“We’re not sacrificing anything, we’re just enhancing it by having a business class experience in our fine dining section.”
The restaurant has experienced several refurbishments over the years, including a few since Todd took over 15 years ago. But the internal dining area still featured the same wall murals and dining settings that it did when they opened in 1983. And while people loved the nostalgia, they felt it was about time for an upgrade.
“It eventually became a bit of a time warp so we decided it was time for a refresh. We put a lot of thought into it – probably the best of four years of researching, developing and planning,” says Todd.
Bella Venezia owner Kristine Ruth adds, “We extensively researched all around the world. What we wanted to achieve with this place was an international standard; five-star.”
What started as an upgrade to the alfresco seating area along the esplanade over a year ago has led to a complete overhaul of the internal fine dining area of the restaurant. With a large wall segmenting the area from the rest of the more casual dining areas, outdated styling and poor acoustics, the internal dining section became Bella Venezia’s weakest link. And so came the plan to transform it to be their strongest.
With refurbishments now complete, all areas have a wonderful flow, from the casual alfresco dining outside, to the back corner of the fine dining area (which still has views of the esplanade).
“We wanted to stick to something that was classic and timeless, something that we don’t have to refresh every three years because it’s outdated,” says Todd.
This includes hand made cornices in the ceilings, gold frames on the mirrors and pictures, and black and white photographs on the walls.
Kristine and Todd wanted to pay homage to the original restaurant and good quality Italian food, while maintaining a family-friendly casual dining experience.
“We’re not sacrificing anything, we’re just enhancing it by having a business class experience in our fine dining section,” she says.
With the new fine dining area a definite drawcard featuring a few special menu options and three-course dining, the whole restaurant has something for everyone. There’s the casual alfresco and arcade dining for beers and pizzas, sit down dining at the front for young families, and high tables for share plates and an after work drink. The same menu will be available across the whole restaurant, so you know you’re getting the finest meals wherever you choose to sit.
The food has always been the hero for Todd and Kristine, and you can sense that when they talk about their menu, right down to the type of flour they use.
“We’ve just launched our spring/summer menu, which is of a hatted standard,” says Todd.
They have a focus on fresh and local produce in all of their meals, including their extra virgin olive oil, which is grown and pressed in Goondiwindi, and the mushrooms on their duck, mushroom and truffle pizza, which are from the Noosa Hinterland. They source their beef locally, and they try to include organic and pesticide-free produce to the menu where they can.
As an Italian restaurant, they also use some of the best Italian produce in a lot of their dishes, including Sicilian olives and traditional Italian flour. Their pasta and pizza bases are handmade on-site every day and you can really taste the difference.
“That’s the flavours of Italy; simple, delicious, local,” says Kristine.
They also have a 200-strong wine list, which features close to 30 different wines by the glass.
“It’s very diverse, there’s something there for everyone, price-point wise as well. It’s definitely in the top three of the Coast and we’re aiming for a two-glass standard,” says Todd.
And perhaps the most important part of the Bella Venezia story is the team’s passion for bringing good quality food and a five-star experience to locals and holidaymakers, so they don’t feel inclined to travel to Noosa or Brisbane for a fine dining experience.
“Ultimately we had a vision and we wanted to create something special for Mooloolaba,” says Kristine.
“We’re trying to create an authentic Italian experience and memories that last forever with your friends and family over good quality food and wine. That’s where people celebrate life and ultimately, that’s what we’re all about.”
95 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba
Phone: 5444 5844