We walked in to an energetic restaurant filled to capacity and I was instantly excited. The restaurant's slightly busier decor makes you feel at home but not claustrophobic because it was designed with good taste. Tables are closer together and I do like this style. You can focus on your own party's conversation but appreciate the good chatter of your neighbors. Who does not enjoy some interesting information gathered unintentionally! In all seriousness, it is nice to see others laughing and having fun over a good meal.
It took more than a few minutes for the server to bring our drinks, but after that initial delay, she was very attentive. We started our meal with the focaccia appetizer. There is no better way to start a meal than with hearty bread dipped in a good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For my entree, I was torn between the gnocchi and the tortellini and the latter won due to its accompanying sun-dried tomato pesto cream sauce. If you like rich cream sauce, which I certainly do, this entree is for you. Nice additions, the sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes made it much more than your average cream sauce. My partner in crime ordered the penne alla vodka, minus the pancetta. She and I are both vegetarians and the server has no qualms in meeting her request.
|Penne alla Vodka|
Our entrees arrived just as we finished our focaccia and we were both thrilled with our choices. The quantity was adequate and we polished off every last bite. I look forward to trying to gnocchi next time but it will be really difficult not to order the tortellini again. The trials and tribulations of eating at a nice restaurant. Last but certainly not least, dessert menus arrived. Apparently, our server is also a bread pudding fanatic, as I am, and when I said we were torn between a few of the choices, she revealed her loyalty to my favorite dessert and her love for Bella Monte's take on this popular dessert. That was an easy decision and we threw in the white chocolate cherry cheesecake for good measure. The bread pudding is made with Panettone and a rum sauce. As our server said, it was delicious but piping hot so watch your first couple bites. The cheesecake was rich and creamy and the cherries that sat atop the dish were perfect with the white chocolate. We managed to also finish these before finally resigning ourselves to asking for the check, but neither of us really wanted to leave.
|Panettone Bread Pudding w/Rum Sauce|
|White Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake|
I also ordered a take-out while we dined for a hungry boyfriend at home and he was thrilled with the chicken Parmesan. The only small blemish of the night was the side of meatballs I had ordered for him to go with the entree. I asked for a side of the Italian sausage and a side of the large meatballs in the prepared food case I spied in the back of the restaurant. I was explicit in describing them, even quoting the price. When I got home, there were much, much smaller meatballs in the box, so there was some mix-up between my order and the take-out box. Immediately upon discovering this mishap, I phoned the restaurant and the staff said to come by the following week and pick up the 'real' meatballs. We do not live close and while one of us will try to make it by the restaurant to obtain the bigger and better meatballs, I had hoped for some easier remedy. Something is better than nothing though, and as we know there are restaurants out there that would have simply done that...nothing.
There is a cute market attached to the restaurant. They have wonderful provisions for the cook, food lover or anyone who appreciates a nice gift for their home. I will definitely use them in the future for host/hostess gifts and will be able to find something unique, a little change from the typical bottle of wine. Bella Monte is also open for lunch, another meal there in my future.
Bella Monte Gourmet Market and Italian Marketplace
1201 Laskin Rd #100 Virginia Beach, VA 23451