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“Belle Italia is quite a rare Gem in Inverness”

Bella Italia Inverness
Ranked #49 of 271 Restaurants in Inverness
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Business meetings, Large groups, Special occasions
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Description: Bella Italia in Inverness boasts a prime city centre location close to the riverside and just moments away from Inverness Castle. The dining room is an inviting space decked out in Bella Italia's signature rustic style. Warm tones, tiled flooring and walls adorned with huge poster prints create a welcoming ambience. As for the food, the a la carte menu is wide and varied featuring a good selection of pizzas, pasta and grilled meat and fish. There is also a superb set menu where you could be tucking into an Italian salad for starters followed by crispy pancetta and mushroom penne pasta with an Italian wine sauce and rounded off with cream filled profiteroles with a hot chocolate sauce.
Reviewed March 19, 2014

Belle Italia is quite a rare Gem in Inverness would be what I have to say first, when entering you get hit right away with the rustic décor and amazing smells of Italy. While seated however you get hit with a chilling draft every time the door is opened and close proximity of people waiting to be seated. It only distracts however from the surroundings temporarily.

We were seated by a waiter with a wonderful authentic Italian accent which somewhat added to the experience, I'm afraid I didn't catch his name but he was very polite and a gent right the way through and showed a true grasp of the menu. At the end we discovered his name was Zorro from the receipt. After ordering drinks we looked over the menu but were in a touch of a rush to see a show so didn’t order starters. What I seen as a touch odd was a lack of bread, balsamic and oil. I wasn’t inconvenienced by it and the starters seemed for all other tables to come out very quickly which I imagine is why bread is not provided automatically. From the service and feel in the restaurant I’m quite sure bread would have been provided should we have asked for it. It was a varied and large menu but not too large you were swamped which I find to be very good.

Our mains came surprisingly quickly, I’m afraid we were not too inventive and had a Pizza Marco Polo (Shredded duck, spring onions and mozzarella on a sweet aromatic plum sauce base) and Pollo e Spinaci calzone (Sliced chicken breast, garlic butter, fresh spinach, parmesan and mozzarella) with a side of chips as suggested by our waiter. I tasted both and have to say couldn’t find fault with either. The service which was prompt, polite and attentive. We were offered Parmesan and black pepper and always felt looked after by our waiter, a teeny touch I always like is when a waiter asks if you’ve been before. It shows they’re thinking a few steps ahead which how long you might take to look over the menu or if there are any little suggestions the waiter can make from his own experience. I do always enjoy having the same waiter, there’s always some argument over which method is best to allocate tables but having the same waiter throughout always feels a touch more personal to me.

Looking back at the food more the Calzone had a perfect spread of fillings and I was very pleased by the thickness of the dough which can sometimes be overdone and just leaves you full far too quickly to enjoy the filling. As well as being spread well the filling was also balanced very well with the Garlic coming through in every bite but not overpowering the chicken, spinach, mozzarella or sauce. While mentioning the sauce, in this calzone the filling really shone as there was less sauce than most places put in a calzone which can tend to overpower everything else unless the flavours you put in are very strong but on this occasion as I said. It was just right. The chips although a side were served and so I feel should still get reviewed and I would have said for our tastes were a little over done, just a little though and we still finished them. One small critique is we were given no choice as to if it came with a sauce or not or offered a selection of sauces. Not a large difference but it’s the little things sometimes that stick in your mind.

The pizza I ate little of but can say what i tried was great. The base was just limp enough but still had a crispness too it; the duck itself was cooked perfectly and not dried out which matched well with the spring onions moistness. Much like the calzone the sauce didn’t overpower and the whole pizza was balanced very well.
As I said we rushed skipping starters but there was no way we would skip desert, after our plates were quickly cleared and a few extra slices o pizza boxed to go we quickly ordered and were served our delicious deserts. I had the Torta Limone (Lemon sponge layered with lemon cheesecake and zesty lemon custard, with a pot of fresh cream) which was very fresh and not too heavy at all, the cream on the side mixed well with the light crumbly base though I couldn’t help that feel a little ball or lemon sorbet might have aided this slightly I wasn’t disappointed with what I got.
My better half had the Cookie Dough Lava Cake (Moist chocolate chip cookie cake with a melting chocolate middle, served warm with vanilla pod ice cream and caramel sauce) which again I just had to taste, the nice mix of soft warm cookie and refreshing cold ice cream was excellent. I love a mixed hot/cold desert as do most and this filled that purpose very well.
We were politely offered coffees and asked if we required anything else which unfortunately we could not oblige as we needed to leave in the next five to ten minutes or so to pick up our tickets before the show however I would have been very comfortable to just sit there and watch the world go by with a nice cuppa had I been able to.

Throughout I felt very comfortable apart from the occasional cold blast form the door and very welcome. My only low point would be when the bill arrived, in honesty I’m in two minds about the pricing. You pay for quality and this was quality, you could really tell a lot of attention was put into everything leaving the kitchen but I do think you could very easily spend a large amount with a mix of menu choices here. For two courses for two adults with one drink each we were [£45] which I would say is a touch higher than we would commonly pay for a meal for two with three courses but that quality was there so you’ll need to take the facts and see how you feel about the pricing yourself.

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1  Thank DavidMacarthur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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719 - 723 of 1,112 reviews

Reviewed March 5, 2014

Me and my partner was visiting loch ness for a romantic get away. On the way home i thought inverness looked very nice and wanted to stop by for food. We walked around and thought that bella would be an idea place to finish a romantic get away before a long journey home. I agree it was feb 14th valentines day but we arrived at the resturant arrox 1600 and only wanted a quick meal with 7 hours of driving ahead of us. We explained that we would be gone by the time people finished work. We walked in for a young man to be very rude to us saying do you relise what day it is and have you booked. My responce is i know and i understand is it possible fo you to fit us in. We was kept waiting for a good 10/15 mins while he was staring at a peice of paper attached to a blue clip board. After this he said he had one spare table and it was right next to the front door. we took it as time was getting on and the long drive home. the service was shabby and split between 5 members of staff. the wine glasses were not removed from the table untill after the main course arrived and made the table cramped. other people came in that had not booked but with diffrent people seating them without this challenge. By the time we left about 1830 because the service was very slow only 6 other people had walked in. I would not visit this branch again and the work being undertaken here is damageing the brands name.

Shabby service
not as clean as other resturants
poor service
Bad mannered staff
lack of management guidence

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Thank David C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2014 via mobile

i went here during Feb school holidays around 3pm and when i entered there were around 6 tables eating.
i was approached by a man in a white shirt who asked me if it was a table for 1 to which i replied yes and only wanted to have a quick coffee.
The employee then changed his attitude and in a very unfriendly manner told me i would have to order a meal.
i asked why as they clearly had plenty of free table available.
He replied it was because they were busy!!!
i wont be visiting this restaurant again any time soon.
Rude staff and too lazy to make a simple coffee.

Thank lrwylie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2014

Stopped for a quick lunch while we were in Sneck. Although Bella Italia is a chain, do not let this put you off. I had the burger off the lunch menu which was perfectly tasty and the fries, although no doubt frozen, were none the worse for this. My partner's carbonara was a bit sloppy but not hideously so. The staff were helpful and friendly and the toilets were clean.

I would return here again.

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Thank Nellicat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2014 via mobile

Lovely shared starter with parma ham. I had spinach and ricotta cannelloni- lovely. Nice portion size. Staff very friendly.

Thank InvernessClarry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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