Celebrating Culture and Camaraderie 9

Bella Vista Social Club & Caffé

Located in the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, Bella Vista Social Club & Caffe, also known as Bella V, is at the center of La Jolla’s science and research community. Because of its proximity to Salk, Scripps, and UC San Diego (UCSD), San Diego’s science, biotech, and research community often frequent the cafe. “If you’re checking out the biotech scene and the Mesa, we’re a must,” says Amanda Caniglia, who co-owns the cafe with her husband, Nico.

Whether you’re in the science industry or not, the cafe prides itself as a welcome place for all. “We’re a central gathering place for people here,” says Amanda. “It’s an approachable, relaxed atmosphere — very welcoming and inclusive.”

From the start, Nico and Amanda wanted to create a piazza, similar to a common gathering place you would find in Italy. “There was something missing here,” says Nico. “We wanted to create a little piazza for La Jolla so people can meet up with friends, family, and their kids.” The cafe also caters events in their auditorium, which fits 180 people, hosting nonprofit and social networking events, symposiums, and speakers.

Bella V’s eclectic menu is influenced by Nico’s 10 years of travel. “I collected a lot of recipes so I was able to create an unusual menu,” he says. Nico attended culinary school in Switzerland, but credits most of his culinary knowledge to what he learned in the kitchen growing up in his Italian family, especially from his mother.

The menu’s global influence pulls from regions like Italy, France, India, and Mexico. Main entrees include paninis, salads, and pastas, such as seafood pasta, gnocchi, and ravioli dishes, with wine, beer, and wine-based cocktail options. Because Bella V posits itself as a social meeting place, they offer a variety of tapas, including calamari, truffle Parmesan French fries, and cauliflower ceviche. Bella V ensures their ingredients are always fresh and their recipes stay consistent.

Bella V’s Happy Hour is prime time for people to gather on their 7,000 square foot ocean view patio. Throughout the week, they feature live music and karaoke nights, cabaret dinners with highly esteemed musical acts, and UCSD Triton Taco Tuesdays. They also host cultural nights that focus on region-specific food and music. “We’re trying to pull people together to celebrate different cultures,” says Amanda. “We have a multi-cultural staff and we speak several languages, and we love cultural exchange and travel. We wanted to infuse that into the space.”

In December, Bella V will host ‘Swissmas’, their annual holiday celebration highlighting Swiss culture, complete with live carols and food tents. Nico’s mobile restaurant, Swieners, will serve their signature Swiss-like hotdog: a baguette stuffed with sausage and melted cheese.

They also have exciting projects in the works, airing their own show and also initiating a GoFundMe campaign to help Bella V optimize the space to better meet their customers’ needs. Head to their website to see what your local hangout spot has in store! BellaVistaCaffe.com