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“needs some tweaking but they try hard” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Bella Luna - CLOSED

Bella Luna
5 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902
865-247-7405
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Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Description: Bella Luna Restaurant is the creation of two chefs who want to bring back the essence of Italian food… seasonally-prepared dishes made from the freshest local ingredients. It’s SIMPLE Italian food served with the same warmth and lightheartedness the Italian spirit is known for, all with a modern touch. From antipasti to dessert, each bite is created to delight the palate and each dish combines traditional flavors with contemporary cooking.The MODERN atmosphere comes to life with an inviting bar featuring an extensive wine list to complement any dish. Live jazz performances on Fridays and Saturdays and patio seating for those summer nights on Market Square complete the quintessential downtown vibe.Bella Luna brings casual elegance and fresh ITALIAN food to downtown Knoxville the way it should be…SIMPLE.MODERN.ITALIAN.
Germantown, TN
Top Contributor
162 reviews 162 reviews
88 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“needs some tweaking but they try hard”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2013

The menu lacks anything really fresh and healthy, has the typical heavy Italian items. Our waiter was new and tried so hard however it seems like the staff lacks guidance or the establishment of service type routine. I had called for a reservation, we checked in and were seated and then the restaurant called me to find out if I still wanted my reservation. I told them that I was in the restaurant so ... yes. We had to ask for every item and when asking the staff questions about the menu they had to admit that they had actually never tasted the food. I think this restaurant has great potential, an excellent location however it needs better management and all will be fine.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellalunarestaurant, Owner at Bella Luna, responded to this review, July 2, 2013
Hi,
First, thank you for your feedback. In your review you mentioned that the menu was lacking options; were there particular dishes you were looking for? We change our menu seasonally and we are always open to input! As far as the staff goes, yes, we had a new server on Saturday and from the sound of your review, he was put on the schedule prematurely. I'm not sure what happened with the reservation but will be addressing this with the host staff. Thank you for your understanding and we will be evaluating the training process for our Front-of-House staff going forward. Again, we appreciate your feedback so that we can make appropriate changes to better the restaurant.

Sincerely,
Christin Love
co-owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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62 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Knoxville, Tennessee
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Brutta Luna”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

Brutta Luna

Bella Luna
15 Market square
Knoxville TN
Bella Luna is located on historic Market Square a popular venue with numerous restaurants, shops and a boutique hotel. Tourists and locals frequent it, and the nearby professional offices provide a steady flow of daily lunchers.
As is typical, Bella Luna is a renovated space with the modern industrial chic open ceiling displaying pipe and duct work. The room is a deep tan with black trim and tables. What might be an attempt at creating a cozy romantic atmosphere results in a dark, cavernous hall, stretching too far back to a small stage on which chairs are stacked 10’ high. There is an attractive full bar as one enters.
The menu reveals nothing special and nothing that stands out as authentically Italian. Most dishes are reworkings of standard Italio-American restaurant fare, albeit without the ubiquitous red sauce. The described dishes are “paired” with suggested wines which showed a lack of familiarity with Italian wines or food parings. Italian wines are out numbered by non-Italian, and there is no real depth or breath of selection.
There has apparently been a change in chefs as the menu no longer offers what had been an estimable version of porchetta, a succulent roast pig.
Lunch offers a $10 pasta buffet with a green and pasta salad, cold bread with melted cheese, the soup of the day, and several paste in chaffing dishes, none of which was a meat-based ragu.
Our order was Caesar salad and soup and linguini “…with fresh clams…” with a side salad. They were out of bread, but we were given the starch with melted cheese that was on the buffet. The side salad was a very nice mix of greens with some sultanas, almond slices and pickled onion. The Vinaigrette was balanced and brightened with lemon zest. The cream of tomato soup was adequate, but had a texture and mouth feel indicating the use of bread crumbs as a thickener. The Caesar salad was average: romaine with unflavored croutons and a creamy dressing that might have come from a bottle. The linguini arrived dressed with the processed clams one might use to fry as clam strips or use in chowder. The last time they could have been fresh was prior to being crayovaced.
I informed the waiter that the clams were not fresh and the dish unacceptable. He went to the kitchen and returned to report that the “chef” said that they had run out of clams over the weekend, but that (somehow) the shelled mollusks were fresh. The dish was returned to the kitchen.
Service was accurate and pleasant, and the waiter was appropriate to the situation of the kitchen having failed him and the only customers in the house.
There is no excuse for any culinary professional to present as fresh a clearly processed product. That alone should deter anyone from dining at Bella Luna. Were that not enough, the food was mediocre at best.
Ambiance: Fair
Service: Good
Food: Poor
Value: None 10-Jun 13

  • Visited June 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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Bellalunarestaurant, Owner at Bella Luna, responded to this review, July 2, 2013
Hi,
First, I'd thank you for your review. While we appreciate feedback, I'd like to address a few concerns. We normally do use both a mix of fresh clams and clam meat for a few reasons, namely that clam shells do not yield enough meat for the pasta and that (clearly) availability can be tricky. As we do change our menu regularly, I will review the description so as to not have this be an ongoing issue.
Secondly, we actually do make all of our salad dressings in house and I sincerely appreciate the reviews on those. The caesar is something we pride ourselves in doing well and I will bring this up with my staff to have more frequent quality control measures. In the old world style of soup-making, bread crumbs are frequently used as a thickener so we have incorporated this method into many of our soups.
As far as the wine selection goes, we do intentionally have an outnumbered amount of Italian varietals. You mentioned that there was a limited selection for your preferences; were there some that you were looking for specifically? We change menus with relative frequency and are always open to suggestions, particularly concerning good wines!
Lastly, I'm so glad you mentioned the porchetta. The recipe we use came from an old Trentino family recipe that we've had to translate to American products. We run it only as a special during the warmer months but may bring it back on the menu during the fall and winter.
We appreciate your feedback as we can only learn from it to make our restaurant better.

Sincerely,
Christin Love
co-owner
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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
93 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“Picky Italian!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

We were pleasantly surprised at how good the food was. I am an extremely picky Italian that is very selective about my food. Growing up with Zia and
Nonna making homemade everything it has been challenging to find good Italian.
This place was a little gem! My husband had the Linguini Pomodoro and I had the penne sausage, it was very good! We did have to wait a little while but that was okay we spent time relaxing and talking, like couples use to do! The wine was good and about the price we pay for a glass in the northeast!
We will definitely return!

  • Visited June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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KNOXVILLE
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Not that great”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

A Miller Lite is $4. The server was real nice but the meal took forever and was just average. I've heard it's better to go earlier in the evening for a cheaper meal.

Visited May 2013
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Cincinnati, Ohio
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Excellent wine & food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013 via mobile

Excellent experience at Bella! Wine selections were excellent and fairly priced. Food was perfect for a cool Friday evening. I had the spiced sausage penne & my wife had the egg plant parmesan. Large portions (took some home). Service was great!

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