The summer of 2014 will be the 40th anniversary of La Bussola in Kelowna. Patrons have long appreciated this family-owned restaurant for its fine Italian cuisine, warm ambience and extensive wine collection.

“There is always an owner here—my mom Lauretta is the chef; I run the wine list and we have family-like relations with many of our guests,” says Luigi Coccaro. “We have lots of regular clients; some have eaten here longer than I’ve been around.”

Lauretta and Luigi’s father Francesco, who started La Bussola in 1974, were born in Valle dell’Angelo, Salerno, Italy, providing the inspiration for the authentic menu. Lauretta’s expertly prepared dishes include original family recipes. Clients’ favourite selections include Penne all’Amatriciana—penne with Italian bacon, peppers, egg and tomato sauce—and Scampi Bussola Style, butterflied and baked in a light lemon sauce. Seafood Ravioli and Crespelle, or Italian crepes are also popular.

Luigi, a certified sommelier, says the wine selection is heavily rooted in Italy with Okanagan wines the second largest category. In 2013, Luigi introduced La Bussola’s ‘smart list’, an electronic wine menu presented to guests on a tablet, to simplify their search and direct them to wines of interest.

“Our list shows great depth with both old and new world selections, select cult status wines, first growth Bordeaux, and we are one of the very few restaurants to offer rare, unique wines from great vintages dating back to the 90s.”

La Bussola hosts many wine events throughout the year. “We bring in winemakers whenever possible and host as many dinners as we can,” says Luigi. He invites patrons to join the La Bussola Wine Club. E-mail Luigi at with your contact information to receive news of special events.

~ Dona Sturmanis