Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tony's Bella Vista a Beautiful Sight?

Tony's Bella Vista
3116 West Magnolia
Burbank, CA 91505

It is Katie's grandfathers birthday, so we headed up to Burbank to take him out for dinner. Since I have been dating Katie, trips up to LA have been more and more common than in my past, and that means many more restaurants to try. Tonight it is Tony's Bella Vista in Burbank that I get to experience for the first time.

Tony's holds a special place in the hearts of Katie's family. It is a place where her parents went on dates, many, many, many years ago. They have held wedding dinners, baby showers, and even wakes at Tony's. Now it is grandpa's turn to be the guest of honor at Tony's Bella Vista.

Tony's has been around since 1965, and it shows in the atmosphere. The restaurant area is dark, and not very decorative. Big red leather booths and paintings on the walls dominate the place, and add to the old school feel of the restaurant. Brothers, Angelo and Giovanni bought the place from the original owners back in 1987, and still use their original recipes to this day. Those recipes have won Tony's Bella Vista countless awards for best pizza in Burbank. Let's see if the awards are deserved.

We were all really hungry so we started off with an order of Garlic Bread. This garlic bread looks better in the picture than it tasted. The crust was too hard, and the insides were not soft. The price was right for this, $2.95, and it did have a mild garlic taste.

The other appetizer we tried was the Fried Calamari. I thought that this was a decent calamari. Cooked well, and seasoned fine. It did not really standout as one of the best calamaris I have ever had, but I found myself eating a lot of this. Again, maybe I was just hungry.

We each ordered an entree, and this is the soup and salad that came with the meals. Nothing out of the ordinary here. The soup was Kevin's, and he was not enamored with it. I am not sure what kind of soup it was, but from the picture it looks like it could be vegetable.

When I see Carbonara on a menu, I generally always gravitate towards it. I did the same here. This is the Spaghetti Carbonara. This was a very different carbonara from what I was used to. The sauce was more like an Alfredo sauce, very heavy. The sauce was also kind of bland. I really needed to doctor this dish up with lots of Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. The meat that was incorporated into this dish, usually bacon, guanciale, or pancetta, ( I could not tell what they used here), was not very salty, and thus added nothing to this dish. Not very happy with this.

Katie, on the other hand, could not be more pleased with her choice for the night, the Tortellini 3P. Why do they call it that you ask? Because it comes with Peas, Prosciutto, and Parmigiano. This was also a very rich dish. Katie felt that the plate was made up of very fresh ingredients.

The big draw at Tony's is of course the pizza. Here is a slice of pepperoni and sausage, with the thin crust. This was one of the thinnest crusts I have ever seen. Very close to the the width of a tortilla. I am usually not too big on crust, but even I wanted more crust than this. The toppings were okay here, and the sausage really did not standout. The cheese had a good flavor though. Katie complained that this had too much grease on top of it.

Katie's wise aunts and uncles got the much better pizza at the table. They went with the Ham, Artichoke, Sliced Tomatoes, and Basil Pizza. The toppings on this were not my cup of tea, but the crust was the thicker regular crust. A much better crust, than the thin one. The toppings on this were good, but a little too mellow for me. These toppings almost tasted like they were good for you, and when I eat pizza, I want to know that I am eating something bad.

Tony's Bella Vista is a family style restaurant. Do not go here for a romantic night out on the town. You are not going to have the best Italian food of your life here. You need to take it for what it is. It is a family run restaurant that makes everyone feel comfortable. The quantity of food that you get for the price is very reasonable. The service was pretty good for our party of 15. I did think it was a little odd that they serve their sodas out of the can, but that just shows how old school this place is.

Out of five cantaloupes, (because the first official seal of  Burbank had a cantaloupe on it), five being best to zero being worst, Tony's Bella Vista gets 2.5 cantaloupes.

Tony's does not have a web site, but you can find information about them here:

Tony's Bella Vista Ristorante on Urbanspoon


  1. What!!!!!!! A 2.5?????? The family is not happy. This is a Burbank landmark, a date night place. Your public demands a revisit

  2. Anonymous/Dennis - The family is not happy, and I was less than pleased eating here. Average at best. A landmark? Maybe, but I would definitely give this place another chance. Thanks for the comment!