La Via is on Glenferrie road in Malvern, and has been around for as long as I can remember. I have been there numerous times for breakfast when I lived in the area but had never got there for dinner, until now.
There is plenty of seating, including on the footpath, and in a small courtyard out the back. I believe there is also a function room upstairs.
I am going to refer to my dining companions as my word nerd group. We all come together as we write or edit, or both, in some capacity for our day jobs, and have a passion for words, grammar etc.
Our leader is Editor L, and we all came to the group through doing one of her courses.
There was eight of us at this get together, my second dinner with the group.
The conversation revolves around books, movies, funny spelling and grammatical mistakes, what people are working on (lots of freelance and contract work is done) and this dinner involved trying to explain Australian politics to an American member. She said she was confused by how we vote and what was going on with the whole KRudd and Julia fiasco, we told her we were all confused as well!
Food was eventually ordered.
But before Editor M could decide what to eat she needed to know what tortoloni was. She turned to the foodie in the group, me. I, sadly, had no idea. We suspected a spelling mistake (joy!), but no, the waiter told us it was a kind of dumpling. That didn’t sound quite right but Editor M decided to give it a go anyway.
There were more greens than anything else, and tortoloni, according to La Via, is a large ravioli or other stuffed pasta type. Google also presumed a spelling mistake when I searched, and once I confirmed what I was looking for, gave limited results where tortolini looked different in every picture!
I had the hot and spicy pizza – hot salami, caramelised onion, capsicum, olives and fresh chilli.
I liked how the pizza came out on wooden boards and they are a good size for one person.
It was a good pizza but there was no hint of the promised hot and spicy, but the caramelised onions gave a nice hit of sweetness.
I washed the pizza down with a glass of Yering Station chardonnay.
I have to mention Editor M’s drink, it came out in such a great bottle.
Other people had different pizzas and I saw at least one pasta dish.
We didn’t have dessert but there is an impressive looking cake display.
La Via does good solid food at a reasonable price, it is not going to blow you away, but with an extensive menu should have something for everyone.
I ordered a take-away hot chocolate to go, with a marshmallow (mandatory) when I paid my bill, and it was promptly brought over to the table.
I left the others happily doing a spelling test.