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“Aged to perfection”

Bella's Italian Cafe
Ranked #35 of 2,435 Restaurants in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed July 16, 2013

Some restaurants start off being wonderful and slowly lose their edge, with diminishing quality of food and service.
I had not been to Bella's for several years, but through a promotion they offered we decided to spend an evening going over to Tampa to indulge.
In our party of 4 all of us had different dishes and in short, it was wonderful. The ambiance, the food, the service, the recommended wine, all were perfect. Our server, a young lady was very cheerful, and attentive. Wish I could remember her name. Cuddos to the staff and management for not only keeping their edge but getting better with age. No wonder the parking lot is full all the time.

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1  Thank Gddavis1031
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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263 - 267 of 348 reviews

Reviewed July 11, 2013

I'm waivering. I want to give it a 5. It probably deserves a 5. Service was great,, food was great, atmosphere was great...my issue is it wasn't the best Italian I ever had. But, that raises the question, can only the best Italian get 5 stars? Is there no room at the 5 star level except for 1 restaurant? And the fact is, didn't my girlfriend and I buy a second travelzoo certificate before we even finished our meal (yes). okay okay, you convinced me. 5 stars

(please note that up until just now I, had it listed at 4 stars).

Anyway, we came here July 3 with a gift certificate we bought on a travelzoo deal. We don't come into Hyde Park much, but that's because we don't know much about it. But my girlfriend just took a job in Clearwater, so we're looking to explore new areas. I think Hyde Park is going to become our second home if they have more restaurants like this.

First, the atmosphere. Probably because of its location, this was not stuffed with blue hairs like most of Tampa. This was a young professional crowd. Lighting was perfect - not too dark, but also romantic - tables a respectable distance from each other so you can't hear everyone's conversation, and everyone respectfully dressed - business casual to casual, but not flip slops, torn shorts, and baseball caps.

As I argued above, the food was really very good, just not the best Italian I ever had. We started with a Scampi Scampi, which was shrimp sautéed in garlic, scallions, red pepper and tomatoes. Delicious. Then, ignoring the recommendations of the server because we found other things we liked, I got Pollo Rosso, which is chicken reddened with hot spices, sautéed with scallions and mushrooms, and served in fettuccine and a creamy basil tomato sauce.

Wipe your mouth, you're drooling on your keyboard.

My beautiful girlfriend got...shoot, I don't remember. I was buried in my own food. Something stuffed with spinach and cheese though. Maybe the ravioli verde - spinach pasta filled with spinach, ricotta and swiss...I don't remember. I do remember enjoying my taste of it until I dived back into my Pollo Rosso.

Service - fantastic. Once again, I write this review too late and without a copy of my receipt so I can't give credit where its due - but Mr. Server who was so helpful with the menu and brought us lots of bread and didn't flirt too much with my girlfriend, I applaud you.

In the end, the mark of any good restaurant is repeat customers, and as I said, we purchased a second travelzoo certificate while sitting in the restaurant eating our meal, so I guess if a restaurant like that doesn't deserve 5 stars, then nothing does.

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1  Thank tbow77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2013

Front area outside looks great, parking side not so good. Walking in the décor is good but they have a sign over the door reading "proper dress required" but some guys in shorts wearing ball caps while eating to me is not proper dress. Loud sixties music doesn't fit an Italian restaurant either.

Ordered a Caesar salad, no taste and most of the lettuce was soft and wilted. Bread very salty.

Ordered spaghetti and meat balls and lasagna. Meat balls were very burnt and plate of spaghetti full of water. Lasagna watery and nothing but a garlic taste.

Possibly the worst restaurant in the SOHO area of Tampa.

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Thank gneher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2013

We live in New Tampa northern suburbs but have heard so much about South Tampa so decided to try one of the many restaurants. I would say we made a great choice with the help of trip advisor. Plenty of convenient parking in an area where it ones at a premium. The dining room was very nice comfy booths and a large well stocked bar. Home made pasta and entrees very enjoyable. Stephano provided great service

2  Thank JBCJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013

We stopped here for dinner because we had a coupon and thought we'd give it a shot. Boy oh boy, were we pleasantly surprised at how excellent all of the food was. The bread they served to start off was some of the best bread I have ever had. Freshly baked, warm, and so so tasty. We ordered the Bruschetta appetizer and that was very good. Finally, we all had pasta dishes, which we all enjoyed. I had alfredo sauce on mine and my daughter said she loved her spaghetti and meatballs. Wish we had room for dessert to keep the trend going, but we were all stuffed and fully satisfied.

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

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