Today, The Beet takes you to the First Plant-Based Italian Wine Bar in the Country, which was the creative vision of Tara Punzone, the Chef and Owner, who moved from Brooklyn, New York to LA and brought with her a passion for healthy southern Italian food, all made vegan.

Chef Tara has been living the vegan lifestyle for over 30 years and has worked in the food industry for more than two decades, when she started to convert her family's traditional Italian dishes to vegan versions, but keep all the taste. She has worked with inspiring chefs to hone her skills, and recently opened Pura Vita in West Hollywood, as the first 100% plant-based Italian restaurant and wine bar in the USA!

"At Pura Vita, we have created a unique dining experience that has the ambiance of a New York City wine bar with a traditional menu reflecting the best of Southern Italy," the restaurant's website tells visitors. "We pride ourselves on using the best organic, sustainable, clean, plant-based ingredients. Additionally, we have many organic gluten-free options for both pasta and bread, in an effort to make sure all of our guests can enjoy our dishes."

The Beet couldn't wait to try it out! Here are some FAQs about Pura Vita. Or just want the video!

1. Is Pura Virta fully vegan or does it just have vegan options?

The entire menu is completely vegan, though they  call themselves "plant-based." From the pasta to salads to the entrees, and not to mention the huge assortment of vegan cheeses that are all nut-based.

2. Why did we order the classic Carbonara and a starter of Caprese Salad?

We ordered three things: The Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and cashew mozzarella, the Carbonara pasta with an avocado “egg”, macadamia nut Romano cream and shiitake “bacon,” and the cauliflower chickpea parmigiana with cashew mozzarella and macadamia nut parmesan.

I cannot express what an enlightening experience eating these dishes was for me, since I am newly plant-based and never knew there could be such delicious vegan Italian food! Everything was so flavorful and freakishly tasted like the real thing, if not better! The vegan cheeses were creamy, flavorful and light. I was genuinely sad when I finished my bowl of pasta and debated ordering others.

3. How’s the service? Does one order and sit down or is there a wait-staff?

The restaurant is sit down style and the employees were very knowledgeable of vegan cuisine, helpful with menu recommendations and very friendly. A great date place!

4. Would you eat here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

I would recommend this spot for a lunch and dinner destination. But honestly, we thought it was so good we would go back as often as we could.

5. Is this place a date spot, business meetings, or family dinner?

Pura Vita is definitely up and coming in the Los Angeles vegan community. It is perfect for any occasion or type of company from business lunch to romantic date night. The menu is exciting and just one visit for lunch or dinner isn’t enough to taste everything it has to offer. The other thing is, non-vegans will love it and not feel they are "compromising" on taste!

6. If we could have ordered one more thing... How could we have missed this?

As my friend Carroll and I enjoyed our ridiculously delicious Pasta Carbonara, we both watched the most beautiful plate of baked ricotta to pass our table. The way this baked ricotta was served was on house-made ciabatta bread. Our waitress informed us that it is the most popular thing on the menu and sells out almost every day. Just another excuse to head back.

7. What’s our overall rating of this restaurant?

We use The Beet Meter for rating products, but we would give this restaurant a five out of five, for taste and ambiance. Pura Vita has mastered Italian vegan cheese to the level of tasting better than the real thing. This is easily the best vegan mozzarella I’ve ever eaten.

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