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Posted by DID 9 Nov 2011 9 Comments

Vita is one of those places in Durham that doesn’t get a lot of buzz, but it  fills a certain niche in town. It’s one of the few non-pub places where one can enjoy a respectable dinner in a lovely atmosphere with a glass of wine for less than $15.

Located next door to Durham staple Parizade, Vita is Italian as well and also part of the George Bakatsias empire. Similar to Verde, which used to be in this spot, Vita has a nice unstuffy but upscale feel. On a Saturday night Vita was pretty crowded, but a group of six of us were able to walk in at 7:30 and get a table. There was a live band playing instrumental pop standards in the corner. If you’re not a fan of loud restaurant chatter, you may want to pick a night there aren’t live musicians to check out Vita.

Starving, we ordered the antipasti platter as an appetizer only to be pleasantly surprised by the large pile of rustic bread that quickly showed up on the table. Both were good. The antipasti platter (a splurge compared to rest of the menu at $12) came with a hunk of blue cheese, handful of olives, roasted red peppers and stacks of crostini, proscuitto and salami (picture was snapped after we’d already consumed most of it). The bread came with an olive oil/balsamic mix and a head of roasted garlic, which was a nice touch.

For our entrees we choose lasagna, a roasted vegetable/goat cheese/arugula pizza, roasted veggie calzones and roast chicken over risotto. Vita’s prices have gone up since they’ve last updated their online menu, but they are still very affordable – a hefty portion of lasagna was $10, the oversized calzones $8,  pizza $10 and the risotto $12. A table of sharers, I was able to snag bites of almost everything. The calzones were exactly what you want them to be – bready, oozing with cheese and filled with roasted peppers, onions, zucchini and squash. The lasagna, more meat than sauce and cheese, inspired someone to say “I feel like I’m just eating a big hunk of sausage,” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The pizza was my favorite – crispy crust, goat cheese and roasted veggies topped with tons of fresh arugula. I didn’t get to try the risotto and chicken, but was assured it was excellent.

Vita has a different drink special every night of the week and on Saturdays, Vita’s already reasonable bottles of wine are 25% off. We ordered two bottles for the table to split, which gave five of us more than two glasses each for less than $5 a person. On Tuesdays and Fridays, all of their specialty martini’s are $4, which I look forward to trying.

Only because there are so many outstanding places to dine in Durham – I wouldn’t necessary send out-of-town guests to Vita, but it is a great spot for a date or nice dinner with friends. I had the calzone (with over half leftover) and two large glasses of wine for $13, which makes Vita one of the best deals in town.

Erwin Square
2200 W Main St
Durham, NC 27709


  • R.G. said:

    I like Vita and eat dinner there once a month or so and always enjoy the food and pretty good service.

    If they had draft beer I’d probably eat there once a week. A bar of that size should have some taps!


  • tsq75 said:

    Um…i have definitely never had to pay $15 for a decent glass of wine in this town. at most $8 or 9…


    Nines replies on November 10th, 2011 at 3:24 pm:

    They are saying the entire meal with the wine is less than $15, not just the wine.


    DID replies on November 11th, 2011 at 1:22 am:

    yep Nines is right – I was saying nice meal and a glass of wine both for under $15


  • Amy said:

    We had a really bad experience at Verde and have never considered Vita. Your article makes it sound like it might be worth a second chance. We’ll try again. Thanks.


  • Food Snob Durham said:

    We agree on the great value for the price. See our review of Vita (and more pictures) at http://www.foodsnobdurham.com/post/8609704686/vita-affordable-italian-food-and-newbie-waiters.


  • pau said:

    Vita has good food– fresh, reasonably priced, and tasty. I think Vita has one of THE BEST desserts in Durham too. Again, well-priced, but very creative and always tasty. Can’t think of a place right now that has better dessert.


    MEZ replies on June 28th, 2012 at 2:34 pm:

    What’s the dessert that so impressed you? I’m always interested in dessert.


    DID replies on July 2nd, 2012 at 9:20 am:

    MEZ – you’d dig their martini’s – I love the strawberry balsamic – only $4 on Friday nights


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