Newest Review: ... £1.95 *Lunch (midweek 11am-5pm) - salad and garlic batons to start. Main courses include a selection of pasta and pizza dishes and also bu... more
Head to North Bridge..
Bella Italia in General
Member Name: angelboouk
Bella Italia in General
Advantages: tasty food, menu, location, service, good value, desserts!
Disadvantages: limited space inside, no disabled toilets
**There are several Bella Italia restaurants within the UK and I have dined at two. My review is based on the Edinburgh restaurant.**
Whilst in Edinburgh recently, my fiancé and I decided to dine at Bella Italia for lunch. There are two Bella Italia restaurants in Edinburgh city centre but the first one we went to was very busy so we decided to go to the other restaurant.
0131 225 2044
Open daily 8am until 11pm
Bella Italia is a chain of restaurants offering Italian food.
This particular Bella Italia is located at the corner between the Royal Mile and the North Bridge in the old town area of Edinburgh so is in a good, accessible area. The restaurant has no onsite parking but can be approached by foot or bus. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and children's meals. The website allows for tables to be booked but a potential diner arrived at the restaurant and asked to book a table for 8 and was told that they do not take bookings so I'm not sure what the situation is with reservations. Children are catered for with activity packs and the restaurant has high chairs for younger children.
~Exterior and Interior~
This restaurant occupies a prime position and is easy to find. Being located on a busy street does have its downfalls as the tables are at street level and if you are given a table at the window, you will have people staring at your meals as they walk past, as we discovered. Inside, the restaurant is set over two levels. Access to the restaurant is up a step and the restaurant isn't particularly spacious so wheelchair access may be difficult. I didn't notice any disabled toilets either and the other toilets are down three flights of stairs. The toilets, I may add, were acceptably clean and tidy. The interior of the restaurant was welcoming but I didn't find it to be as nice as the Glasgow restaurant I dined at recently. I did feel the tables were a little close together so a romantic dinner wouldn't be advisable here. There is a pleasant atmosphere within this restaurant.
~Food On Offer~
The full menu can be viewed on the website so I will keep this brief. The restaurant offers a few different menus for different days and times.
*Breakfast - a lovely selection of cooked breakfasts, pastries and ciabattas from £1.95
*Lunch (midweek 11am-5pm) - salad and garlic batons to start. Main courses include a selection of pasta and pizza dishes and also burger and salad. 1 course is £7.95 and 2 courses are £9.95
*Main menu (available all day, everyday) - the main menu is extensive. Starters include olives, sharing platters and mini pasta dishes from £2.75. Main courses extend to various pizza dishes, calzone, pasta, burgers and steaks from £7.75.
*Desserts - plenty of choice here including sundaes, ice cream and cheesecake from £1.95.
*Children's menu - garlic bread followed by a choice of pizza, pasta, salad or chicken and a selection of desserts for little ones. This is well priced at £5.25 for three courses and includes a drink.
*Vegetarians - Bella Italia offers a decent selection of vegetarian dishes across the different menus including veggie pizza, tagliatelle, mushroom burger and other pasta dishes.
*Drinks - a well stocked bar offers a selection of alcoholic, soft and hot drinks.
The current specials menu offers Autumn dishes and can be viewed online.
~Welcome and Service~
We arrived at the restaurant around 2pm on a Saturday and were pleased to be seated right away despite the restaurant being busy. The waitress appeared to be friendly. We were given a selection of menus to look over and given time to decide which drinks we would like. I would say that the speed of the service was acceptable based on how busy the restaurant was. It was a peak time to visit and as it is the capital city, I did expect it to be busy. I informed the waitress on arrival that I had vouchers to use and these were taken happily when I wished to pay the bill.
This was my second visit to a Bella Italia restaurant and my fiancés first visit. We were soaked through and very hungry when we arrived so were happy to be seated. My fiancé ordered a bottle of Budweiser whilst I opted for a bottle of Appletiser as it was a bit early for me to drink. We were aware beforehand the restaurant doesn't offer a set menu at the weekend. I do think they would do well to offer some form of set menu at the weekend but sadly, this was not to be so everything is full price and you to choose from a wider selection of dishes. Bella Italia isn't super cheap but it certainly isn't the most expensive Italian restaurant that I have ever dined in and generally, the quality of the food and the portion sizes reflect the price in my opinion.
We decided to forget about starters as nothing, on this occasion, took our fancy. We went straight to main courses and were pleased with the selection of dishes on offer to us. I opted for carbonara as I was in the mood for a calorific pasta dish! My carbonara was presented in a large, deep bowl. The menu promised "spaghetti with smoked pancetta, egg and pecorino cheese with a splash of cream" priced at £8.65. I really enjoyed this dish. It was hot but not piping hot though it was thoroughly cooked through. The pasta had a nice bite to it and there was plenty of it. There was a decent amount of pancetta mixed in to the pasta which I was thankful for as some restaurants skimp on it! The sauce topping the spaghetti was delicious - creamy, cheesy and perfectly seasoned. I opted for a topping of paramsean cheese too. There was sufficient creamy sauce to coat the pasta well and prevent it from being dry. I would order this dish again as I found it to be tasty and filling.
My fiancé opted for 'Pizza Cotto' which consisted of a thin pizza base topped with ham, garlic mushrooms and mozzarella. He received a hearty sized portion of pizza and a knife to slice it up himself. He enjoyed it and I had a small slice too. I do prefer a thick pizza base but the thin base was cooked to perfection with a nice texture as opposed to being too hard and crunchy. There was a plentiful amount of toppings on the pizza and it was well flavoured. The smoked ham was particularly tasty and complimented the tang of the tomato sauce base and the cheese perfectly well. This pizza was priced at £8.45 which I considered a fair price. Side portions are available (at a cost) but we didn't personally feel the need to order extra items as the portion sizes of the main dishes are really good.
As we were treating ourselves, we ordered desserts. On my last visit to Bella Italia, I avoided the cheesecake after discovering that it had honey in it but something drew me to it this time and I couldn't resist ordering it out of curiosity! I received a good sized wedge of lemon cheesecake, a sprinkle of chocolate tagliatelle and a small pot of pouring cream. I am really glad I ordered the cheesecake in the end as it was absolutely delicious. I couldn't really taste the honey so that was a positive for me personally. The biscuit base was crumbly and buttery whilst the actual cheesecake tasted very refreshing and creamy as it was lemon flavoured. The chocolate tagliatelle was not to my liking. It was thin chocolate slices but was too rich for my tastes. The cream was delicious too and I made several "mmmm" noises whilst indulging in this after dinner treat.
My fiancé opted for 'Molti Strati' which was similar to a cheesecake. The slice consisted of a chocolate crumble base, white chocolate mousse in the centre and a topping of caramelised orange glaze as well as some chocolate tagliatelle. Fresh pouring cream was also present on the plate. I couldn't resist a taste of this well presented dessert. Oh my goodness - nom nom! This dessert was delicious and we compared it to the taste of Jaffa Cake but a very expensive and high quality Jaffa Cake! The crumble base was sweet and chocolatey whilst the white chocolate mousse just melted in the mouth. The orange glaze gave the dessert an additional boost of rich, sweet flavour and we would both highly recommend this dessert. At £5.25 and £5.55, these desserts were well worth it and rounded off a delicious meal on a very delicious sweet note.
We spent around an hour in the restaurant and enjoyed chatting and people watching. We thoroughly enjoyed every dish that we ordered and found the quality of the food to be excellent. The lady brought our bill over and excluding any vouchers, it came to around £34.00. This cost included two main meals, two desserts and two drinks - good value for money in my opinion. The restaurant accepts card and cash payments as well as vouchers. I embarrassed my fiancé by paying with all vouchers (except for a cash tip) and I am happy to confirm that they accept Tesco clubcard vouchers as well as Love2shop vouchers and Leisure vouchers so I paid with a mixture of all!
I would return to Bella Italia in Edinburgh in the future as we were pleased with the food and service we received. It isn't the most accessible restaurant for those with mobility issues but other than this, it is a nice place to dine. Some dishes are quite expensive if not purchased as part of a set menu but you can decided what you fancy and fit it in to your own budget. I recommend this restaurant.
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: tasty food just off the Royal Mile