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“Memorable dining in lovely South Haven”

Tello Italian Bistro
Ranked #18 of 69 Restaurants in South Haven
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Howell, Michigan
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Memorable dining in lovely South Haven”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

I've visited this restaurant while vacationing in South Haven -- first with my husband and two children and then for a romantic date night with my husband. On both occasions, the food and service were outstanding. We were a little hesitant to bring the kids, but the wait staff went out of their way to make them happy and comfortable. We had a lovely table by the window and had fun sampling outstanding $3 Italian wine (the kids had kiwi lemonade!) and $6 individual gourmet pizzas, which are both on special during happy hour (M-F, 4-6). Even though we were ordering happy hour fare, our two servers treated us like VIPs. When we went back for date night, we had a quiet meal by candlelight and enjoyed the delicious Caesar salad, penne con porcini and chicken marsala -- again, with excellent service. We will definitely go back!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jennifer S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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249 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    98
    78
    40
    15
    18
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Michigan
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Vegetable primavera”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Again, wonderful atmosphere, good service, very good chianti, and great dish. When in South Haven I would always to to this bistro for dinner.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank JBB2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
indiana
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Bueno!”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Being a party of two, we were able to be seated at a high top in the bar. The funny thing was, whenever the wait staff came to us, they parted these sheer curtains on one side of our seating area. Very unusual appetizers. High quality Italian food, good wine list, though they were out of what we picked--the substitute suggested was very good. A little pricey but one of the better meals we had in the area!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank carmelgyou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A good choice right in downtown South Haven.”
Reviewed August 31, 2013 via mobile

Conveniently located right in the heart of downtown South Haven, we stopped by Tello's right when they were opening for dinner during Labor Day weekend, didn't have a reservation but lucked out and were seated right away. All other tables had reservation signs on them. Service was a bit weak at first but the food was very good and the ambiance was nice. We had the bruschetta, caprese salad, spaghetti with a huge homemade meatball, and chicken marsala. Each was very good to excellent with my favorite being their homemade meatball, great garlic flavor! We stop by South Haven every few years and would definitely come back to Tello's.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank NHughes28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Outstanding food, no doubt about it”
Reviewed August 29, 2013

The best and most important thing to know about Tello is that the food is outstanding. We were looking for a celebratory meal on a summer visit to South Haven, something beyond the casual tourist something-for-everyone kind of place. This review site and others told us Tello would fit the bill, so we made a reservation even before we hit town. We were three couples who individually and collectively have eaten in Italian restaurants at every level and in cities all across the country and we were unanimous in our praise of the food. For appetizers, try the arancini di riso, risotto balls stuffed with fresh mozzarella, fried and embedded in one of the richest, most flavorful tomato sauces you'll taste anywhere. None of us had eaten this dish before and all of us want to have it again. Salads were excellent, and our entrees--seafood, beef, pasta--all were outstanding. I had whitefish roasted to perfection on a bed of vegetables with the lightest, most aromatic and flavorful finishing broth you can imagine. The wines were on the pricey side, but we found a Valpolicella that was so good we just had to order a second bottle. Dessert was an excellent tiramisu, a portion so large that it was all we could do to finish one order among the 6 of us. That's the really good news.

The bad news is that we had to wait 45 minutes past our reserved time to get a table and only were seated then because we were fairly insistent that the staff put adjoining and vacated tables for four and for two together to seat us without any more delay. We then had to wait for menus, water, etc. and finally called over Kevin (we think he was the manager on duty; we failed to ask) to point out that adjacent tables seated after us were much farther along in the whole dining process. We made our unhappiness known, firmly but I think not rudely. We said a celebration was on the way to being ruined, and I did mention that I'm a contributor to review sites.

Now the news gets a lot better again. Once Kevin stepped in everything changed. The service measured up to the food, we were complimented for taking the problems in stride and we received the tiramisu as a treat from the house and were comped a portion of our bill. I think the lesson is to make one's unhappiness known to management firmly but politely and give them a chance to correct the mistakes. We did and we'd be happy to return to Tello on any next visit to South Haven. When we do, we'll definitely order arancini.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jbhlhm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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