Things change…but stay the same.
My dinner trio was scheduled to meet at a popular restaurant known for its artisan pizzas. But then, Virginia emailed that a fellow foodie had told her that he preferred Bella Napoli PLUS the pizza’s are all half price on Mondays. So, we switched our plan for dinner. Everything else was the same (night, time, pizza) except for the location.
Bella Napoli is a trio of three businesses. There’s the restaurant, then the Italian market and finally, an espresso bar.
Susie and I were thinking that something else had changed. We seemed to remember fewer selections on the menu the last time we visited. I was thinking there were maybe 5 pizzas and a few pasta dishes. Now, the menu has expanded to include apps and salads in addition to the pizzas and pastas.
We started our meal with apps, of course. We opted for two.
The bruschetta arrived at the table on a rectangular wooden tray. The three slices of thick, crusty and grilled bread came with three toppings. The classic chopped tomato with basil, an aubergine-colored eggplant spread and finally a mushroom spread. I got the job of sectioning each bread slice into thirds. The slices with the spreads were a bit easier than the tomato topped one. But I made it work.
As much as we enjoyed our first choice, the second was just as delicious…if not even more so. The rice balls were huge, meaty, cheesy and wonderfully flavorful. Virginia took on the task of dividing the rice balls.
Since it was half price on pizzas, we each ordered a pizza. It was an inexpensive option plus the pizzas were large enough to eat half and take the rest home. What I liked most about the pizzas were they were authentic Italian. They remind me very much of the pizzas I ate in Rome and Venice back in 2003.
I ordered the Giovanni. Even though it was supposed to be Meatless Monday in honor of Lent, I opted to switch days with Tuesday. There was NO WAY I was going to go veggie at an Italian restaurant.
Susie had the mushroom.
Virginia decided to order the Funghi, as well, but added her own twist with the addition of some sausage and olives. I was surprised to see whole olives on top as opposed to slices.
We finished with a slice of a lemon tart. It was so good I forgot to take a pic! I will tell you the crust was light and buttery while the filling was bright and lemony.
Another thing that has not changed is the neighborhood. As someone who sorta grew up in the Brookside area, it still has a very familiar and friendly vibe to it. The old 5 & 10 is still there but with a slightly different feel. And some of the people who came to dine in or take out greeted others with hugs and kisses. Seemed like old times to me.
Next month, it’s Mexican on the Boulevard! Until then, Arrivederci!