Bella Italia Ristorante: an Italian hidden gem in Winter Garden
Welcome back! As I said in my first entry, G and I love going out and trying new places every time we get a chance, so I’m always in the look for good places that set themselves apart from the rest. Bella Italia Ristorante managed to catch my attention immediately!
They’re a local Italian restaurant in Winter Garden with so much to offer, I promise one blog entry isn’t enough to sell you the experience I had. You have to go and try it yourselves!
Let’s begin talking about the owners. Dorina is super sweet. She greets the customers as they come in, which gives you that great feeling of being well taken care of. Her husband, Leonard, is the executive chef and co-owner. He’s exceptionally creative when it comes to putting together the menu for Bella Italia. They always dreamed of opening their own neighborhood restaurant, and their passion is reflected in every little detail of your dining experience.
When it comes to the menu, I really liked the many options they offered. From salads, sandwiches, pizza and classic pasta, for their lunch menu. To more elaborated dishes like a wide array of pasta al forno, chicken or veal, eggplant dishes and my all-time favorite, fish and seafood, for their dinner menu.
Price point? With the assortment of options that they offer, you’d expect really high prices but that wasn’t the case here, at least in my opinion. Lunch dishes are under $10-$12, and dinner ones are mostly under $18-$20, so there’s something for everyone.
My personal experience
Okay, I know you’re all probably expecting to know how it went for me, so let’s feast! They brought me some salad to begin. The vinaigrette was great, nothing too complicated. I didn’t want to eat too much to leave room for the main dish, but overall it was good.
Then of course I had to order from the seafood side of the menu. Many names captivated my eyes. I know G would have ordered and loved the Shrimp Fra Diavolo because it consists in sautéed shrimp in a spicy marinara sauce, served over spaghetti. Then I saw Frutti di mare, which was a mix of seafood in a fresh garlic lemon-butter sauce, also served over spaghetti. But I finally decided on the Bella’s Shrimp: sautéed shrimp in olive oil, garlic, scallion, diced tomatoes, olives and white wine sauce topped with feta cheese over spaghetti.
I know it might sound a little overwhelming, but I wanted to try something that I haven’t tried before, and believe me when I tell you Leonard has an amazing ability to bring all the flavors together into something outstanding.
I never really thought of mixing feta cheese, olives and shrimp with white wine but oh boy, was it amazing. The sauce brings all the flavors together in a way I can’t explain. You’ll have to go and try it yourself (and let me know your thoughts!).
I couldn’t finish my plate -and believe me, I really really tried-, and later that night I regretted it when I started craving some more Bella’s Shrimp. You most certainly will have some leftovers for the next day so bonus points for that!
Obviously I couldn’t leave without getting some dessert!
Dorina told me they made most of their desserts at the restaurant. From classic tiramisu, to crème brûlée, they offer sweets for pretty much everyone.
I was dying to try the crème brûlée when Stacey, their extra-nice server, told me about it. But unfortunately the dessert is so popular and good that they ran out of it the night before. Such a shame, now I have an excuse to go again!
You probably can already tell from the picture, I ordered the cheesecake because Stacey told me it was her favorite and they made everything themselves, from the cheesecake itself to the strawberry syrup that goes on top!
Let me tell you, she wasn’t wrong! This was so creamy and good, I still remember it to this day. It wasn’t too sweet like many other cheesecakes I’ve tried before. Definitely the perfect balance.
I still wish I could have tried the crème brûlée, tho. If they ran out of it, I bet it’s amazing!
So yes, that was my experience at Bella Italia Ristorante. Apart from having extraordinary Italian food, their attention matches their food, and so does the overall dining experience. I believe that when owners are this involved, it makes an immense difference. At least it does for me.
TL;DR: This is a must if you love Italian food. Or even food in general. Do yourself a favor and pay them a visit!
Bella Italia Ristorante
13848 Tilden Rd, Suite 192
Winter Garden, FL 34787
+1 (407) 347 3277