515 Central Ave, St Petersburg, FL | Directions 3370127.771468 -82.640650
Neighborhoods: University Park - South Downtown
We love this restaurant. If you are looking for the best Italian in Downtown St. Pete, this is it! The hummus & fonduta are our favorite appetizers, while we try something different almost every time for entrees. Chicken parm is great, and I love the tomato soup & ham and cheese sandwich for a quick lunch. Good food & good service.
Bella Brava – We were anticipating a great restaurant and we were disappointed! The staff is wonderful and the investment in the restaurant is huge. They need a new chef and a new menu. We met the owner and he was genuinly warm and friendly. But, will not give it a second chance. Minedga Archilla-McNamee/St. Pete,Fl.
mean kitchen – knowing the server....they proceeded to tell me that after i asked for more sauce for the pasta....the chef said " tell them..."I hope their fat ass dies from clogged arteries." After i heard that, i can't tell you how many friends I told that story to. It doesn't matter how great the chef is, but they should know that not everything they prepare, but also EVERYTHING they say effects how people view the restaurant. St. Pete is a pretty small town compared to what I am used to. Word gets around. Educate your non-educated restaurant BACK kitchen staff. B/C i promise you, the front half talks.
Cool place and good food – It was very inviting and wait staff was very friendly as well as the front staff was great. The food was very good.
Great meal – Was on vacation last weekend in St. Pete and dined at Bella Brava on a whim. Had a very pleasant experience, one of the best meals I've had in a while. Great service, very well executed food and fun atmosphere. Would recommend it to anybody.
Nice atmosphere, but food was underwhelming – I visited this restaurant for the first time with my wife and another couple on 2/8/08. I chose the restaurant expecting the specialty to be Italian food, but were informed by the waitress that the place had recently hired a new chef whose specialty was Louisian/Cajun cuisine, so the Italian selections on the menu may were being reported by some customers as "disappointing." Consequently, we all stayed away from the pasta. We started with a crab dip appetizer, which was excellent. I and my wife's friend ordered a salmon dish with apricot cous cous. The salmon was very tasty (although maybe a bit undercooked for some peoples' tastes) but the cous cous had a bitter flavor and I could not tast apricot at all. The rest of our table were satisfied but underwhelmed by the food. The wine list was nice as was the decor. The service was a bit slow, especially in preparing the entrees, but it was a fairly busy Friday night. Free valet was a nice perk if you need it. Because the restaurant is in one big open space and the floors are concrete, the noise of the crowd was loud, though we were able to hear each other enough to converse. Overall, an average place, but I would have loved to have tried this place out when it still boasted an Italian-oriented chef.
Authentic Italian – I have travelled a great deal, many times to Italy. This restaurant represents the closest to authentic Italian cuisine I have found anywhere. It would fit comfortably in New York or Milan, Seattle or Florence. While every restaurant has its "off" nights, I have never had a bad meal here. And the service is outstanding. Our server was friendly, knowledgeable, not overly solicitous but there when needed. Extensive wine list with wide range of prices. Some great Italian reds, and a nod or two to the American wine country. I had a pasta dish called a Sedanini. The pasta with spicy tomato sauce and sausage with fennel is covered with pizza dough and steamed in their open pizza oven. Delicious and more than enough for two meals. Others in my party had the fish special, which was black grouper served on a bed of rapinni and white beans, and a stuffed veal chop that all were devoured. No one had pizza, but what I saw coming out of the oven looked quite like the pizza I remember having in small Tuscan towns - thin and not layered with tons of topping. Our server surprised us with a dessert sampler gratis, and although all were delicious, my favorite was the tiramisu. Overall a great dining experience worth repeating.
Best experience overall – Fresh, beautiful and delicious!
After years living in Tampa/St. Pete, my friends and I have visited the best and the worst. At last! A restaurant that is new, beautiful and the food is wonderful. Our bartender was personable, fun and made the best Truffletini I've had. The pizza we had to start was crisp and delicious and, my mother tells me, is just what I could expect in Italy. The risotto special was wonderful -- not always the case with risotto. Some of the rest of the table tried various pastas and all were wonderful. The roasted chicken looked and smelled terrific and my boyfriend tells me was excellent. Next time we want to try the salmon or the sea bass. We especially appreciated the long list of wines by the glass. Since we couldn't pass up dessert, we shared two -- the tiramisu and the funghetto. Our server tells us the tiramisu is the original recipe from Chef Mario's mother -- perfect! The menu had so many things to try, I will definitely be back. The next table had beef prepared tableside that looked and smelled wonderful. Another huge plus -- outside seating downstairs and on a second story balcony -- so beautiful on a warm evening but they also have heaters. The whole evening just felt right...fun, interesting, delicious, authentic food, friendly staff and not a cookie cutter chain.
I had the worst lasagna I've ever had the misfortune to eat – In reading the other review for this restaurant, I can't believe we went to the same place. In my eyes, this a typical example of having an upscale looking restaurant to attract higher-end clients without providing the quality food/service to back up the facade. The waiter was obviously not well versed on the daily specials, as he had to read them from his hand while stumbling through the written words. Also, he did not have a good grasp of their wine menu. The lasagna I had was not even distiguishable as such; there were no distinct layers and it appeared to have been sitting out for quite some time as it was all globbed together - the cheese was like a horrible layer of child's clay over top. My boyfriends Bolognese dish had zero flavor...I think I've made better out of a can. Overall, I will not recommend this restaurant to others. In fact, I have already discouraged a few of my friends from wasting their time/money on this restaurant.
Best Italian Food in Tampa Bay – This is not your typical Italian restaurant. Bella Brava is sleek and stylish but very warm and inviting at the same time. This is a great date place or a place to go with a group of freinds to really make an evening of it. The staff is extremely knowlegable and attentive and are willing to do what ever it takes to create a tremendous excperience. Try the Seddanini BellaBrava a rustic Tuscan pasta with a robust garlicy sage tomato sauce , smokey pancetta and spicy tuscan sausage, baked in the wood fired oven with a layer of pizza dough. Try the prosciutto wrapped cedar planked salmon with crispy roasted rosemary potatoes. We loved the fried olives stuffed with smoked mozzarella and fontina with a spicy tomato sauce. Try the panna cotta for dessert, an eggless vanilla bean custard with a delicate caramel sauce, so light but so sinfull!
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