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Enjoy the dining good life at Bona Vita Italian Bistro

By Doug Fox daily Herald - | Sep 11, 2014

One wouldn’t necessarily expect to find fine Italian dining in an outlet mall. But in the case of Bona Vita Italian Bistro, one would be wrong.

We actually stumbled across the charms of Bona Vita out of necessity. It was Labor Day and one of my daughters happened to be driving to her Idaho home after a long weekend in southern Utah. Her schedule didn’t include time for an extended visit, so we made plans to meet for dinner. Looking for a restaurant convenient for a quick detour off I-15, we settled on Bona Vita, which is located in the Outlets at Traverse Mountain in Lehi.

Bona Vita was much more than any of our familial group expected. The restaurant, which opened in December, features a nice, cozy interior with a combination of booths on one side, and bench and chair seating on the other. There is also an upper level, which was closed during our visit, which looked quiet and inviting. There were also several tables outside in front of the restaurant, which would be an enjoyable hang before the cold temperatures of winter take over. The walls featured frames showing off rock art, which was a unique touch.

Our server was extremely friendly and quite willing to take some extra time explaining the menu and answering our questions.

One thing we can say right up front — we pretty much loved everything we ordered. That fact alone certainly will create a return-visit quandary: There are undoubtedly many more great dishes waiting to be sampled but how do you not go with what was so delicious the first time? Ah, but that’s a dilemma for another day.

While we were noshing on the complimentary focaccia bread, I opted to follow one of our server’s recommendations and ordered the BV Burger, a house specialty. Yes, we realize a burger doesn’t necessarily scream Italian, but mamma mia, it was well-proportioned and delicious. The 1/2-pound prime Angus beef burger is served on a Ciabatta roll, so there is an Italian influence. The burger was loaded with grilled onions, mushrooms, peppers and mozzarella cheese, and each bite was a big gulp of heaven. It also came with a side of beer-battered Sidewinder (potato) Wedges. Nice.

The Chicken Pesto sandwich was also a highlight. It featured a grilled chicken fillet with onions, peppers, Provolone cheese and a creamy pesto sauce. It also was served on Ciabatta bread.

Another delight was the Margherita pizza. The pizzas are 10 inches and baked on a thin crust. The Margherita includes garlic, basil, oregano, cheese and tomato sauce. There are a half-dozen additional pizza choices as well with intriguing titles ranging from Galeano to Diavola Pepperoni.

One of our teenage daughters is a notoriously picky eater. Luckily she is a sucker for pasta — of which there were no shortage of options at Bona Vita. Eschewing all the elaborate fettuccine and penne pasta dishes, she opted for the pretty straightforward Spaghetti Polpette, which included meatballs. While she wasn’t a fan of the meatballs — not a surprise, really — she did enjoy the spaghetti.

As for kids meal choices, there were two: Mac & Cheese, and Kid Pasta. Our youngest two shared the rich and creamy Mac & Cheese. It was excellent — and don’t think we didn’t sneak a few forkfuls when they weren’t looking!

Personally, I’m somewhat of a flavored lemonade aficionado. There were several fruity choices, but I am here to tell you that the strawberry lemonade with a vanilla add-on was among the best in the county. Loved it!

Despite being extremely full — and having plenty to take home with us — we couldn’t turn down the temptation of dessert. Our group made short work of the Molten White Chocolate Lava Cake. It was a delicious topper to our excellent meal.

As previously mentioned, there were many sections of the menu to which we couldn’t possibly get. There’s five appetizers, five salads, five sandwiches, five raviolis — are you sensing a trend yet? — and 16 pasta dishes. Return visits will definitely be in order.

BONA VITA ITALIAN BISTRO

Where: 3700 Cabelas Blvd. Suite 355, Lehi

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Prices: $4.95-$17.95

Info: (801) 901-1955, www.facebook.com/BonaVitaLehi

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