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Bella's Restaurant

4.4
679 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Perfect For:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Good for Groups
  • Fit for Foodies

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About

Bella's Restaurant is the place to go for authentic Italian cuisine in Charlottesville, Virginia. Owner Valeria Bisenti wanted to share all the great food from her native Rome when she opened Bella's Restaurant in 2012. The warm, relaxed dining room along with the friendly and attentive staff will make you feel right at home. Add in an array of delicious menu options and that explains the eatery's popularity.

The menu at Bella's Restaurant features traditional Italian classics like sausage and peppers, porchetta and zuppa di pesce. The make-your-own-pasta option offers classic pastas choices with a variety of sauce and meat combinations, including veal. No meal at Bella's is complete without the signature Coliseum dessert: vanilla ice cream with pecan praline, chocolate, raspberry and caramel.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Italian
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Hours of operation
Lunch Menu

Monday- Friday: 11:00am - 5:00pm


Dinner Menu

Monday- Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Friday 5:00pm- 11:00pm
Saturday 11:00am- 11:00pm
Sunday 11:00am - 10:00pm
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Phone number
(434) 327-4833
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Eva Solano
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Catering
We do it all. Give us a call.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
7th Street NW
Additional
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 679 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.4based on all time ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.2
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on May 22, 2016

Made reservation months in advance to celebrate daughter's graduation from UVA. Bella herself arranged to accommodate extra guests at the last minute. Food was fabulous!!!! Everything we ordered was delicious and family style servings were generous. Highest recommendations. Thank you Bella for making our celebration so perfect!

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5.0Dined on May 22, 2016

You really can't beat the authentic Italian food at Bella's. The owners are fantastic friendly people who take pride in their restaurant. I love bringing out of town guests here because they are amazed at the quality of food and the bang you get for your buck. Family sized portions make it easy for everyone to try a little bit of different meals. This place has easily become a family favorite in my household.

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5.0Dined on April 22, 2016

Amazing food, generous portions, and outstanding service. The owner and wait staff were attentive and made our evening incredibly special!

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1.0Dined on April 12, 2016

We were very disappointed. The eggplant parm was burnt and so tough you almost needed a staek knife to cut it. The "catch of the day" on the Zuppa de Oesce was TALIAPIA!! Talapia is a farmed raise, cheap, fish and is NOT the catch of the day! The Tierra Musu was dry, lttle to no evident coffee liquor (and had CHOCOLATE CHIPS on it.

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5.0Dined on April 11, 2016

Our second visit, lunch this time, and it was just lovely for my sister's birthday. The food was great- fresh and real- very pleasant to sit there and share, family style, and they let us hang out and talk for HOURS. Our server David was wonderful. I look forward to returning, and working my way down the menu.

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3.0Dined on April 9, 2016

Service was very subpar. Waiter kept us waiting for several long periods without refilling our water and was late to check for dessert and the check. It was obvious the waiter ignored us as he went by us many times to serve everyone else around us.

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3.0Dined on April 5, 2016

The best part of the meal were the appetizers. The Caesar Salad was outstanding and polenta balls stuffed with cheese were very good. The entrees (sausage with red peppers and chicken masala) were long on volume and short of flavor. I took the leftovers home. Reheated the chicken masala with a base of butter and masala and ended up with a creamy and quite good dish. Reheated the sausage with red peppers with a tablespoon of garlic sautéed in olive oil, tomato salsa, and red pepper flakes -- again a nice dish. Wish I remakes had been what we had at the restaurant.

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5.0Dined on April 4, 2016

This is a charming restaurant that sets the standard for Itaian food in the Charlottesville area. The gorgonzola romaine salad was superb as was the eggplant entre. All in all a pleasant dining atmosphere that is perfect for that special occasion.

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5.0Dined on April 2, 2016

Food and service were excellent. Friendly atmosphere. We chose one of the specials as one of our entrees (pasta w/clams) and it was teriffic. Portions are huge, but the leftovers taste great the next day. Roasted romaine salad is a must. If you love garlic, this is the place for you. Try a few different entrees and you get a variety of tastes and preparations. I can't wait to go back!

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5.0Dined on April 2, 2016

My wife and I had perhaps the best clam linguini we have ever had. The noodles were, contrary to most restaurants, actually cooked to an al dente consistency. The clams were tasty and plentiful. The dish was delivered hot and with no extra (untrained pasta water) liquid. Bravo!

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5.0Dined on March 31, 2016

Our server was knowledgeable, helpful and attentive - but not intrusive; the menu was great - something for everyone, and the 'serves 2/serves 4' approach is innovative. The Grilled Gorgonzola salad was fantastic- suggested by our server, and recently voted the best salad in Charlottesville. There were four of us, and we all agreed on the Chicken Marsala for four: an enormous platter of the best Marsala dish we had ever eaten. A fabulous experience, dimmed only slightly by the very high noise level.

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3.0Dined on March 28, 2016

It's family style and a little pricey if you don't have a big appetite.

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4.0Dined on March 19, 2016

Outstanding food and very good service. The menu had everything you want and the drink selection was balanced (ales and lagers).

Only complaint is we were seated next to the door, which was opened about every 2-3 minutes throughout the evening. We all kept our coats on for the meal, it was that cold. If you go to Bella's, request a seat away from the door.

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5.0Dined on March 18, 2016

My parents visited town this weekend and I just had to take them to Bella's as it never disappoints. Great atmosphere, food and service!

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3.0Dined on March 18, 2016

All dishes are served family style for 2 or 4. They focus on classic Italian dishes. We had the veal parmigiana. Quality is high and ingredients appear fresh.

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5.0Dined on March 12, 2016

Excellent Restaurant. Very tasty. Fantastic service.

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5.0Dined on March 2, 2016

We continue to go here with friends and family when we want to be assured of a quality, delicious meal.

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5.0Dined on March 1, 2016

Took my mom here for lunch when she came to visit. We split a two person order of grilled romaine and a two person order of spaghetti and meatballs. Glass of merlot for her and pinot noir for me. Plenty left over spaghetti and it was all delicious. Not terribly expensive for the quality and quantity. Service was also excellent.

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2.0Dined on February 27, 2016

Everything was great except we were seated where every time someone came or went it was freezing. It made it very uncomfortable. You also had nowhere for coats. I had a problem with leaving my coat partway on the floor.

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4.0Dined on February 22, 2016

I've been here several times. The food is good, and the portions are huge. Food is served family style to feed 2 or feed 4. If you have an appetizer and Entrée, then order according to the number in your party or you'll be taking food home. 1 appetizer for 4 and 1 entrée for 4 will leave all 4 of you filled. Multiple types of pasta with varying sauces. Good food. I really only notice slight differences in some of the sauces, so the food flavor profiles don't differ vastly from one dish to another. It's a fun, intimate restaurant. Tables are very close, and it's very loud if the restaurant is full.

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4.0Dined on February 20, 2016

delicous, and so yummy. Honestly the only thing I didn't like was how quick the service was. I was expecting to have a lovely, long date with my boyfriend to celebrate a belated Valentine's Day. We got our entres in 5 minutes of ordering and I felt like the waitress and manager were rushing us out of the restaurant, and we had only been there for 30 minutes. Great food and environment, but we choose your restaurant to have an experience together, not get a fast meal.

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5.0Dined on February 19, 2016

wow! best Italian food we have had in years!

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5.0Dined on February 19, 2016

Bella's in Cville!! Great veal parm! The calamari was spectacular to start with. The tiramisu so good! Its really amazing! Service and attention to detail was top notch. Great place. Best Italian food i have had since moving from The NYC metro area! I live in Richmond and its worth the drive. I will be there again very soon!

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4.0Dined on February 14, 2016

Hostess tried to sit us in an undesirable location. Otherwise, it was a perfect experience!

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5.0Dined on February 14, 2016

I don't usually write reviews, but this one definitely calls for it!
My boyfriend and I wanted to go out somewhere new and nice for Valentine's Day, and it had to be somewhere with tiramisu. We looked online and found a great little spot. He called and unfortunately (and crazy) they don't take reservations. So we decided to just show up early and hope for a table. We also found Bella's restaurant via Open Table online and booked it as a second choice.
When we went to the first restaurant we really wanted, it was CLOSED on Valentine's Day! We were both surprised, but happy that we made other reservations at Bellas. We showed up to Bellas and I immediately was impressed by the sweet roses they gave out to all of the women for the special occasion. The setting was intimate and romantic even though the restaurant was busy. They were playing sweet classic love songs and the italian food smells were heavenly.
We were both starving so we ordered the calamari (one of our favorite dishes) as an appetizer. We were also both very excited about the large "Family style" portions at Bellas. The calamari came out quick and we were both extremely impressed. Not long after we received our orders. I got the salmon polenta cake special and it was HUGE (also heavenly). The melt in your mouth sauce was the perfect compliment to the buttery polenta cakes and the yummy zucchini noodles. My boyfriend got the seafood pasta dish with fish, shrimp, oysters, mussels, and calamari. I had a few bites of his and it too was amazing! We of course knowingly couldn't finish our dishes, so we had them packaged up to go, excited to have them the next day for round two.
To top off the night, we ordered the tiramisu, of course. This was probably my favorite dish of the night (sweet tooth). It was a perfectly large enough size just enough to fill up the both of us. I highly recommend it, and I highly recommend Bella's restaurant if you are in Charlottesville! :)

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5.0Dined on February 14, 2016

We were visiting Charlottesville from NY and needed a restaurant near our hotel for our family with two teenagers. Living in the NYC area we are used to great Italian food. Bella's didn't disappoint. We all loved it. Food was fresh and delicious. Service was great. Highly recommend!

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5.0Dined on February 14, 2016

I've eaten there many times and have always enjoyed it! You will not go away hungry!

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4.0Dined on February 14, 2016

Rice ball appetizer was cool in the center (it is fried). Eggplant parmesan was warm but not hot, served in two huge pieces with no knife to cut, and laid like a lead ball in my stomach for the duration of the day. It was a surprisingly heavy meal. I will not order it again.

Zuppa de pesce was served on a plate, but should be served in a bowl. Broth splattered everywhere: shirt, tablecloth, etc. The leftovers were brought in shallow Styrofoam containers, which leaked all over the back seat of hubbys new car. So much for the new car smell. It did taste good, though, even with the gross blobs of tomato stuff in the broth.

There is an option to choose one's own pasta combination. You can add whatever meat you choose, to whatever sauce you choose. It would be nice to see a vegetarian option here. Mushrooms would be awesome.

There is no place to put your coat, and mine was constantly falling off my chair.

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4.0Dined on February 12, 2016

My husband and I went to Bella's for Valentine's Day dinner. It was our first time there. We enjoyed the atmoshere very much. Our waitress was excellent. The food is quite authentic as we are Itailians and know when Italian food is for real. We would definitely go back and would also recommend Bella's to friends.

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5.0Dined on February 12, 2016

The food is delicious, and you get a lot of it for a low price. Great place for a casual dinner/date.

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3.0Dined on February 12, 2016

My husband wanted to take me to one of my favorite restaurants for Valentine's Day and we chose to go on Friday night instead of later in the weekend. The salad and dessert recommended by our server were top notch but the entree did not impress. We ordered my favorite, lasagna, but it was not the same as in previous visits. Instead of lovely melted cheese sandwiched between layers of pasta, we received the end pieces from the pan which certainly were not hot or displaying melted cheeses. I can't imagine what happened but I'm almost inclined to think we had leftovers from Thursday's dinner. If we return in the future, we sadly won't order the same entree. There aren't many good Italian restaurants in C'ville so I would hate to think that the quality is deteriorating.

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5.0Dined on February 12, 2016

The lasagna was very good and we loved the garganzola salad. The portions are very large, so we left feeling full and satisfied. The server was excellent; he offered suggestions to help us make up our minds. Overall, a great meal in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

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5.0Dined on February 6, 2016

A group of 4 went and had a wonderful meal. Make a reservation early, especially on the weekend. Huge family style portions allow for leftovers the following night...which is a good thing.

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5.0Dined on February 5, 2016

Our whole experience was excellent. Very attentive wait staff and the zuppe de peche was awesome. We also had the grilled Gorgonzola salad which was also excellent. Highly recommend

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5.0Dined on January 29, 2016

The service in my opinion is some of the best I've ever seen. Each waiter and waitress serves with a genuine smile. The food is PHENOMENAL! My girlfriend and I fall in love with the food every time we come and of course we have our favorites like the grilled gorgonzola romaine lettuce salad and the gnocchi mac &cheese and the eggplant parmesean. 100% worth it!

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5.0Dined on January 24, 2016

I'd heard good things about Bella's when I moved to Charlottesville, but I only recently started going. This is definitely one of my favorite restaurants of all time. The Chicken Parmesan is to die for. Highly recommend!

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5.0Dined on January 21, 2016

We always make it a point to dine at Bella's every time we visit Charlottesville. It is some of the best Italian food anywhere.

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2.0Dined on January 9, 2016

our server (i forget his name now) was a gentleman maybe in his late 40s, and he was incredibly pleasant for the first hour of our meal. And then, as we were wrapping up our enteres, a 6-top sat next to us (in his section) and it almost seemed as if when he realized their check would be bigger, he no longer cared about providing us with excellent guest service as he had started off doing. He rushed us tremendously, taking our plates as we were still picking off them, and then proceeded to bring out our check without asking if he could split it or even offering us dessert. We asked to order the tiramisu, and when he brought it back, he took away our water glasses (that were still filled!!) and then brought back out the check. Very rude, and if I go back and was assigned him, I would ask for a different server.
I've worked in the industry before so I know it's incredibly inappropriate and wrong to treat guests with the mentality "what can they do for me..." which is how I felt treated the entire second half of my meal at Bella's.

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5.0Dined on January 8, 2016

Like that there is now a gluten free pasta option!

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5.0Dined on January 6, 2016

Enjoyed a delicious dinner at a reasonable price. Food is served family style so it is best to decide in advance what food choices would please all your dining companions. The restaurant is small so it can be a bit noisy. It was also crowded considering it was a Wednesday evening. Reservations are a must.

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