I decided that since I had not put up a blog post on food for a couple of weeks that it was a good excuse for Trevor and I to head out last night to somewhere local (It was Friday and it had been a long week and we wanted to go somewhere local!) and so we thought we would head to a restaurant that is just 5 minutes from our place that we have eaten at before a few times and see how it was fairing.

This is not what I would call a fine dining restaurant by any means but an Italian restaurant that serves good quality home style cooking in a nice ambient atmosphere that hasn’t changed for a number of years.  The menu is made up of the familiar antipasto plate, seafood, garlic bread options for starters and then offers pasta, seafood, chicken and steak all done in traditional ways.  There is no fusion, no innovation, no change to the menu in the past 5 years but what you get is good old fashioned hearty Italian food.

They are licensed by allow you to bring your own wine with you and so it was a bottle of Capel Vale Rose that we plucked from the fridge to take along for dinner.

I must say here that every time we have dined here in the past we have always had good service and great courteous wait staff who really know their menu and assist to make the night complete…but not this time.  There were 7 staff on the floor and 1 of them was in training but the service was slapdash at best.  When we were seated they forgot to bring us menus and after 10 minutes of waiting we had to get someone’s attention to get a couple of menus to make our choices for dinner.

In the meant time the amuse bouche of mini arancini balls arrived for us to savor as we made up our minds about what to eat.  Being a Friday night the place was quite full but there was still plenty of time for the staff to stand around the bar for a chat and not tend to their customers.  I had to ask twice to get a soda water…not what I would usually expect here.

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The mini arancini balls – delicious

We decided to start our meal with the shared seafood plate which was made up of 4 oysters kilpatrick, some grilled scallops, smoked salmon and deep fried king prawns served with a tartar sauce.  This was presented well and all tasted great and was a good hearty starter for us as we were both hungry!

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Shared seafood tasting plate

For main course Trevor chose Steak Dianne with steamed vegetables and I chose the Bistecca La Vela served with salad and rosemary roasted potatoes.  Both main courses were plentiful in size and really tasty.  The steak was cooked medium rare as requested and the vegetables steamed so they were just cooked to perfection.  My beef for stuffed with prawns and served with a garlic, mushroom and cream sauce and was delicious.  The oven roasted rosemary potatoes were crisp and tasty.  I think the one thing that let this dish down was the salad which was fairly uninspiring and had no real hint of any sort of dressing on it. Even if the option of a side dish of dressing would have been a nice idea as it was quite dry and it added nothing to the rest of the dish.

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Steak Dianne with steamed vegetables and the Bistecca La Vela with salad and rosemary roasted potatoes

All in all though the food was as we remembered it – good, hearty, big serves all done well and we certainly did not leave needing another thing.  It was let down by service and if there is one thing that I have experienced here in Perth in the past couple of years is the lack to properly trained service staff who really understand what it is to serve customers and offer them a complete dining experience.

It is a great pity that we seem to rely on students and back packers who have no real desire to be doing the jobs but see them purely as a means to an end.  Perhaps if we were like the US where tipping was expected that they might work a little harder to offer better service and thus make the night a better one that we had last night.

I would however recommend La Vela if you want a good traditional Italian meal where you know what you order is what you are going to get.  The prices are reasonable and it is in an easy to get to location on Scarborough Beach Road.

La Vela Restaurant – http://www.lavela.com.au

78 Scarborough Beach Rd,

Scarborough WA 6019
(08) 9245 1634