Mary Kay and Jim Berarducci run a tiny Italian restaurant overlooking a massive lake. The combination of cozy atmosphere, magnificent view and delicious cuisine is no accident; “va bene” is Italian for “it goes well.” Readers of Perfect Duluth Day agree it does, indeed, go well. In a poll they chose Va Bene Caffé as Duluth’s best Italian restaurant.
The menu includes antipasta appetizers, pizza, panini, gnocchi, pasta, fish, steak, soups and salads. Many items, such as the sauces, dressings and breads, are made from scratch with imported Italian products.
Dessert items often steal the show, however. Va Bene’s gelato/sorbet bar offers about a dozen flavors every day, with new options frequently rotated in, such as bananas foster, limoncello, Mackinaw Island fudge, white chocolate raspberry swirl, lavendar honey, Italian pistachio and Madagascar bourbon vanilla.
In addition to the enclosed solarium looking out over Lake Superior, which has served as the restaurant’s main dining area since it opened in 2006, there is also a four-table open-air grotto that opened this summer with more views of the Gitche Gumee.
Va Bene gathered 40 percent of the best Italian restaurant vote. Honorable mentions go to Bellisio’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar, Valentini’s Vicino Lago and Gannucci’s Italian Market, each of which grabbed about an 18 percent chunk of the pizza pie.
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