Location: 123 East 5th Avenue Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Dinner Prices: Starters – $2.00 to $8.00
Meals – $13.00 to $18.00
Bella Bella is a locally owned Italian restaurant in Tallahassee. It has been opened for about 10 years. Lunch at Bella Bella has a menu of Italian sandwiches while Dinner is dominated by classics and pastas. The restaurant does offer an extensive wine menu.
Atmosphere: The place aims for a romantic atmosphere and it nails it. This place is perfect for dates. The music is soft and moody Italian songs, the lighting is dark and each table has a candle on it. The colors of the walls and the table cloths have a modern feel to them. The artwork on the windows is inviting. The restaurant does have one odd thing about it. There are 3 different doors to enter Bella Bella. Two doors on each end and one in the middle. The hostess table is located in the middle of the restaurant. This throws me off every time and it is awkward to walk through the restaurant to reach this table.
The atmosphere gets a 4.5/5. Go through the middle door to avoid that awkward walk.
Service: The service at Bella Bella is casual. I find this to be a good thing as it seems to reinforce the date type atmosphere. The waiter was dressed nicely and was able to explain the specials in a decent amount of detail. Some of the tables had fresh salt and pepper grinders while others had normal salt and pepper shakers. This was weird to me. There were also a few times where the waiter tried to take away food before the table was finished with it. This was annoying for obvious reasons. Of the times I have been to Bella Bella this is the only time I have had a problem with this. Regardless, since it happened the time I was reviewing it I must put it into my score.
The service gets a 3.5/5
Food: The complementary bread was brought to the table shortly after ordering. It was warm from the oven. The bread had a crusty outside with a soft inside. My only complaint about the bread was the butter that came with it. The amount of bread we received did not correlate with the amount of butter we got. Bring more butter please.
Each order comes with a salad or a soup. I opted to get the Clam Chowder with my order. The soup was good but not my favorite. I had nice hearty pieces of potato but the clam pieces were small. The broth felt that it was well seasoned but still missing something. If there were other vegetables in the soup they got lost in translation. I think next time I am getting the salad.
For my entree I ordered one of the off the menu specials they offer every day. I received ravioli stuffed with shrimp and sausage in a pesto cream sauce. It was sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese on top. The pasta was cooked al dente which is important for ravioli. When cooked longer for that the inside of the pasta tends to dry out. This filling was delicious. The cheese was creamy, the chunks of sausage were well seasoned, and there was a nice shrimp flavor. If anything was missing from the filling it was the texture of the shrimp. The shrimp was purred into the filling even though the sausage was not. The sauce was perfect. It was a great blend of pesto and cream. Neither element was overpowering.
Overall: Bella Bella continues to be one of my favorite places in Tallahassee to head to on a date night. The place has been around for a long time and its maturity shows. It’s an imitate Italian food experience.
Bella Bella gets a 4 out of 5.