Bella’s Italian Cafe

I had dinner at Bella’s Italian Cafe the other night after driving up Howard Ave. looking for a place to eat. After successfully finding parking (the lot was packed) right in the front (score!) I walked inside to put my name in to eat. The restaurant was packed, but it only took about five to ten minutes to get seated. I was seated in a booth and the waiter immediately brought me some water and some bruschetta and started helping with my order.

Bread & Butter

I decided to order Fettuccine Alfredo (I’m quite a traditionalist) and the waiter, Andrew F., quickly put my order in and brought me some warm bread and butter. This waiter had to be one of the best severs I have ever had in Tampa Bay and frequently checked on me throughout the night to make sure my meal was satisfactory. Within about 10 to 20 minutes I had my Fettuccine Alfredo arrive at my table.

The Alfredo sauce was just as good as the waiter said it would be, a unique taste…reminded me of a sauce I had in San Francisco once. It was thick and creamy just how I like it, not watered down like the Fettuccine I had at The Italian Kitchen on 301. It has to be one of the best pastas I have had in Tampa and the price was $10.99, more than Olive Garden but cheaper than eating at Carrabba’s. The pasta had a great texture and wasn’t thin like I have also had at some Italian restaurants recently. The Fettuccine Alfredo won my love and I would recommend it to any pasta lover.

There was plenty of pasta and I was feeling full before I knew it. After some debate I decided to go with dessert, a half-size of Tiramisu for $3.75. Andrew F. quickly took my Fettuccine Alfredo and boxed it up and put the date and item on the box with a smiley face. I felt like a kid, but that is quality service. Who doesn’t like to be treated great in a restaurant?

My Tiramisu was out within a few minutes. The waiter was kind enough to pour the chocolate over it. They give you the same amount of chocolate whether it’s a half or whole size of dessert so I was in sweet heaven once the chocolate was poured. The Tiramisu was different from what I have had, much richer in chocolate and sweeter. It was great and the half-size was just right with an entrée.

The waiter brought me the bill after my dessert, but didn’t pressure me to leave. He kept checking on me and re-filling my water I requested during my dessert and that is quality service. The service kept going even after the waiter finished his duty of delivering the food. Bella’s impressed me with its tasty Italian food and phenomenal customer service (props to Andrew F. for making my first visit a great one). I spent less than $20 and ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo, a soda, and a Tiramisu. While browsing the menu I came across their lunch menu which has many dishes for under $5! Have to have lunch at Bella’s someday.

Bella's Italian Cafe on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Bella’s Italian Cafe

Cuisine: Italian

Address: 1413 S Howard Ave. Tampa, FL 33606

Neighborhood: Hyde Park

Phone Number: (813) 254-3355

Website: http://www.bellasitaliancafe.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bellas-Italian-Cafe/47956797890

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The Italian Kitchen Cafe

My family and I ate at the Italian Kitchen and Cafe last weekend. A small restaurant located on 301 in in the Sweet Bay Shopping Plaza in Riverview. Looking at the plaza its in you wouldn’t expect to find such a nice place, but once you walk into the restaurant you feel like you’ve entered a different world. They have used mirrors, painting, and decorations, such as columns to make the place feel fancy and elegant. The actual restaurant is not very big, but has plenty of space for dates and a special area for large parties as well. Prices were between Olive Garden and Carrabba pricing. My Fettuccine Alfredo was only $9.99. Other entrees ranged from $10-$20.

They were quick to seat us and to take our orders and within a few minutes brought our server brought us some bread.

The bread tasted great! What was better than that was the dipping sauce they gave with it that made me want it more and more throughout my dinner. A mixture of olive oil and seasonings.

My Mom ordered their Chicken Piccata ($14.99). I sampled it and it tasted a little too salty with a pungent taste. The texture of the chicken was made right, but the sauce tasted a little off. The pasta was average.

The entree that stole the show was my Step-Father’s Sinful Chicken Parmesan ($14.99).  A few bites of that and we all ended up wishing we ordered that instead. The marinara sauce and mozzarella tasted great and the chicken was crispy. The spaghetti pasta was the best out of the three types we had. In a future visit I think we would all choose the Sinful Chicken Parmesan as our meal choice.

My entree was a standard Fettuccine Alfredo ($9.99). I chose this entree because it is my favorite type of pasta and I wanted to try one of the classics here before venturing into other types of food. They accidentally made the wrong type of pasta at first, but quickly corrected their error when it came out covered in broccoli and mushrooms. The Fettuccine Alfredo was average at best. The pasta was a little too thin for my liking and almost felt like Linguine (my least favorite pasta type) and the Alfredo sauce was nowhere near creamy enough and it ended up tasted watery.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with my meal and would have preferred to have had this at Carrabba’s or the Olive Garden instead. Next time I would definitely order their Sinful Chicken Parmesan. Service was good and the waitress was very attentive to us. I would return again in the future.

Italian Kitchen & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: The Italian Kitchen Cafe

Cuisine: Italian

Address: 6915 US Highway 301 S Riverview, FL 33569

Neighborhood: Riverview

Phone Number: (813) 671-0953

Websitehttp://italiankitchencafe.com/