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“Charming Italian restaurant, not so charming service”
Review of Bella Italia - CLOSED

Bella Italia
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed August 31, 2008

We were referred to this restaurant as a romantic place to go for a birthday. Looking online, we saw that we should reserve the "Elevator Room" for an intimate table for two.

We made our reservations and called back three times; once to find out the dress code (casual) and the other two times to apprise them that we were running late due to travel problems and the other because we didn't make a turn that we should and had gotten lost. Phone coverage is spotty - whoever is walking by answers the phone, so we spoke to four different people each of those four times, sometimes letting the phone ring 10 times.

We found the restaurant in a somewhat older residential neighborhood just north of an industrial part of downtown, which may explain the limited hours (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.). The restaurant itself is in a converted older mansion. The Elevator Room is exactly that - the old elevator room, which has been curtained off. Unfortunately, the room is ice cold, which someone has tried to fix by stuffing a linen napkin into the vent, which had fallen out partway.

We were greeted after about 5 minutes by the owner, who seated us and left us a wine list, and then waited 15 minutes for the waitress to make an appearance. She informed us that the wine list was being revamped and that the choices that we had made weren't available. We reconsidered. I asked her for menus, so that we could consider what we wanted while waiting for our wine. It was 15 minutes before we saw her again. My white wine was room temperature. She had been somewhat put out by my request for a glass of something listed on the wine list by the glass and she wanted to sell me a bottle or 1/2 bottle of something else. I stuck to my guns, so I got a warm glass of white wine. I didn't get to see her for a while, so I couldn't complain.

When she reappeared, she pushed the 8 oz filet special pretty heavily. My husband ordered that. I ordered a veal dish. She asked why I didn't want the filet special. I said I couldn't eat 8 oz of meat, and had certain food allergies to ingredients in the special. She rolled her eyes. I asked about the sides and what they contained and asked for some substitutions. After all that, she ended up bringing me bruschetta that had one of the food items that I had discussed with her and ended up eating my salad with no dressing.

The entrees themselves were wonderful. My husband's filet was perfectly grilled and the sides were presented beautifully. My veal was fork tender and the cognac sauce didn't overwhelm the meat.

We didn't order dessert, as the desserts were pretty run-of-the-mill and overpriced.

The girl who bussed our table was far more attentive to us than our waitress. For a Friday night, they only had the one waitress for about 10 tables and 1 bus girl. The bus girl dropped a load of dishes, and the waitress made a nasty comment to us about the incident. The girl appeared at our table shortly after, trying to be composed and professional, but clearly upset. We told her that in our opinion that she was doing a better job than the waitress and to be proud of the fact that she was keeping our experience from being a bad one.

We did talk to the manager about the excellent food and the very slow service. He said since it was Labor Day weekend and slow, he didn't want to have lots of staff standing around doing nothing, so he only had the one waitress and bus girl since it was "slow". Since the veal was around $18 and the special $23, for the ambience and prices in the Omaha, NE area, there should have been at least two wait staff on duty. The waitress should have been more tolerant of food allergies and shouldn't punish customers with warm white wine or roll her eyes when her customers make a comment that they can't eat a lot of food. She wouldn't last long at any good restaurant that we patronize here. We tipped her accordingly (and took care of the bus girl separately).

3  Thank PlainsWoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (70)
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Reviewed June 12, 2015
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    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Flavio Antonio P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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