Review: Room for improvement at bella bella

bella bella is a Tallahassee staple.
Photo Submitted by Cyrena Allen

Does bella bella ring any bells? 

Bella bella is an Italian restaurant located on Fifth Avenue just east of North Monroe Street. I have always had a love for pasta and Italian food – even before I was born. My mother literally consumed nothing but pasta all throughout her pregnancy with me, and when I was born the craving for it never left my spirit.

Needless to say, I know my pasta and this Italian gem’s flavors did not disappoint. After walking inside I was immediately surprised by how big the restaurant is. The restaurant appears to offer more space than lighting. 

As I was being seated, the host led me to a smaller table in a dark corner. However, she did ask if I would prefer to sit at another table after noticing the look of disapproval on my face. Finally, after being seated I was greeted by my server who was obviously new to customer service, but polite enough to tolerate. 

As I read over the menu I noticed that the food was a bit pricey, with appetizers starting at $9 excluding the breadbasket, which was only $3. As far as the “hot and hearty” entrees, the prices ranged from about $16-20 including a choice of house salad, Caesar salad, or a cup of soup along with “fresh” bread. 

For my appetizer, I decided on the fried mozzarella sticks served with marinara sauce. I was absolutely blown away with the mozzarella sticks. They were cooked to a golden crisp with a little crunch, not burnt and filled with gooey cheese that oozed in your mouth with every bite. 

Naturally, I had high hopes for my entrée. I was really looking forward to trying a white sauce or alfredo-based pasta because, among others, alfredo is my favorite sauce.

It was to my disappointment that the menu catered mostly to red sauce pasta rather than white. The server explained that I could either do a pink sauce, which is a mix of marinara and alfredo or have alfredo sauce on the side which ultimately put me at ease. 

For my entrée, I decided on the roasted veggie lasagna with added chicken. When my food arrived the portion of lasagna was not exactly what I expected. It was a lot smaller, as was the side salad that I had to remind my server to bring out for me. Although the flavor for both was outstanding, they did not add any chicken to my lasagna. 

I am not sure if it was my server or the kitchen’s fault but I was a bit displeased. As far as the “fresh bread,” it was hard as a rock on the outside and had a chewy consistency on the inside, but the lasagna and salad were so enjoyable I didn’t fuss much. 

I would rate my experience a 7 out of 10 simply because the server did not put in my order correctly and was a little invasive. He must’ve interrupted my conversation about six times over a span of 20 minutes. 

Overall, aside from the small portions of food for the price and a lack of better customer service, I would recommend bella bella – especially if you prefer red sauce pasta over white.