So I got a marketing email from Bella Italia. Now my experience of Bella Italia is that this is a chain restaurant serving Italian food, in the main pizza and pasta.
So I was a little surprised to see these options promoted on their new menu.
Nachos, well not quite, but pretty much nachos and salsa.
BBQ ribs with fries, no attempt here to even Italianise the dish!
Hickory or Buffalo chicken wings, with pecorino cheese.
I kind of understand that they want to widen the appeal of the menu, but I personally don’t think this is the way. They already have burgers on the menu, so these add to the non-Italian choices available.
I guess they did some marketing, and people were saying (or complaining) about the limited menu choices for those that don’t like pizza or pasta. Though if I was going out to eat and I didn’t want pizza or pasta, I wouldn’t go to Bella Italia.
I also think there are lots of Italian dishes which aren’t pizza or pasta which could be on the menu. For example there is only one fish dish on the menu, there are lots of Italian fish dishes out there. I guess, knowing how these chains operate that cooking Italian dishes fresh to order isn’t how the kitchen process works.
I was just a little surprised to see American dishes such as wings and ribs on the new menu.
Iwas out for a meal at Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway. It’s being a while since I was last here, but I do remember have an excellent meal here back in June 2021. I did notice that Bella Italia at Cabot Circus which has been closed for a while, is now going to be a Bao Burger. I found that branch lacked character and atmosphere, whereas the Cribbs Causeway branch has a little more character and charm. They’ve updated it over the years and though at some time it had a classic Italian trattoria feel to it, today it is slightly more of a Italian inspired funky look.
We had booked, which having arrive, made sense, as the place was rather full. We were given a friendly welcome and we were shown to our table.
I looked over the menu. I didn’t think it was as interesting as it was back in June 2021, but there were some dishes I did like the sound of.In the end I went with the set menu, and I had a starter of Mushroom Crostini, which I enjoyed.
For my main I did initially think about having their new(ish) Pinsa Pizza.
With a bigger, thicker, crispier base, this traditional premium Italian Pinsa is hard to beat
I suspect if they had a white base pizza with mushroom and truffle then I would have gone for that. In the end I decided I would go with a pasta dish and I chose the Pollo Cacciatore – Roast chicken, pancetta, chestnut mushrooms and red onions tossed with pappardelle pasta in a white wine and tomato sauce. I did look at the image on the online menu and liked the look of the dish.
The dish which arrived didn’t quite look like the picture on the online menu!
This is what I received.
This is what the online version looked like.
Having said that the pappardelle pasta was cooked well, and I liked the mushrooms and red onion in the dish. I could have quite easily lost the chicken though. The sauce was tasty and I had some extra parmesan added which enhanced the dish.
Overall I did enjoy my food and I enjoyed all three dishes I had from the set menu. I think after having such an excellent meal back in June 2021, I was a little disappointed. I think that it didn’t help that the dishes I received on my table didn’t reflect what was on the menu. Maybe they shouldn’t publish photographs of the dishes on the website. I probably will visit again at some time.
I was out for a meal at Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway. It’s being a while since I was last here, but I do remember have an excellent meal here back in June 2021. I did notice that Bella Italia at Cabot Circus which has been closed for a while, is now going to be a Bao Burger. I found that branch lacked character and atmosphere, whereas the Cribbs Causeway branch has a little more character and charm. They’ve updated it over the years and though at some time it had a classic Italian trattoria feel to it, today it is slightly more of a Italian inspired funky look.
We had booked, which having arrive, made sense, as the place was rather full. We were given a friendly welcome and we were shown to our table.
I looked over the menu. I didn’t think it was as interesting as it was back in June 2021, but there were some dishes I did like the sound of.
In the end I went with the set menu, and I had a starter of Mushroom Crostini.
This was chestnut mushrooms cooked in a creamy porcini sauce served on toasted ciabatta slices.
Apart from the fact I think it may have been sitting for a while as the toasted ciabatta was a little soggy. I really did like this dish. The mushrooms were cooked well and the sauce was rich, savoury and had an excellent mushroom flavour.
This was an excellent starter and so much better than the similar sounding Funghi Arrosto mushroom starter I once had in Leeds in 2019.
I was out for a meal at Bella Italia and I had a dessert, Tiramisu.
An italian classic! Espresso & Marsala soaked sponge layered with sweet mascarpone cream and finished with Amaretti biscuit crumb and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Yes, I also did wonder where the Amaretti biscuit crumb was too!
One of the issues I find sometimes in places, is you read the menu, order the dish, the menu is taken away and then you receive your dish. You feel something is not right. You then later review the menu, and in this instance you realise that the Amaretti biscuit crumb was missing. It also did not look like what was on the online menu.
I have found that this sometimes happens too often. It has happened before at Bella Italia up in Leeds with a mushroom dish I ordered, then I did complain.
I was a little disappointed with the look of the dish. The photograph doesn’t really show how sunken the Tiramisu was. It did look like it had been in the fridge for a long time!
As a Tiramisu it was okay. I think there needed to be a stronger espresso and Marsala flavour in there. The missing biscuit crumb would have added some much needed texture.
I had this as part of a set menu (so about £3.50) but this was not worth the price of £5.99.
I don’t think I would be ordering this again in the future.
I have had the Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza before, which apart from the chilli I had enjoyed. On a visit to Bella Italia for my birthday back in April I decided to have the pizza again. The Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza comes with basilicata sausage, tenderstem broccoli, red chilli & garlic topped with mozzarella and pecorino cheese on a creamy mascarpone base with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
I did enjoy the white base, and toppings. I did this time remove most of the chillis.
Back in July we went out to eat for a family celebration. We went to Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway, having quite enjoyed our last visit there in June. The fact they do some good gluten free dishes was also a factor in us choosing it.
We had a lovely warm welcome from the staff and they showed us to our table. We had a good look over the menu.
I had a starter, it was the Tomino con Parma. This was soft Italian cheese wrapped with prosciutto ham and fresh sage, baked in the oven and served with pasta fritti. I hadn’t seen a picture and was a little surprised by what I got.
Having said that, it was an interesting starter, but I really didn’t think much of it, and I wouldn’t have it again.
For my main course I went with the Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza, this was pizza with Basilicata sausage, tenderstem broccoli, red chilli & garlic topped with mozzarella and pecorino cheese on a creamy mascarpone base with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
What I liked about the pizza was that this was quite different to regular pizza, the addition of broccoli and a white base was really nice. I liked the different cheeses as well. It was tasty, but for me there was a little too much chilli on the pizza.
Overall I have been impressed with my most recent visits to Bella Italia. The food has been more interesting, better quality and the service we have had, has been excellent. Well impressed.
Our initial idea was to go to the cinema, though there was nothing at the cinema we could watch, so made the decision we would go out to eat at Bella Italia at the Mall. Virtually all the major chains in Weston have closed now, so wanting to ensure that the menu had gluten free options, we decided to head to the Mall.
Well as we hit the M5 northbound it was chocked full and slow moving, we thought we made a mistake. But eventually it thinned out and we could go faster. We got to Bella Italia just in time.
We had a lovely warm welcome from the staff and they showed us to our table.
We had a good look over the menu. It looked like there was a lot more on there than when I last looked (which was probably last summer).
Though I like starters I usually don’t have a starter, but as others in the family were going for garlic bread, I looked over the possible choices. The calamari would have been an obvious choice for me. So I decided on the Calzonetti ‘Nduj, as I was thinking about pasta for my main course. However a last minute change of thought resulted in me actually ordering the Arancini al Granchio
There are crispy rice balls filled with crab, prawns and fennel with a side of lemon & cracked pepper mayonnaise.
They were very nice, not outstanding, but they were nice. You could taste the crab and the mayonnaise with the crunchy exterior.
For my main course I went with a pasta dish, Salsiccia Mezzaluna.
Fresh mezzaluna pasta filled with Luganica sausage & radiccio, cooked in a sage butter and finished with toasted hazelnuts and a beef dripping pangrattato crumb.
This just sounded divine and to be honest it was totally delicious. The pasta was al dente, the filling had a nice flavour, I think it could have been stronger, but I loved the sage butter and the toasted hazelnuts and pangrattato crumb added real silkiness and crunch to the dish.
I loved it.
I wasn’t full, so went for a dessert, the raspberry and pistachio semifreddo with white chocolate and marshmallow sauce.
This was nice, but I felt it could do with more pistachio and more sauce. Having said that I really enjoyed it.
As for the rest of the family, my better half went with theFunghi Crema made with chestnut mushrooms in a porcini, mascarpone & pecorino cheese sauce with fresh mafalde pasta ribbons.
She really enjoyed the dish and it looked great.
My youngest had a gluten free Marghaerita, whilst my son had the gluten free Pepperoni with tomato, mozzarella, salami piccante, red onion, garlic and rocket.
They both enjoyed their pizza.
My son also had the warm gluten free chocolate brownie with white chocolate chunks served with vegan vanilla gelato and a sprinkling of honeycomb.
He finished off the plate of food
This was probably one of the best meals I have ever had at Bella Italia, really enjoyed the experience, the food and the service.
Now as we start to leave the third lockdown I have been reflecting on some meals I had out over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I forget to write up the meal.
Back in May 2019 we went out for pizza at Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway. I had the Funghi Luganica, a ‘white pizza’ with a mascarpone and porcini base, topped with garlic & thyme chestnut mushrooms, pancetta, Luganica sausage and mozzarella.
I did enjoy this pizza and it was very woodland like in appearance and taste. It had a woodland or forest feel to it. I really enjoyed the mushrooms, which had very much a roasted flavour, rather than the insipid soggy texture and flavour you can usually find on some pizzas. The crumbled sausage added texture, saltiness as well as a meaty flavour to the pizza. I liked the fact that this was a ‘white pizza’ so no tomato. I do quite enjoy these kinds of pizza, however one day I will try and make my own ‘white pizza’.
I think this was the first time I had this pizza and enjoyed it so much that on return visits to Bella Italia I ordered it again in July at Cribbs Causeway and also ordered it when I was at a branch at Bella Italia in Leeds, which wasn’t as good as the versions I had earlier.
On my most most recent visit to Bella Italia which was way back in February 2020, just before lockdown, I actually went with a Calzone pizza. I don’t recall if the Funghi Luganica was on the menu or not, having checked the current menu it’s no longer there.
As I was going through some photographs I realised that this meal I had last September wasn’t on the blog. I was up in Leeds and staying at the Woodlands Hotel. This was a really nice hotel outside Leeds, so plenty of parking, and it was cheaper than a city centre Premier Inn.
I decided to go out to eat. I planned to go to Morley which had an interesting choice of restaurants, however the road there was closed due to an accident. So in the end I went to the Centre 27 Business Park and as I had a voucher, I went to Bella Italia.
I had a warm welcome and though the place was busy I was shown to a table and I looked over the menu. I ordered the Funghi Arrosto mushroom starter, which was described in the menu as chestnut mushrooms oven-baked with wilted baby spinach leaves in a mascarpone and porcini sauce. Served with toasted ciabatta. It sounded rather nice. However when it arrived didn’t have any spinach.
When I complained initially I was told the spinach was mixed into the sauce. Knowing that wasn’t the case, the menu had said wilted baby spinach I had to go to the Bella Italia website and find the picture of the dish with the description.
I complained again, showed the picture and compared it to what I had received, and this time I was taken seriously. The dish was replaced.
This time it looked more like the menu picture, so much better, though I think the ciabatta could have been toasted more, but I was a little tired of complaining and I was hungry. I really shouldn’t have had to complain twice, I shouldn’t have even needed to complain once!
For my mains I had a mushroom pizza, can you tell I was in the mood for mushrooms. I ordered the Funghi Luganica – A ‘white pizza’ with a mascarpone and porcini base, topped with garlic & thyme chestnut mushrooms, pancetta, Luganica sausage and mozzarella.
I’ve had this pizza before at Bella Italia and I enjoyed it last time, and I enjoyed it this time as well, though it was a little overdone to my taste. The base is mushroomy (is that a word) and savoury, over the traditional tomato that you find on most pizza. The chunks of mushroom on the pizza were very nice and I really enjoyed them.
I decided not to have a desert.
I did later complain and got a £20 voucher to spend on a future visit to Bella Italia.
That branch of Bella Italia has now permanently closed.