!! Granted, the decor is a bit cheesy, but the food more than makes up for it. From what I can tell, the owners consist of a woman running the front (who I refer to as the pizza nazi, from Seinfeld), her husband, who cooks, another cook recently hired, and either her mother or her husband’s mother who refills drinks. I have tried to order white pizza, or the spicy chicken pizza at lunch, only to be told “We cannot do that, we do not have the ingredients today”, or “it will take an hour to prepare that because we have to cook the chicken separately”. At first I was a bit offended, but eventually found it funny. The lady taking orders and serving does have a bit of an attitude at first, but if you get past that she is actually pretty friendly. The bottom line is that the food is amazing. I have them on fast dial on my cell phone for pizza. It is the best pizza in Oklahoma City! Lots of cheese, fresh sauce with sweet basil, amazing crust. The salads are also great, especially the Greek Salad. This is one of my go-to restaurants and I must admit I am torn about word of their greatness getting out. On the one hand, I cannot believe they haven’t won “Best Pizza” in the Gazzette awards, but on the other hand I am glad not everyone knows about the amazing food there. They do take vacation every summer for a couple of months, which I feel is well deserved. As I write it is Aug. 1st and they are still not back. I am having withdrawals but will patiently await their return. Of all the pizzas I have had in Oklahoma City, including Hideaway and Sophabella’s, this is the best by far!!

  • Sue says:
    August 13th, 2009 at 4:43 pm   

    I have not visited this restaurant yet….but I understand the people who own it are actually Greek. I have traveled quite a bit and also grew up with people who were from the “old country” including Northern Italians, Sicilians and Greeks etc. The descriptions of their personalities fit what I remember, very well. (Which is not what you normally encounter in OKC.) Since I grew up eating this type of authentic food, I am really looking forward to trying the meatballs when the restaurant reopens. Will let you know what I think.

  • Kalea says:
    October 4th, 2009 at 12:31 pm   

    I ate here once with my family and I had the ravioli, it was absolutely delicious. However, my sister had the chicken fettuccine alfredo, and that was by far the best food I have ever put in my mouth. I believe they said they make it with heavy whipping cream and the chicken is breaded, not grilled. Enough said. I am going there tonight with my husband, daughter and another couple who has a daughter and I am the only one who has been there before, I am so excited I can hardly wait 5 hours until I get my alfredo! haha! Would recommend it to everyone. Best kept secret in OKC.

  • Christina says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 11:22 am   

    I think I was expecting more from the “homemade” bread. It wasn’t very good at all. I had the spaghetti alla mushrooms with added meatballs. It was really good. There is no way you could eat all of your food and I can eat a lot of food! I weighed my leftovers when I got home and it was over a pound. Good value for your money.

  • KC says:
    October 24th, 2009 at 9:40 pm   

    My wife and I just visited Bella Vista and we were not disappointed, as we both concluded this was one of the best Italian restaurants (if not the best) in Oklahoma City. Regarding flavor, freshness, authenticity, and value, one would be hard-pressed to find a better Italian restaurant.

    We started with the Shrimp Baci ($6.95) and, although the bacon and cheese overpowered the shrimp, it was flavorful. My wife ordered the eggplant parmesan ($8.95), which came with a bowl of spaghetti and marinara while I ordered two additional appetizers, meatballs and marinara ($4.25) and fried ravioli ($6.25). The meatballs were terrific and the marinara was outstanding, as it was obvious many fresh vegetables and herbs went into the sauce. The fried ravioli was fresh, but there was simply too much cheese, which overpowered the ricotta-stuffed raviolis. The eggplant parmesan was good, but the several layers of cheese made finding the eggplant a scavenger hunt. That said, the eggplant was seasoned and cooked just right, and there wasn’t an abundance of oil and breading some other self-proclaimed Italian restaurants in OKC are notorious for doing with their versions. I’m glad we saved most of the freshly-baked bread for last, as it made a good device for sopping-up all the remaining cheese and marinara, both of which was provided in abundance. Overall: Bella Vista offered flavorful, fresh, authentic Mediterranean-style food with an incredible value.

  • Theobald says:
    November 20th, 2009 at 2:18 pm   

    HORRIBLE SERVICE. I wish I could comment on the authenticity or deliciousness of the food, but we left before we could eat. My wife, my 2 year old and I walked in, waited briefly to be seated, and realized we should seat ourselves. We sat down, starving and thirsty anxious to try the place that had such great reviews. 10 minutes… 15 minutes… 20 minutes… Almost half an hour passed. We saw glimpses of the sole waitress shuffle in and out of the kitchen, tried to wave her down, and eventually resorted to Johnnie Carino’s.

    I get that they’re Italian and make authentic, fresh food, but this isn’t Italy. I’ve been to Italy and understand how the waiting game goes at restaurants. Over here, we have lunch breaks and then actually go back to work after we eat!

    Plus, that area is ghetto.

  • Deedee says:
    January 13th, 2010 at 2:00 pm   

    I’ve been there several times for lunch. Owner/server has kind of an unfriendly feel to her. I am always very polite but the way she looks at me & talks to me I don’t think she likes me. Maybe it is I take up a table and am by myself? Their marinara sauce is great. The salad is large and I like it. Today, however my spaghetti bolognaise was a little too soupy and the pasta was already cut up. I am used to long strands that twirl around the fork but today they were short choppy strands as if I’d cut them. I didn’t complain I get the feeling if you do you might be asked to leave and not come back. It does have a traditional flavor appeal you don’t get with Olive Garden but the atmosphere is a little cold if you know what I mean. Good price for portions just wish you felt welcome to be there.

  • Bizzle says:
    January 13th, 2010 at 11:05 pm   

    I revisited Bella Vista this past weekend with my mom. We weren’t quite ready and the waitress with the attitude was not pleased that we asked for a little bit more time to order. She did give us a heads up about a large reservation coming in and that if we didn’t hurry, we would have to wait! I think her whole persona is quite entertaining.
    This time around I went with the spaghetti w/Italian sausage and my mom, Fettuccine ALfredo. I hate to say it, but I only had 5 bites of mine. I just found the sauce to be quite sweet, and the sausage had the texture of meatloaf. The menu states that it is slow roasted in the sauce. I guess that I was warned–but it was not appealing to me at all. The flavor of the sausage seemed to be okay, the meatloafness, not so much. The spaghetti was not quite as overdone this time, but the sauce was just not to my liking. The alfredo was just so-so, huge portions. My mom felt that it was thickened with cornstarch, and she much prefers Meiki’s Fettuccine Alfredo. I do as well, but it is a small portion; big eaters might be unhappy.

    It was a busy Saturday night and there was a 30-40 minute wait for our food. I am going to give one more pasta dish a try, and if that doesn’t work out–I’ll stick to the pizza.

  • Wimpy says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 7:37 pm   

    My wife and I enjoyed lunch here today everything was delicious, large servings which I love to take leftovers home for later !
    The bread was ok, that’s all I can say for it, that being the only thing that could have been better.
    The over all friendliness of the place could be better also, but maybe they were having a bad day or something. I look forward to trying it again some time .

  • Denning Crowe says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 9:28 pm   

    My wife and 2 grandchildren ate there last month. As I recall we got a pizza. We were not impressed. Don’t plan to go back.

  • KTF says:
    September 3rd, 2010 at 9:35 pm   

    My wife and I just ate there tonight and the food was very good. Fet Alfredo, baked Zity, HUGE portion sizes. Service was as always spotty and the food took about 20-25 minutes to arrive. The were closed for remodel, new paint and shange to the interior help the place look and feel better.
    the nutorious waitress/owner?? was in a good mood tonight and cheerful. They had a young girl helping her and she was very friendly and helpful.

  • Melody Hughes says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 11:44 am   


  • Jason says:
    September 27th, 2010 at 11:05 am   

    Got to eat here this past weekend for lunch. My wife and I both had lunch specials. She had the lasagna and I had the chicken parmesan. The lasagna was awesome, the chicken parmesan incredible. The best chicken parmesan i have ever eaten. When you try the food here you will instantly know they are only using fresh ingredients. The marinara was sooooo goood!!! The bread is a nice break from the typical loaves/sticks served at the large italian chain restraunts. Lunch specials were served with a dinner salad, my wife said the Italian dressing was the out of this world. Service was a little slow because there was only one waitress for the entire crowd but she did a crazy good job keeping up all things considered. We got out of there tip and all for around $20 which is awesome and didn’t even come close to making happy plates. This is a great Italian Restraunt. Sorry Zio’s I really care about you a lot but i think its time we start seeing other people!!!

  • Bruce says:
    October 24th, 2010 at 4:11 pm   

    I am an out of towner in OKC. Have been all over the world, I like to try little places and rely on sites like this to point me in the right direction. I felt as if I were lead astray this time. As I entered I found myself awkwardly standing in the entrance not knowing where to go. Come to find out I had to seat myself. No big deal, a sign would have been nice though. I find myself a seat a corner so that I may see the rest of the guests. After waiting 5 minutes I was finally greeted by young gal who took my drink order. I then sat there for another 5-10 minutes staring at the menu without being approached again. I had finished nearly 3/4 of the coke I was served by the time I had placed my order of Chicken Scalopini. With’n this time, a table of 4 had sat down, waited and left without ever being greeted. I did see the portions others were getting and they seemed to be massive amounts and take homes are given. When my dish arrived I found 2 breaded chicken breasts smashed and covered in a soup like sauce. It was such mush it was almost unidentifiable. The flavor tasted like it had citrus rinds cooked into the batter and sauce. I could not taste anything but that of the rinds throughout every bite. I was very disappointed. It also came with a separate bowl of linguine noodles. These had a plain butter appearance with lots of fresh garlic. I was hoping that it would have made up for the lack of the main dish. However my first bit into it, was the same citrus rind taste. I took two bits and was finished with it as well.

    By the time I had received my food another couple had sat and left due to it taking to long to be greeted.

    Now, when I was visited by the staff, they were very nice. The $1.75 salad was great, fresh bread, and the coke was good. My bill for the disappointment came out to $18.65.

  • Tim says:
    October 24th, 2010 at 4:44 pm   

    Bruce, I’m sorry your experience was disappointing and I’m very sorry that our site led you astray :(

    It’s been quite a while since I’ve visited Bella Vista. My initial experiences were very good and led to this review. The comments that have been left by others since publication have showed that they seem to struggle with consistency and with slow service. I appreciate you sharing your experiences so that others can benefit from them.

    If you’re still in OKC, I hope that you’ll try some of the other places we’ve featured and that they work out better for you. A good place to start would be our Top 100 page. Or, feel free to email me at and I’d be happy to try to point you toward something that will work out better for you.

  • Suzy says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 1:25 pm   

    I am sorry some people have had a bad experience here- I have always found the food to be very good- we esp like the meatballs as an appetizer – I usually get the baked Lasagna or ziti , always good. The owner I admit takes some getting used to- she is nice-but not from America so she has a different attitude about things. I have noticed she is very carefull to wait on people in the order they came in. Yes I have had to sit there for a while before it was my turn…….. I know how it works now and do not get upset. Frankly I love the bad decorating and almost everything else there.

  • bitguide says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 11:54 pm   

    disreguard Bruces review. He’s obviously from either Ducan or Lawton.; And obviously upset by the receent gubinotrial results. Bella Vista rules,
    one of those rare instancs where south of the river
    rules over north, and doesn’t happen often.
    Sorry silkies

  • Bruce says:
    November 9th, 2010 at 1:24 pm   

    To bitguide: I’m hardly from Oklahoma, let alone Lawton or Duncan. Like I said, I travel a lot and this was one of the worst places I have been. Whether the owner is from America or not doesn’t have any bearing; I can tell you that in the 3 years I lived in Europe to include the 7 European countries I visited in that time was the service ever this slow. I do commend your motivation and conviction to defend a place you enjoy to eat at, but to totally disregard an outsider’s view on a restaurant in a city that has never heard of Mongolian BBQ is just plain ignorant. Even more so to reference elections that took place AFTER the review was written just takes the cake. Regards.

  • Tim says:
    November 9th, 2010 at 1:45 pm   

    To Bitguide and Bruce:

    Bitguide, your comment comes dangerously close to insulting another commenter, which we won’t tolerate here. I was contemplating whether to remove or at least edit your comment, but since Bruce has already replied, I will leave it.

    Bruce, thank you for your very decent reply to bitguide. Your comments are welcome here whether you agree or disagree. I apologize that you had to endure some insult. Thank you for handling it well.

    Carry on, everyone. All opinions are welcomed and appreciated, but we don’t allow personal attacks on restaurants or others. Let’s get back to the discussion at hand.

  • Kevin says:
    January 9th, 2011 at 7:47 pm   

    As we knew we would have lots of company on our 29th anniversary, we decided to slip out Friday evening for an early celebration. After considering several locations we had not yet tried, we opted instead for a leisurely evening of quiet conversation and the delicious offerings of Bella Vista.

    We indulged more than two people should, but it is so easy to do here. We began with several appetizers. The meatballs and the sausage, two each, were well seasoned, very simply presented, as is everything here.

    They were well complimented by the toasted bread which normally arrives with the order, but the separate garlic cheese bread appetizer really added a nice finish.
    This was followed by a flavorful platter of cheese drenched fried ravioli for moi, and a small salad for her. Although I’m not much of a ranch dressing fan, their dressing could just about make me a convert.

    We briefly joked about requesting the entrees be packaged to go, but soon discovered our second wind just as our lasagna and manicotti arrived. It wasn’t long before we realized it wasn’t truly our second wind, and about half of our entrees did travel with us to assure we’d eat well on Saturday also (and we did).

    Her ample slice of cake also came home with us, but I canna comment on the cake, though she swears it was glorious. I take her word to heart, but I just plain do not do coconut.

    I don’t often end up taking food with me, but as I enjoyed the de facto appetizer buffet to a greater degree than my reason for living, and because I knew I would enjoy it more later, it was certainly the better move.

    I don’t entering this wonderful haven when time is a critical factor. Like a Braum’s drive-through lane near a high school, speed simply is not part of their philosophy.

    However, for a evening of enjoying the company of your wonderful spouse, or when going out with good friends and catching up is the main thrust of the eve, there aren’t many other places that can top the excellent food and quiet ambiance of Bella Vista.

  • Chuck says:
    January 21st, 2011 at 1:14 pm   

    We have been to Bella Vista (Beautiful Place) in Italian if anyone was interested in the orgin! A New Yorker for 31 of my 35yrs, I have been to some of the best Italian restaurants in the US period! Bella ranks very high on my list as far as the food goes however I will tell you my wife and I have walked out twice because of service or lack of! We love the hostess/waitress/owner/everything but its to much for one person to handle, as a result customer service is lossed.

    With that being said the food is delizioso and you really cant beat the price, just know that the service may not always equal the food!

  • Jerry Hicks says:
    January 22nd, 2011 at 9:27 pm   

    I have eaten at Bella Vista many times, this is the best Italian food I’ve had, its all fresh, nothings frozen, and you won’t leave hungry. Its a small and quaint little restaurant, they just need a little better location and more parking. Its as close to Italian food you’re going to get without going to beats Olive Garden.The last time I was there I believe it was the owner running the register and waiting tables. I was very impressed with that, tip her well I know its not easy.

  • Me says:
    January 24th, 2011 at 12:56 am   


  • Mel says:
    May 25th, 2011 at 10:57 am   

    We needed to find a place to meet for lunch on southside and wanted to try something different. After finding Bella Vista and seeing Tim’s review – we decided to try it.

    All of our food was wonderful – from vegetarian to the baked lasagna. The Italian dressing, in my opinion, was fantastic.

    We found that it isn’t really an “in and out” place, but they do have lunch specials during the week that are affordable and serving sizes are large – so great for leftovers.

    Glad we ran across your recommendation, our group all said we would be back.

  • Ed says:
    July 7th, 2011 at 9:47 pm   

    We went this evening only to discover that they’re closed until September. Disappointed, but look forward to trying it then.

  • Terry says:
    November 30th, 2011 at 11:56 pm   

    My family and I ate there tonight to celebrate my wife’s birthday because she grew up on Italian food and that’s what she wanted. I am usually disappointed with the Italian fare in OKC, and prefer my Italian wife’s cooking over anything I could buy at a restaurant. The joint is dive-y, but who cares? The food is excellent, and yes, I have eaten some great meals in Italy. As long as you know going in that the service is going to be a bit slow, you won’t be disappointed. Highly recommended.

  • Anthony says:
    April 6th, 2012 at 12:12 pm   

    Can someone tell me where I can find a menu of this place online? We are wanting to take our friend out for his birthday but can not find it anywhere and every time I call the restaurant no one answers the phone. If they don’t have the common courtesy to answer the phone for God’s sake what makes you think I will eat there????

  • celine leather boogie bag says:
    July 1st, 2013 at 7:11 pm   

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