“ Bella Roma-Italian place in Manchester. Situated just yards from Don Antonio?s, Bella Roma is also just minutes from the city centre. „
Reading these reviews, I can't believe they are the same restaurant we have had many a good meal in. We often visit here as it is local to Canal Street, however there are a few things you need to be aware of. Firstly, we have only visited and ate on their special offer menus which are advertised outside. You can pick any starter, main course and coffee for about £7.95. Be aware that when you go in, they will not give you this menu, but the general menu and we had to ask for the special offer that they had advertised in the window. It was no bother, this was swapped for us straight away. I can understand that this restaurant could be seen as overpriced if you had eaten on the normal menu. The garlic mushrooms are the best, and you watch your food being cooked. The stone baked pizza is lovely, cooked just how you like it. The 10% service charge is advertised on all their menus so I can't see how this is not noticed. This can be a cheap restaurant if you spot the special deals and it is in a good location too.
Spent a lovely evening at Bella Roma with a group of friends. Good wine and lovely big plate of pasta followed by homemade tiramisu. As it was my birthday they took the time to decorate the table and the tiramisu was on the house with candles in it too. I will definately be going back soon to sample some more of the food.
I went there on my own one Saturday night and should have heeded the warning sign that it was almost empty.
I ordered pasta (cannelloni) and a green salad and an orange juice and soda which at £2.95 was very expensive and I had to remind them of it when it didn't arrive after about five minutes.
The cannelloni when it came was ok although it was over rich - the sauce was very cheesy (cheddar?) and there was a slightly strange taste to it. The salad was swimming in a very vinegary dressing and the leaves were well past their best.
I decided to risk dessert - allegedly home cooked. I asked if they had a semifreddo (it was on the blackboard but not on the printed menu). The waitress said they had chocolate mousse 'which was the same thing'! I tried to say that it wasn't but gave up and ordered a chocolate mousse anyway. What arrived was thin slices of some sort of sponge (plain not chocolate) with a white ice creamy filling sprinkled with chocolate vermicelli from a packet. When I said that wasn't a chocolate mousse the waitress insisted it was. When I asked the manager he also said it was - despite the fact that it plainly wasn't a mousse and wasn't made of chocolate either. Whatever it was it was so sweet I couldn't eat it.
When the bill came they had added 10% service charge on to the total although the amount wasn't shown on the bill as a seperate item.
I don't know if it was because I was a lone middle-aged woman that I was treated so badly but I would never go there again and would discourage anyone else from going there. I'm not surprised it was so empty.
Well skip the gangster bit, and the rest’s true. On Friday we were hungry. Which meant we wanted to eat. And being able to cook as badly as we do, meant there was only one solution – a restaurant. As part of my quest to try every Italian place in Manchester, we ended up at Bella Roma. Situated just yards from Don Antonio’s, Bella Roma is also just minutes from the city centre. It’s on Portland Street, opposite the Britannia Hotel and around the corner from Piccadilly Gardens. There’s some on-road parking nearby, and plenty of car park spaces if all the latter are gone. It’s walkable from Piccadilly station (go down the approach until you hit the Baked Potato place, and then turn left and follow the road along). Again like Don Antonio’s, Bella Roma is situated below ground. The entrance is on street level, but you are then directed down a flight of steep steps to the dining area itself. There was no sign of a lift or ramp, so wheelchair users take note. We went on Friday evening and it wasn’t at all busy. When we arrived there were a mere 3 other people there, and an hour or so later when we were leaving, the number of parties dining had increased only to 4. Since this restaurant had a capacity of maybe 30 or 40 diners, we had plenty of space. The restaurant was authentically decorated with lots of rustic wood fixtures, and linen and paper table cloths. Each table held a chianti bottle, acting as a holder to the tall red candles which we lit as we sat down. The music seemed to be a mixture of Italian and Spanish tunes – very Mediterranean and very, well, jolly. The place was nice and clean, and the toilets (handily located directly behind our table) sparkling and well stocked The selection on the menu was not that large, but was certainly adequate. Starters included various meat, fish and vegetarian dishes, and an assortment of breads, all priced from £2.50 to £5.50. For main courses th
ere were pizzas, pasta and, for the carnivores, steak, fish and so on. The variety of each of these was limited, but we both found something to eat. Prices for main courses ranged from £5 to about £15. You can order a starter as a main, but you have to pay more for it, as a minimum charge applies. Drinks were quire pricey - £1.60 for a rather small soft drink – and again the range was small, although they seemed quite proud of their wine list. Puddings included a choice of 4 or 5 cakes, and ice creams, although none of these looked tempting enough for me to try a piece or scoop. The service wasn’t exactly slow, but considering we accounted for a third of the customers most of the time, we did seem to be sitting there for quite a while before the starters arrived. I had garlic bread (elegantly called GBH on our bill - due to the fact that I opted for the herb rather than cheese or tomato varieties) and he one of the specials - a seafood salad. When he came to remove our plates, the waiter asked if we were ready for our main courses, and when we said yes, he brought them over immediately. Every last scrap of the pasta and steak was eaten, although this was more to do with the hungriness of the diners rather than the taste. Although the dishes were cooked well, this couldn’t hide the underlying quality of the food, which was considerably lower than we have come to expect out and about. Even their parmesan sucked. The waiter tried hard to be funny but he didn’t really carry it off. There are, after all, only so many pepper jokes that can be made. When the bill came (about 5 – 10 minutes after we asked for it, despite the emptiness of the place), a 10% service charge had been added, although this wasn’t made evident really. Luckily (?) both of us enjoy the odd spot of mental arithmetic and so picked up on this. The inclusion of such a charge is not all that unusual for city centre restaurants but usually they d
o make I more obvious. We were in and out in less than an hour – a new Friends video at home was calling so rather than stay and chat over an expensive coffee, we went home to get tucked up into bed for juice and sweeties and laughter. Overall it’s the type of place you’re glad you’ve been to if only so you know that you don’t really want to go back. Perhaps the fact that it was so empty at prime time when Don Antonio’s, with similar location, menu and prices should have told us something. Not one of my favourites, and not likely o become one of our regular haunts, but hey, it was better than staying in :-) Bella Roma 42 Portland St Manchester 0161 236 6631 They also have a sister branch at: Manchester Rd Mossley 01457 833495 (price below is for a meal for 2, including soft drinks and 2 courses each, plus the service charge)