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“Back on Our List for Good Italian”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of La Bella Italia

La Bella Italia
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Ranked #97 of 1,413 Restaurants in Virginia Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Special occasions, Kids, Families with children, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Virginia Beach, VA
Level Contributor
114 reviews
98 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“Back on Our List for Good Italian”
Reviewed February 24, 2013

So it had been probably five years since we'd last been in Bella Italia. It's one of those places on our list that used to be a favorite years ago; then we fell in love with another Italian spot, then we got tired of that and REALLY LOVED another place (you know --- "... it's lost its pizzazz", or maybe "... they've changed the Chef," --- right?), etc., etc., etc. And last night we again felt like Italian, but had waited just long enough that we couldn't get into our favorite place(s) until after 8:00 --- so we said to ourselves, "... Hey, remember Bella Italia?" Why it came up again, I don't know --- but we're really, really glad it did.

It's a little bit of a zoo right inside the door, although it does calm down after you're seated in the dining room. You walk through the front door directly into their retail bakery and deli, which immediately gets you in the right mood for food, but can be a little crowded with people waiting to be seated in the restaurant, and with others picking up bakery or deli goods. Once you arrive at the Hostess station you're met and greeted by the lovely German Hostess (from a little town about 50 KM from my ancestral home of Dortmund), who, if you're in the mood, will chat with you about pretty much anything from Italian food to Angela Merkel. Once seated, we met our equally charming server Mellany, who wasn't quite as international as our Hostess, but was equally ready to fill us in on the evening's specials (a whole lot of seafood dishes), the huge four-page regular menu, and, to a lesser extent, their pretty good wine list. Mellany has only been at the restaurant since last October, so she wasn't versed on the restaurant's expansion, or the several nice changes we noticed that had occurred since our last visit. And by this time we were getting pretty hungry anyway, so we dispensed with the socializing and got down to the real business of the night --- dinner.

Along with a carafe of their house Abruzzo red, we first split a small (brick oven) white pizza, topped with fresh (not fried) eggplant, ricotta, garlic and basil --- delicious, and the crust was perfect. My wife then had their Veal Marsala, which was unbelievably tender and perfectly cooked, and served with a very lightly seasoned Marsala and fresh basil, and a side of penne with marinara --- equally delish. I tried the Gnocchi, served with a light creamed tomato sauce and (too much) cubed fresh mozzarella, and thought it was pretty good, but not great (the gnocchi itself was a little heavy, and the cream in the sauce took a little away from the freshness and acidity of the tomatoes in a basic red sauce that I prefer). Serving sizes on both our dishes were huge, but we managed to save room for a shared piece of the Amaretto Tiramisu, which we found wonderfully rich, gooey and flavorful, but a little lacking due to the substitution of sweetened whipped cream for the usual mascarpone. But it was all good, and we left (after stopping at the bakery on the way out, and loading up on more sweets to take home) absolutely stuffed and having spent $104.85, before tip.

So the whole evening didn't go as initially planned, but ended up a lot of fun, and a little cheaper than when we visit our current favorite Italian spot (maybe we drink too much...). We met a couple of really pleasant and interesting restaurant folks, had some pretty good food (the veal might have been Great), ran into a couple of old business compatriots from my days in the boat business, and ended up with a whole lot of take-home stuff for today's lunch. I don't think Bella Italia has replaced our current Italian favorite, but it sure satisfied last night's Italian hunger pangs, and it put itself back on our list again, after all those years away. Suppose they missed us?

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank RickSchlegel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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174 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 12, 2013

We got the Gnocchi, spaghetti and meatballs, and the veal marsala. It wasn't bad, everything was fairly good but it wasn't the level we were expecting. We felt like it was overpriced for the quality of the food.

Visited February 2013
Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level Contributor
77 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Great Italian Food and Bread”
Reviewed January 29, 2013

They have fresh mozerella that they make and the caprese salad is second to none!! Their bread is bake to perfection with thick crust and soft in the center. Do not go if you are in a hurry, all orders are made when you place them so be patient it is worth it!

Visited December 2012
Thank jackie d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

This wife and my favorite resturant. It is difficult to find excellent Italian food in this area. The Frutti di Mare (seafood sauce/gravy) and Melanzana Pamagina are awesome and our favorities. Whatever you order you will be delicious and plenty. Service is great! Brought my family from NY (12 people) for a great meal. After ordering our drinks, appetizers and meal, we received an emgency phone call that a family member was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. My family had to leave immediately to return to NY. The resturant staff was great and they rushed to get our meals from the kitchen, package the meals for my family 7 hour drive back to NY. The staff and the hostess were very understanding, polite and quick. The hostess even packaged a variety of Italian cookies from the deli (gratis) for my family's trip back to NY. You will not be disappointed!

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Luca0614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level Contributor
548 reviews
318 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 151 helpful votes
“Slow service”
Reviewed January 20, 2013

We stopped for lunch and were seated quickly. Our server took our drink order and was very slow gettng back to us. There were only 4-5 tables and 2 servers, so she was not very busy. Ordered soup and was told that they only make a small amount and there was no more, even if it was a little after 1. The food we did recieve was very good. The pasta was a little undercooked. We asked for a box to go and our server took it into the back. She had to be reminded about it after paying the bill. I have been here before and everything was good. Hopefully our server had a bad day. I would go back again.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Adak C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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