Most people know California as a home to a vast spectrum of cultures as well as restaurants that showcase them. It is not common for a small café to be home to the first ever type of food item in the state. However, it has happened just minutes away from Costa Mesa High School.
The small, indie eating locations at The Camp in Costa Mesa like Native Foods and Taco Asylum have a new addition: an Italian café called Vitaly.
Initially we were under the impression that Vitaly served only gelato. We were pleasantly surprised to find a full menu including coffee, croissants, soups, salads, and more, and well as an item we had never heard of before - piadinas.
"We are the first restaurant in California to serve piadina," the owner told us.
A piadina is a type of thin Italian flatbread. At Vitaly you can order one the piadina sandwiches on the menu, or fill out a sheet to create your own. The one we tried included fresh mozzarella cheese, lettuce, and layers of an Italian meat called prosciutto. Though it sounds simple, the flavors created fireworks.
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Although the piadinas are admittedly a unique feature, the gelato is definitely the main attraction. There are many ways to experience it, whether in a sundae, a cookie sandwich, in a paper cup, a waffle cup, or a cone. You can even order a container to go. The creamy texture and authentic Italian flavors separate this gelato from all other competitors.
The wide variety of flavors will surely please every tongue. For the more traditional, go with a classic like Raspberry and Strawberry Sorbet, Chocolate, or Mint and Chocolate Chip Stracciatella. For the more adventurous, don't be afraid of choosing a bold flavor like the Ricotta with Pear and Cinnamon or Honey and Lavender. Despite the intimidating names, these flavors will astound you.
Though Vitaly is just a few weeks old, the cafe was buzzing with people of all kinds. We loved the outdoor sitting area and the Coldplay music overhead. The relaxed atmosphere is perfect for chatting over a small meal with a friend or even a date. Overall, Vitaly is sure to become a sweet summer treat.
Written and Photographed by: Natalie Tetreault and Hayley Petersen