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“Great find in Kailua”
Review of Bella Bistro

Bella Bistro
Ranked #28 of 144 Restaurants in Kailua
Cuisines: American
Restaurant details
Collinsville, Illinois
Level Contributor
50 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Great find in Kailua”
Reviewed January 11, 2014

After our scheduled luau was cancelled because of high winds, we decided to head to Kailua to find a place for dinner. We happened to drive by Bella Bistro and decided to check it out. Unbelievable friendly staff...really got the impression that they just enjoyed working there. Great food...started with fresh bread and garlic butter (very garlicy...yum!). We had the hummus appetizer...very generous serving. The garlic shrimp was was not as garlicy as expected, but still good. The mahi special was also very good. Finished the night with the cheesecake with berries. As another reviewer commented, this is not a place for a quick meal...it is a place to relax and enjoy the meal. Definitely worth the trip to Kailua.

Visited January 2014
1 Thank dabaum77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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43 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Kailua, Hawaii
Level Contributor
29 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“One of Kailua's Best”
Reviewed November 24, 2013

This is my new favorite restaurant in Kailua.

First off, this is NOT a place for a quick bite - this is where you go when you want to spend a pleasant, leisurely meal with friends or family. It's also a small place - don't expect a huge menu - they chose to focus on a few items and do them well rather than trying to support a braod menu. Despite this, our family with very divergent tastes (we range from vegetarian to avowed meat lovers), something was found for everyone and it was all good.

The starters are varied and well portioned for sharing. We had the Sherry Mushrooms - whole mushrooms cooked in a sherry sauce and served warm with roasted red peppers and herb garlic crostini. One order was perfect for the 4 of us. The mushrooms were cooked well and very flavorful. Sometimes I've had similar at other restaurants and the come out with an overpowering sherry taste or bland - the chef got it within a hair's breadth of a perfect balance. We also shared a Greek Salad. I love feta cheese, but it's another thing that's easy to overdo, but again they got it right.

The main courses are good and solid. We tried the Lemon Artichoke Chicken, Orange Seared Salmon, Linguini with garlic basil marinara, and the Roma Penne. All were excellent. My personal favorite is the Roma Penne - sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil, feta cheese and pine nuts on Penne pasta. The sauce has a pleasant, but mild garlic flavor - the sweetness and texture of the pine nuts offset the saltiness of the feta and strong flavor of the tomatoes.

I'm far from a wine expert, but my pasta worked wonderfully with a glass of chardonnay. Something about wine and good pasta just make for a great meal.

For desert we shared a graham cracker crust cheesecake with fresh blackberries and strawberries on it. This has to be the best cheesecake I've ever tasted (sorry Mom!) - the crust was buttery and had that wonderful crushed graham cracker texture. There was a hint of something in the crust - my wife claims extra sugar, but I think maybe a hint of vanilla? The filling was light and slightly tart, the fruit was amazingly good looking and tasting, especially for this time of year.

The service was, in my opinion, excellent. We rarely get much time to spend with our teenage daughters any more, and the service was paced such that it allowed us to talk and enjoy the food and company. Our server was engaging, pleasant, and properly attentive without hovering or pushing us along.

The atmosphere is probably the most controversial thing - there is effectively NO indoor seating here. Given the climate this usually works well, but on windy or rainy days, I think it could make it a little difficult. This is a small restaurant and very compactly laid out, quarters can be a little close. It is also located feet from a major road - traffic noise at rush hour might be something to watch out for, but the evening we were here, it never intruded on our conversation.

Overall, the experience was fantastic - the price is a bit high to be our regular place to eat, but it is a great place for special or even semi-special meals. Highly recommended!

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank spoggle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kennebunk, Maine
Level Contributor
278 reviews
175 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
“A Great Addition to Kailua Dining”
Reviewed November 6, 2013

This new Kailua restaurant has been open for 3 months and is a welcome addition to casual dining in Kailua. It is in the space formerly used by Zia's and that's where any similarities end. The owners are the chef and the hostess ensuring a hands on, personal presence.

The menu is small but extremely varied - seafood, poultry, meat, and vegetarian dishes. Daily specials are also offered. The prices (for Hawaii) are very reasonable for the quality/quantity. We split a Caesar salad ($8) which was very fresh and had a very pleasing dressing. My husband ordered the Roasted Shrimp over pasta from the menu ($23) and I ordered the Mahi with roasted vegetables and rice pilaf, one of the daily specials ($22). Everything was excellent and more than enough for a normal appetite. Several wines are offered by the glass in the $7 range and the pour is very generous. The only improvement I could offer is to make the bread basket more interesting.

Our server, Michelle, was obviously experienced and handled our orders and requests promptly and cheerfully.

The dining is outdoors on a main road which tends to be noisy. Those in the know, request/wait for a table on the parking lot side to minimize the street noise. It would be an improvement if some type of screening could be added for those tables on the street side.

All in all, a wonderful dining experience and we can't wait to return.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank AlohaTravelerOahu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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