We greatly enjoyed our recent dinner (as part of a large group) at Cha Bella. In the first place, they managed our group perfectly. Service was spot on and felt quite individualized and personal rather than as a large group. Following cocktails in the bar - a beautifully designed space filled with warmth and tradition, we were seated on a balcony overlooking the main dining room, which allowed us to mix and talk among our group, while not feeling isolated from the general atmosphere and energy of the restaurant as a whole.
Now to discuss the meal. It was really wonderful. To skip to the chase, the next day, and even a week later, those present that night were still talking about favorites of the night. That's about as good as it gets.
To begin, I should say that the wine list was to be commended. Beautifully considered and selected to compliment the menu - of course with our group, several selections were chosen according to meals ordered - and compliments were shared across tables. Everyone was impressed with what they were drinking - and this extended as courses were served.
The meal began with a salad, soup or appetizer and all were terrific. The salads featured the freshest of organic seasonal produce with just the right amount of dressing. The soups were striking in flavor and complexity - spoons were being passed to those who hadn't ordered soup and the other appetizers brought similar reactions and shared bites. Not a miss in the offerings.
The main courses brought similar delight. I ordered the shrimp risotto and am still thinking about it 3 weeks later as I write this. It had a completely different flavor and texture, being quite light for a risotto, than I expected. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and just slightly sweet - allowing the shrimp and the risotto - each with different flavor components and texture, to "marry" beautifully. My husband ordered the swordfish served with beautiful, and again, perfectly cooked organic spring vegetables and enjoyed every bite. I must say that several in the group ordered this dish and it perhaps received the most conversation later ( in raves) .
We shared a chocolate mouse cake dessert - scraping the plate clean - and while it was delightful, it did not outshine the main course - which is the mark, I believe, of a truly wise and skilled chef with no need to try to end with something to send you home smiling...you should be smiling throughout the experience in his/her restaurant.
This evening, combined with our stay at The President's Quarters - just down the street and a long time favorite - was delightful in every way. Cha Bella is definitely our favorite restaurant in Savannah now.
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