A Fine Dining Evolution at Bella Venezia
Proving that your forties can be fabulous, Bella Venezia firmly positions itself as a dining experience that will never go out of style. Deb Caruso discovers what’s next for this powerhouse palate-pleaser.
For four decades Bella Venezia at Mooloolaba has been one of the Sunshine Coast’s favourite dining destinations with an awards list that keeps growing.
After a year full of global and local accolades in 2022, this year is already off to a cracking start with the modern Italian restaurant earning an Australian Good Food Guide Chef’s Hat as well as the Readers’ Choice Award for Best Italian Restaurant for 2023 – Sunshine Coast Region!
Business owners Kristine and Todd Young said they were absolutely thrilled to win an AGFG Reader’s Choice Award for the fifth consecutive year.
“The Readers’ Choice Award means a lot to us as it is voted for by our customers,” Kristine said. “This is fantastic recognition for all of our team’s hard work and dedication.
“Bella Venezia has evolved over the years to become a beloved and iconic Sunshine Coast dining institution and we are honoured to win this award again. We are very grateful to our customers for voting for us!”
With all the accolades, the couple are not resting on their laurels with exciting plans for the year ahead.
Todd said they were focused on refining the menu and the dining experience during their 40th year and since returning from a trip to Europe last year, the focus has been on bringing the outstanding experiences home.
“We want to create magic here that you don’t have to travel across the world for,” he said. “We believe we can deliver a fine dining experience with a Sunshine Coast flavour to suit our coastal lifestyle.”
For Todd that started with elevating the experience in the two fine dining rooms from start to finish with a different menu as well as more refined table settings, cutlery and specific stemware to match the wine choices.
The menu features the most outstanding dishes from the venue as well as a four-course degustation with the option of matching wines that have been hand-selected from the extensive and award-winning wine list.
“We can deliver an exceptional experience where all the right notes are hit – the food, the wine, the service – with a relaxed, friendly vibe that makes our customers feel special.
“So when people leave hopefully we’ve nailed all the elements and they feel like they’ve had something really special and look forward to coming back and sharing the experience with others.”
Kristine said Bella Venezia would still offer relaxed dining options, including the champagne garden, where guests can order handcrafted pizza as well as a la carte and access the full wine list.
“The experience needs to match the occasion,” Kristine said. “We know guests love Bella Venezia for celebrations and special occasions and we can offer options to suit their needs.”
Kristine said seasonality and sustainability was important to the restaurant with most of the food sourced from local farmers within a hundred-kilometer radius.
“That has always been really important for us and we’ll be focusing more on highlighting the regionality of the dishes on the menu,” she said.
Also inspired by the Europe trip, they are looking to introduce a Breakfast experience in time for Easter.
“We want to provide a five-star breakfast option that’s currently not catered for,” Kristine said. “We want diners to enjoy a sophisticated breakfast by the sea with white tablecloths, ocean views, table service and healthy, fresh options with a global flavour.
Todd said there’s been a high demand from customers, and they are focusing on filling a gap.
“We’ll have beautiful Italian roast coffee, fresh produce, amazing service – there’s nowhere in Mooloolaba that offers tablecloth service for breakfast,” he said.
Introducing breakfast will allow Bella Venezia to be an all-day dining destination – from mimosas in the morning to after-dinner dessert.
Kristine said they would be able to offer options all day to capture the holiday spirit.
“Whatever you’re in the mood for, we’re here,” she said.
“Our senior staff are industry professionals who have been working with us a long time so it’s nice to also offer them different opportunities.
“They are our A-team and they put a lot in because running this business is 364 days a year.”
“They’ve worked so hard all summer to ensure everything is delivered in the right way,” she said. “Todd makes sure all the boxes get ticked and empowers our team of 58 staff with dedication and expertise. We make an incredible team.”
Since we’ve been sharing the Bella Venezia story in IN Noosa Magazine, Kristine and Todd said they have loved greeting customers from Noosa.
“We love helping customers access amazing wines through the Coravin system that allows for rare and specialized wines to be ordered by the glass and matched to award-winning dishes,” she said.
The evolution of Bella Venezia from a pizza and pasta restaurant to one that offers a fine dining experience has been a while in the making. While Kristine has been involved in the business for almost eight years bringing marketing skills and creative direction, Todd has been managing the business for 20 of the last 40 years.
The evolution continues for Bella Venezia which is now owned by Kristine and Todd.
Like me, you might remember going to Bella Venezia in the day when it was a pizza and pasta bar. And if you had your photo taken in front of the mural of Venice, don’t worry, it’s still there behind the glass – like a time capsule of dining history.
The expansion of Bella Venezia has seen a lot of changes, including expanding into space at the front and most recently, adding an additional prep kitchen where they handmake most of the ingredients including pasta and pizza.
Kristine and Todd, together with a talented team of chefs, sommeliers and front-of-house staff honour their own skills while tapping into the nostalgia of amazing food experiences from around the world and delivering it to our doorstep.
“We love that we are that place where people go for their first date, engagement dinner, birthdays and special occasions,” she said. “We have clients who have celebrated all the key milestones here – and now their kids are doing the same.”