We decided to try Bellissimo having eaten lunch there earlier this year we decided to give it another go as our feeling of the lunch was OK but pricey compared to what is available at lunchtime in Waterford.
Entering the restaurant was a pleasant break from the summer heat as the restaurant has A/C. We were given the menus and the restaurant was nicely laid out with tables a reasonable distance apart. We looked at the wine list and chose an Italian Montepulciano red which was very nice and good value at €23. For starters I had Bruschetta (€5.45) and my wife the Coriander Crab Cakes (€8.95). The mozzarella cheese in the bruschetta was toasted/melted and personally I felt the way it was cooked detracted from the natural flavours of this dish. The crab cakes were good and contained a reasonable amount of crab meat. We were given bread by the waitress but I must admit I have never seen bread precariously balanced on a soup spoon and placed on our plates however this was done without any mishaps sort of like an egg and spoon race without the race. Shortly after we were given the butter when we took some and spread it on the bread we were pretty sure from the way it came out of the dish and the way it spread that it was not butter but either margarine and or mixture of butter and margarine. We confirmed this when we tasted it. I have only ever been served margarine in a builders café on pre-“buttered” toast never in a restaurant. For the main course I had hoped for some risotto but unfortunately this dish was not on the menu which seems to be the case with many (but not all) of the Italian restaurants in Waterford. I opted for the 10oz Sirloin Steak (€24.95) and my wife the Pollo alla Parmiagiana €16.45). I absolutely hate going into a restaurant and being offered an 8oz sirloin or rump steak as I feel it is not possible to get the thickness of cut to do the meat justice when cooking. I really had reservations about the 10oz steak but felt I’d give it a chance. When my steak arrived my reservations were completely unfounded as it was a full 10oz steak and cutting into it I could see it had been perfectly cooked. That left the “flavour” - again any reservation I had was unfounded as the meat flavour was excellent. The sauce was fine as were the vegetables. My wife enjoyed her chicken and I tasted the creamy pesto sauce and it was good. For dessert I opted for the tiramisu (€6.25) this was done in the classical style and was fine I’ve had better but I’ve had a lot worse. Towards the end of the evening it was getting very hot but before we brought this to the attention of the waitress someone must have beaten us to it as we could feel the AC breeze kick in. If I were the owner in hot weather like this I would make sure the restaurant was keep cool and make sure everyone knew the restaurant had AC as I feel the hot weather has impacted heavily the restaurant trade as no one wants to go into a hot restaurant and eat dinner when they can BBQ or eat in their garden. Overall the service was OK there were areas where it could be improved but we both felt the waitress was doing her best and lacked training, some examples – we topped our wine up all the time, we had to ask for more wine when the bottle was finished. For me that is a cardinal sin for a restaurateur – always keep the glasses topped up and always keep an eye on the bottle it could make the difference between selling one or two bottles or one bottle and a couple of extra glasses. This can be done unobtrusively and over a period of a year if properly done can have a very positive influence on cash flow and of course service and customer satisfaction. The total cost for our meal based on one bottle of wine was ~€85. If we were to have the same meal and use the early bird (€5 supplement for the steak), crab cake starter not available so alternate starter required the cost would drop to €31 for 3 courses with steak and €22 for courses with a different starter – total cost with the same wine €76 be aware Early Bird finishes at 6.30pm not 7pm as in most restaurants. This restaurant has the potential to do better. For me the highlight was the main course steak dish.
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