I was so excited when Bella Roma has opened. It has a lot of competitions. Provencal, an expensive Mediterranean restaurant with better hours, is right across the street. Some Kind of Pasta, a local favourite pasta joint, is less than a block away. There is even a pizza hut half a block away. It takes a lot of confidence to open a restaurant here, and we were curious. Every time we walked by, we were drawn by the simple but classy décor and that brick oven in the back.
Finally, Jean, Dennis, and I went to Bella Roma for lunch today. We are very impressed with the food, the price, and the service. The restaurant has better quality food than Provencal at the same or cheaper price as Some Kinda Pasta. We believe Bella Roma is going to have a great future and is here to stay.
Wasn't Cin Cin also rated 4/5? Yes, Cin Cin's Mare Set was still the most Godly Italian food I have ever had (5/5), but the rest of the meal we had was rather lack luster for the price. Roma Bella's food is not as elegant (good looking) and innovative as Cin Cin's, but it offers good portioned traditional Italian dishes at ⅔ of the price.
We found that a lot of Italian restaurants put a lot of salt and over-flavour in their dishes. Roma Bella offers much lighter and delicate flavours that reminds us of Italian home cooking.
Bruschetta was free, delicious, and puts my homemade ones to shame. It was juicy, herby, and tangy. I gotta try to make this at home. The bread (also free) is made fresh every morning and roasted with house made pesto sauce. It was warm, fluffy, and not greasy. Again, not as good as Cin Cin's olive pepper spread , but much superior than the dry bread from Provencal. (No free bread at Some Kinda Pasta).
For appetizer, Jean ordered Traditional Caesar ($7.99). The salad looked rather uninspiring and the crouton was tooth breaking hard, but the dressing was delightful. It was fresh, light, citric: the way I like it (3/5). Dennis ordered Bella Roma Prawns ($12.99). There was only 7 medium size prawns, but they were perfectly cooked. The sauce is delicious but I don't think the prawn absorb the flavour. Good for bread dipping though. (3.5/5).
Having had some above average appetizers, I was ready to be disappointed by the main course. Jean got the medium Grill Chicken Pizza lunch special ($15.99). This pizza was pretty phenomenal. The chicken was brushed with house made BBQ sauce, and pine nuts and red bell pepper added a lot of flavour and texture. The pizza wasn't greasy and it had the perfect amount of cheese. (4.5/5).
Dennis ordered Linguini Vongole: clams with lemon, white wine, garlic, and basil tomato sauce ($16.99). This was the best clam pasta I ever had. The dish had lots of fresh sauce soaked large clams and the perfect amount of sauce sauce that is tangy with a lovely zing! (5/5) Some Kinda Pasta had the same dish with few bitty tiny previously frozen clams and terrible sauce for $15.89.
I ordered the daily special: cannelloni with chicken prosciutto in rose sauce ($13.99). This was Jean's favourite dish. It was very rich, creamy, and cheesy. I felt so guilty eating it, but it was so good. Oh writing about it make me salivate. However, the drier and rougher texture of the chicken prosciutto did not contrast the sauce well (4/5).
The restaurant was a two-man team for lunch time. A waiter and a cook. The waiter was friendly and chatty. He served as timely and efficiently. We were slow to be served after we were done with our main course.
I think they were having difficulty with their music player during lunch, but there are live piano music at night. Each table has cloth napkin, candle, and real flowers. This is a beautiful and romantic neighborhood restaurant. I feel comfortable and relaxed in the restaurant. Great for first, second, and even the third date.
Overall Experience (4/5):
This place definitely offers better food at cheaper price than all the restaurants around the area. With piano music, this place is more ambiance and romantic than a lot of other expensive restaurant. The food is great without being fatty, salty, or greasy. The best part is, I can go back again and again without breaking the bank. They even deliver.
Jean: "Authentic Italian Restaurant, just like the ones in Europe."
Dennis: "My go-to place for a nice Italian meal. Very satisfying"
Me: "I need to go back for dinner, tonight"
I didn't have a chance to try their wine this time. Next time!
Edit: We went back and their calzones are HUGE!!