Thursday, April 8, 2010
Bella's Italian Cafe - Tampa, FL
One evening my family and I had plenty of time on our hands, so we decided to go for a drive over to Tampa's Soho District and try out Bella's Italian Cafe on Howard Street. Bella's is located in a newer style strip mall, with a parking lot out back that was a tad bit small because we weren't sure if we were going to find a parking spot, but luck prevailed. Soon we were inside and at a table near the open kitchen where we could catch some of the action going on there. Overall, the decor of the place reminded me of a typical Italian chain restaurant, except that it isn't a chain.
After ordering a glass of Chianti and some sodas we took our time looking over the menu, which was quite large. I started off with the asparagus soup which was made with chicken stock and described as being creamy without the cream, and it was topped with mascarpone cheese. The soup was my only disappointment of the evening and this is a case where some cream was needed to give it some taste or richness. After the soup, everything went very well. My son chose the lasagna napoletana made with bolognese sauce, which was my favorite out of the three dishes we tried. My husband ordered the pesto pasta, which is always a favorite of his and it was quite good. Now, for myself, I had wanted to order something else, but no one else ordered pizza and I found it impossible to go to an Italian restaurant without trying their pizza; just a thing I have. I liked the pizza, but the sauce was a little spicier than I normally enjoy because I typically like my pizza sauce to be a plain tomato base. This is a matter of personal preference because my husband and son liked the pizza sauce. Finally, we ordered the Vesuvio for dessert. This was a basic chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream on the side. What a delicious and decadent way to end the meal. Overall, I enjoyed Bella's and I will go back again if I find myself on that side of the town and I thought the service there was excellent.
Bella's Italian Cafe
1413 South Howard Street
Tampa, FL 33606