It’s always worrying when a place you treasure announces expansion plans – change does not always mean better.
But in the case of Bella Italia, there was no need to fret. It is bigger with more tables and a spacious seating area.
However it has lost none of its charm, friendly service or tasty food. It was news of these changes which prompted a second visit for the purpose of review.
I have been plenty of times in the past 18 months – and have noted the fresher and brighter decor.
And, though, the kitchen was always open plan, so diners could see the chef at work, its spotless stainless steel fittings are now more exposed.
My dining companion and myself enjoy that aspect of Bella Italia – Lazenby’s in Scarborough has a smiliar layout and it creates a homely atmosphere.
Bella Italia is family run – and there is a smile and a warm welcome for everyone, especially the young customers who were made a real fuss of.
It the decor is brighter and fresher, one thing that has not changed is the food – it was still excellent.
The menu has a range of pasta dishes, pizzas, steaks, chicken, fish and specials.
There are sides of salads, vegetables, fries and garlic bread – and an extensive wine list and liquors to linger over.
We had plenty of time to peruse the menu and once we had ordered, a slice of crispy, tomato covered bruschetta was served while we waited for it to be served. Though not unique to that restaurant, it is a lovely touch.
My companion chose the antipasto as a starter (£6.50) and a generous plate of attractively arranged cold meats and cheese, with salad garnish, arrived. It was declared delicious.
Melon and prosciutto (£6.50) was my choice. A generous portion of juicy fruit covered with salty, soft, chewy ham duly arrived. I could have made a meal out of that alone.
We shared a garlic and tomato bread – stonebaked crispy base with sweet tomato and tangy garlic covering.
There is no mistaking this home-made treat for mass-produced supermarket poor substitute.
Penne vodka – with ham –was my companion’s main of choice and was, she declared, the best pasta sauce she had ever had (£8.10).
Tagliatelle chef – a mix of tender pieces of steak in a tomato and herb sauce, sweet with a touch of heat – was placed in front of me. It was delicious (£8.10).
Bolognese, lasagne and carbonara are on the menu with various vegetarian options.
For dessert we shared a lemon brulee (£4.50) which was tangy, creamy and crispy. We could have had home-made tiramasu or a range of other delights including ice-creams.
The bill, including a bottle of house red, came to £51 – very reasonable for the standard of the food and the portions, which are generous.
The service is friendly, warm and efficient without being over-attentive. Everyone is greeted like an old friend, the ambience relaxed and cosy.
The danger in repeatedly spreading the word about such a wonderful place is next time you turn up on spec there will not be an empty table – but you get the impression the family would always squeeze you in somewhere.
Menu choice 8