Last Sunday I met my friends, Nancy and Erika for an early dinner at Figs on Charles Street. After our wonderful meal of beet salad, calamari and their signature and fabulous fig & and prosciutto pizza, we decided we wanted something sweet. Perhaps it was the sweet figs that put this thought in our heads?
Instead of staying at Figs, we took a little walk down the picturesque Charles Street in Beacon Hill in the hope of finding a sweet treat. I noticed a little café on the corner of Charles and Chestnut Street called Caffe Bella Vita “Authentic Italian Ice Cream.”
We walked into the open door off the street to this mostly empty establishment and seated ourselves. It seems the right thing to do given no-one was really looking at us. The place is airy and bright with deep red brick painted walls and golden archways. Tables are a bit haphazard giving it a bit of a kitschy, not quite caring look, which seemed to work.
The place was so quiet, I felt like I was in an old Italian mafia movie with the dom and his peeps whispering quietly in the corner and not looking up. A couple huddled over a table holding hands and not speaking and then there were the three of us, slightly noisier but of course not rowdy. It was an interesting sight.
A friendly waiter walked over and handed us some old and worn looking menus and asked if we wanted drinks. I opted for a double espresso and perhaps the reason why I didn’t sleep well Sunday night, while Nancy and Erika went for a latte and cappuccino respectively. Very nice espresso, sharp and bitter with a mild aftertaste.
The menu offers simple soups, sandwiches and some pasta dishes, along with cakes and gelatos and many different coffees. Glass cabinets of teasingly good looking desserts were beckoning us away from the menu to look their way, from pastries and cakes to tarts and Tiramisu.
For dessert I picked the cannoli, which arrived looking mouthwatering. Over-filled with homemade not too sweet ricotta that had a certain something I couldn’t quite place, which made it just that little bit more special than the norm. I shared it with Nancy and we both thought it was absolutely scrumptious.
Not on the menu but could be seen in the glass cases of desserts was the Tiramisu, which Erika had her eye on. A huge piece of nicely layered Tiramisu arrived and she immediately dug in. I had a bite because she said it was good but not spectacular and I needed to know for myself. I found it quite tasty and I liked that it wasn’t sickly sweet; however, I would agree that it was nothing special… not like the cannoli, which I would definitely go back for.
We sat for a while and enjoyed our coffees and desserts feeling very unrushed and relaxed and for most part it was a lovely end to our early evening.
As I was looking for the café website, which I couldn’t find, I did read with sadness, all of the terribly negative comments on Yelp and understood a few of them. There is something great to be created here and I think it’s totally possible. The focus on dessert, given all the little restaurants in Beacon Hill, could be their niche. It is always nice to have dinner somewhere and then taking it to the next adventure for a fun coffee and yummy dessert. Caffe Bella Vita, I believe, can fill that Beacon Hill gap.