Bella Italia Ristorante
535 Central Ave, Orange
Hours: Tues—Thur, noon–10 pm; Fri, noon–1 pm; Sat, 4 pm–11 pm; Sun, 1 pm–9 pm
Style: Casual, white-tablecloth decor with intimate lighting and ample seating.
Don’t Miss: The pasta e fagioli ($5.50) has a hearty tomato broth, is chock-full of beans and pasta, and is deliciously (and fragrantly) enhanced by generous amounts of roasted garlic. Other winning starters are the escarole-and-bean soup ($5.50), baked clams casino ($7.95) topped with bacon, and the finely diced tomato-and-onion salad ($4.95) tossed with vinegar and oil. Entrées lean toward traditional Italian dishes like house-made pastas including gnocchi Bolognese ($12.95), which has smooth, creamy dumplings and a meat sauce. The cavatelli with broccoli is served in garlicky wine sauce ($12.95). Red sauce selections include baked ziti Siciliana ($12.95) that strays from the classic recipe by the addition of eggplant along with plenty of pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce. Land and sea options include pork chops Murphy ($16.95), thick-cut chops smothered in mushrooms and onions with hot (or sweet) peppers in a tangy brown sauce; veal saltimbocca, egg-battered fried veal cutlets with sliced mozzarella and prosciutto served over spinach ($17.95); and zuppa di clams and scallops, a seafood medley with basil, tomato, and garlic over linguine ($18.95). The nightly fresh fish selection can be prepared “your way” (blackened, broiled, baked, or scampi).
Heads up: This friendly family-owned eatery is helmed by chef/owner Salvatore Granata and is a popular spot for parties, with private rooms that accommodate 20 to 200 guests.
The Scoop: Located on the edge of the in-progress Orange/West Orange Valley Arts neighboorhood revitalization project, Bella Italia is two blocks away from the soon-to-open Luna Stage and a half-dozen art galleries.Click here to leave a comment
What's a Quick Bite? Short takes on casual, affordable dining.