Holiday Inn, Aerocity recently opened a wonderful new Italian restaurant called Bella Italia. Bella Italia is a branch of the UK based Bella Italia chain of restaurants and brings in the same liveliness and verve to Delhi, where frankly not too many good Italian restaurants are present.
As the photographs will show you it is a bright and happy place with two tiers and plenty of seating and a great open, casual feel. The upstairs also has a smoking section and arrangement for a buffet (which I believe is yet to begin).
Our meal began with a sharing board, Piatto di Carne, that had a number of cold cuts like Speck Ham and Mortadella along with some great accompaniments like olives, sun dried tomatoes and bocconcini and a big piece of ciabatta. The meats are mostly imported from Italy and each has a different taste and texture and balances the entire plate perfectly.
The menu at Bella Italia is comprehensive and even vegetarians should have nothing to complain about here. In fact the next two starters we had were vegetarian, a classic bruschetta and a beautiful ciabatta with roasted peppers and feta on top. Both wee superb but the roaster pepper ciabatta was my favourite and easily a signature dish for Bella Italia.
The next two starters were Polpette (chicken meatballs in a tomato sauce) and Gamberi (prawns in garlic and chilli butter) . The chicken meatballs were decent though a little dry from the inside but the prawns were a grand success. Beautifully cooked in a rich, tangy, herby butter sauce was worthy of repeat servings.
For all worrying why there is no mention of pizza till now, good news! Bella Italia does a wide variety of pizzas and they are all the way they are supposed to be, thin, crisp and delicious. My pick is the Pepperoni Picante, a delicious, meaty pizza with roasted onions, juicy pepperoni and fiery chillies. A combination to really satiate your taste buds.
Another great tasting pizza is Pollo Pesto pizza that a different basil pesto base with roast chicken and mushrooms on top. To be honest you can pick any pizza and will not be disappointed.
Bella Italia also does a healthier whole-wheat base version of the regular pizza called Pizza Vita and it tastes just as great.
In the pasta section I tried the superb pollo pesto gnocchi here. Fresh home made pillowy gnocchi was drenched in a basil pesto sauce and had all the favourtie Italian flavors like roasted peppers, roasted chicken, Padano cheese and sun dried tomatoes. If ever there was a dish I am willing to come back for it was this. A good pasta looks deceptively simple when it comes together so beautifully but the balance on this was spot on.
There are a plethora of desserts at Bella Italia but my pick would be the Limoncello Meringue Pie and the classic Tiramisu.
The Limoncello really makes a difference here as it sings in your mouth and cuts through the very sweet pie otherwise.
The tiramisu is a ubiquitous dessert at every Italian restaurant but Bella Italia does it better than most and the secret for me is their much superior Zabaglione which is rich and flavourful.
Go to Bella Italia as it has great food, lively ambience and experience a new star in the Italian restaurant space in Delhi.