Our History



La Bussola – Since 1974



After traveling throughout most of Canada La Bussola's founders, Franco Coccaro and Lillo Santamaria, fell in love with the beautiful City of Kelowna nestled in the valley along Okanagan Lake. After that, it was just a matter of time before they established La Bussola Restaurant. In fact, La Bussola means compass in Italian and one can therefore appreciate its appropriate name. 

The first Italian fine dining experience in Kelowna was an immediate success.

Franco and Lillo offered traditional Italian meals made with the finest local ingredients as well as an extensive wine list including both Italian and Okanagan wines. Signature dishes such as Scampi La Bussola style brought people near and far to this quaint Italian restaurant in downtown Kelowna.


1990 – Today


In 1990 Lauretta Coccaro, Franco's wife, took over and became head chef and co-owner of La Bussola.

Lauretta not only continued the tradition of La Bussola's signature dishes but also brought new and innovative items to the menu by expanding the boundaries of a traditional Italian dining experience to include more local culinary treasures. In 2004 La Bussola made the move from Leon Avenue to its current location on Ellis Street.

And in 2006 upon graduating from the University of Alberta Franco and Lauretta's son Luigi Coccaro became an integral part of La Bussola.





Continuing in his fathers and mothers footsteps while at the same time completing his diploma in wine and spirits, certified sommelier exam and bachelors of management. One will usually find the family together at the restaurant. Their expertise and passion for food and wine allows them to offer guests a truly unique and wonderful culinary experience in an elegant yet comfortable setting.

In 2015 Francesco Coccaro was inducted in the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame.