La Vela, Solomons, Calvert County, Maryland

For those who sail, the Safe Harbor Marina run by Zahnisers is one of the treasures of the Bay. They have a pool, broad lawns, and all sorts of marine support facilities. And they have a great restaurant, La Vela, on site. La Vela is on the second floor of the main Zahnisers building overlooking the marina. You enter the bar and the first dining area.

There’s more seating on a broad enclosed porch with a beautiful view over the water, even as the sun goes well below the yardarm.

Liza and Michael took Nancy and me to La Vela as a treat. They’re great employers who really know how to reward their Nanny team. (Nancy’s the Nanny, I’m the Principal Deputy Nanny.) They happily double our wages on request, and even let us babysit and have the girls sleep over from time to time, beyond our allotted four days per week. Also, it was Nancy’s birthday.

We arrived, announced ourselves, and ordered drinks at the bar while we waited for our table on the porch. We didn’t have to wait long–we were seated almost as soon as we had our entirely satisfactory drinks in hand. Thus reinforced, we perused the menu in a state of contentment.

For starters we ordered fried green tomatoes topped with mozzarella and basil, resting in a gentle tomato sauce,

which was good. We also ordered a Shrimp Godola, four very nice shrimp on crostini topped with local tomatoes and drenched in a garlicky butter and lemon sauce.

Sensational. I could eat those all day long. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, the tomatoes were local, and the the sharpness of the garlic in the sauce was eased just enough by the lemon and butter counterpoints. I can’t imagine going back without ordering this dish.

On to the main courses. Liza chose the branzino, aka sea bass, in a wine and charred lemon sauce with butter and garlic.

It was served over those very pretty roasted rosemary potatoes and asparagus and, as Liza commented more than once, it was “Delicious!” 

Nancy opted for a special, trout topped with lump — or is that jumbo lump crabmeat over pasta with a butter-wine sauce and lots of capers.

Nancy was mighty pleased. Butter, wine, and capers are a wonderful combination that enhances any pasta or seafood dish. The fish and the pasta both were cooked just enough, and the crab stood forth among the competing flavors.

Michael ordered the Fettuccine Zaffarone. The dish includes diver scallops, lump crabmeat, and Gulf shrimp in a light saffron cream sauce.

Michael was impressed by the amount and quality of the crab, scallops, and shrimp. Like anyone whose family is from New Orleans he thought the sauce could have been richer and laced with more pepper, but all in all it was really, really good. 

I went with my Test The Italian Restaurant dish, Veal Saltimbocca.

It was delicious, with lovely scaloppine of veal topped to cover with fresh sage leaves and prosciutto, all topped with good mozzarella and a pan sauce. This was a very good version of the dish. The veal had been cooked prosciutto side down briefly to crisp the meat enough to bring out its flavor and the flavor of the sage. This is another great combination, another dish done very well.

There may have been a dessert. I had a limoncello, which arrived not as a small bit of liqueur but as a frothy drink in a martini glass. I was surprised, took a sip, found it to my liking, and passed it around. Everyone else liked it as well.

The smiling server did a fine job and every part of the meal was just right. I’ll take a moment here to note that there were four of each item on both of the appetizers, one for each of us. That may have been serendipity, but it was as it always should be. Rather than serve a party of four three or five pieces in an appetizer, restaurants should just add or subtract one to make four. Or simply charge by the piece for appetizers. It’s a small thing, a matter of letting the meal run smoothly, seamlessly, and without math.

Our meal at La Vela was smooth and seamless and, most of all, delicious. It was a meal with no faults and a series of highlights. This was the best of many fine restaurant meals we’ve had in Solomons, and we’ll be back. You should try La Vela.


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5 thoughts on “La Vela, Solomons, Calvert County, Maryland

    1. It was! And I shall! Keep in touch. Nancy and I will be in OK at some point in the next year or three to check off another of our state capital walks. We’ll holler at you


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