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Pizza Bella in KC?

I just walked by the new pizzeria, Pizza Bella, on 18th and Baltimore, next to Habitat. The hostess said they opened on Wednesday. Being an architect i'm pretty excited to see a modern design for a new restaurant in an existing building. The menu looked pretty good, and not too expensive. Has anyone been yet? Please report back. I think i'll try to go next Friday for first Friday.

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  1. I think it will be MOBBED on Friday, so you might want to plan some other day. The service was enthusiastic, but just getting wobbly. Our waiter had been hired that afternoon, so he was understandably still a little fuzzy on some of the menu items.

    I went last night. The two of us split a sausage pizza with red onions and tomatoes ($10) and an appetizer of grilled brussel sprouts with hazelnuts and pancetta ($6). Both were very tasty (although the pizza could have used a dash of salt). Nice chewy crust with a crunchier bottom and the right amount of char. Nice selection of wines, wine by the glass, and beer. Daily gelato varieties. The room itself is fabulous.

    1. Had lunch there today. Excellent. I'd say 95% of my expectations. Pretty busy but not jammed by 12:15, it was jammed yesterday when I walked by. My pizza was ever so slightly more crisp / less chewy than I like, but it was still astoundingly good. I had the prosciutto/arugula/evoo/onion/cheese one. Maybe $1 too much and 1" too big for lunch, but a few plus some antipasti for a group would rock. Beautiful space, too. Staff seemed a bit tentative still, I expect it to improve. And the manager said that they may eventually start baking bread.

      1. Anyone notice if they have white pies on the menu? (In other words, no tomato sauce. Not one of those strange alfredo-ish sauce pies the fast food deliver pizza places pass off as a white pie. But you all probably knew I meant that, and it doesn't sound like a place that serves that sort of pizza, either.) The prosciutto and arugula pie barooo mentioned sounds white. Any others?

        3 Replies
        1. re: amyzan

          Well, the pizza we had didn't have tomato sauce, just tomatoes. So I suppose any pizza that doesn't have tomatoes listed as an ingredient probably doesn't have any tomatoes anywhere. With that in mind, I seem to recall two or three that looked like they would be white -- maybe one with leeks? Also, they had at least one pesto based pizza.

          1. re: amyzan

            There is one I tried called BiancoVerde and it's white - SO delish! All ricotta/moz/pecorino romano w/arugala and truffle oil.

            1. re: butterfli311

              That one we will try next, I imagine. We had the radicchio/gorgonzola pizza, which was a great combo of flavors, and no tomato in sight. It looked like roughly half the pizza menu is "white" pizza!

          2. I went there last week, and it was AWESOME! I am a very picky eater, the menu had enough variety and selection even for me. I had the calamari salad, YUM, and the Margherita pizza. I highly recommend this place. On our visit we had fast friendly service. Check it out.

            1. I was there Friday for lunch. I had the Procuitto and Arugula pizza and it was delicious. Very thin crust and it was even good cold that night for a late night snack.

              1. We went for lunch today. Perfect day for dining room exposed to the street, sunny but not too warm. I like the design and the food is terrific. My one complaint would be that our pizza had several burned spots on the crust. I don't mean it was well browned, but rather that the dough was so thin in spots that it was black all the way through. Not disastrous by any means, but they really shouldn't be serving those, IMO. I don't mind a few charred bubbles, but burned black bottom to top? No. We had the potato, gorgonzola, radicchio, a great combo of flavors, really tasty. Good crust recipe, flavorful, and the wood oven just adds so much.

                We also had the arugula salad and the cauliflower. That mustard dressing on the salad is fantastic, will definitely order it again. The cauliflower was pleasantly crunchy, no overcooked, and was topped with a generous amount of gruyere. I could take or leave the smoked almonds, as they didn't seem to be very smoky, and I think they'd really work better toasted separately and used as a topping. Minor point as the cauliflower was tasty and rich.

                We will definitely be going again soon, and we're thinking Pizza Bella will replace Spin on our rotation.

                1 Reply
                1. re: amyzan

                  We went last Thursday. We started with the brussel's sprouts with hazelnut vinaigrette and an order of cauliflower gratin. Both were delicious. We had a margherita pizza and the leek, pancetta and goat cheese pizza. Loved them both. I like some charred spots, both pizzas had a nicely done smoky flavor. I wouldn't have wanted the crust to be any more charred than it was, though. We will definitely go back. I wish they didn't have a giant flatscreen tv in the tiny bar area, but it appears one can't escape that anymore.

                2. Did anyone happen to notice the hours when they were there? I can't seem to find them anywhere online.

                  2 Replies
                  1. I hate to be the one lone dissenting voice, but I had lunch at pizza bella yesterday, and needless to say I was dissappointed. My dining companions and I arrived about 11:45 and the place was pretty full. Its a small space and being very close to Crown Center, it was full of midday business people. We were seated after a seven minute wait. Service was satisfactory, not especially friendly, but not rude or obtrusive either. We order three different pizzas--mushroom, prosciotto (proschiotto, arugula, tomato), and leek (leeks, roasted onion, panchetta, and goat cheese). There was a large chilled bottle of water on the table which was a nice touch. Hard cracker breadsteaks were also set out and they were studded with some sort of seed (perhaps fennel?). strangly addictive. The front wall is one large window looking out into the street so midday, the room was full of light. It had a good vibe.

                    The pizzas arrived in 15-20 minutes. The prosciotto looked gorgeous piled high with lightly salted arugula. However, the mushroom and the leek looked a little dismal. I know "wood-fired" pizzas are slightly charred and have a thin crack crust, but mine was overcooked to the point that I could not really eat the crust at all. The bottom was black and I could only really eat the center of the pizza. The panchetta was burned so much that they had become little hard bits of burnt pork. I could not taste the leek at all. The pizza was drizzled with EVOO but it was still very very dry. The mushroom was only marginally better--being not as overcooked but still my dining companion complained she could not eat more than the center. Now, the prosciutto fared much better. I think it benefited from the tomato sauce which was tangy and delicious. The arugula complimented the sauce and pork perfectly. My one bite was good. I would reccommend this pizza if I ever went again. All three pizzas were $10 (the prices are different than those on the online menu) The margharita and the one directly below it are $8 and $9 respectively) and the rest are a flat $10. Altogether, we spent $39 after tax and tip. We didnt order any drinks (had to go back to work in an hour) also as the sodas were a bit pricey at 2.50.

                    I didnt say anything to the waitress since I was dining with others, but based on my experience I would be hesitent to go again. Although I enjoyed the one pizza, the other two were just not that great. I was really excited based on the reviews I had read previously but this experience was little bit of a letdown. I would like to go and try just an appetizer, but now, I really am in no hurry.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: asiansensation007

                      And it's only gotten worse... When it first opened, we had a great lunch. I've been back several times because I live down there and each time it's something new. The last was lack of whites by the glass and before that it was smart-ass losers for servers. Hey, it's their $.

                    2. What a difference a week makes...

                      I went to Pizzabella last week and had an experience fairly similar to asiansensation. I had the Leek (leek, pancetta, roasted onions & goat cheese). One girlfriend had the Mushroom (mushroom, roasted onion, taleggio & thyme). My other two girlfriends both had the Margherita. My pizza and one of the Margheritas was so thin and burnt in spots it was almost inedible. The toppings on the Leek and Mushroom were minimal. However, there were bites where everything really came together brilliantly - but they were few and far between. Service was nice. We all decided that they were still working the kinks out - we weren't ready to write Pizzabella off completely.

                      Thank goodness!!!

                      Another girlfriend and I decided to try it out today. I decided to stick with the Leek and it was incredible. At least twice as much toppings as last time - some nice char - but not the burnt offering of last week.
                      My girlfriend had the Sausage (fennel sausage, tomato, evo, red onion & grana padona). We swapped a piece and I found the the sausage to be really delightful - I would not hesitate to recommend. However, we both agreed that we liked the Leek better.

                      But best of all was the calamari salad (arugula, white beans, olives, cheese and lemon vinaigrette) - I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life and not get sick of it. It was fantastic!! I don't know that I've ever had such tender calamari.

                      I'm so glad I gave it a second chance - can't wait to give it a third, and a fourth, and a fifth and a...........

                      1. I'm wondering if we should just refuse these pizzas with a significant portion of the crust burnt. In the one I had, 75% of the pizza was edible and delicious, but I still didn't really think they should be sending it out. If people start refusing the burnt pizzas, they'll have to step up their game, right? Oh, I hope so, because that wood oven makes great pizza when it's carefully made.

                        Just to be clear, I'm not talking about a few charred spots, but rather where the crust is apparently pulled thin, and as a result burns completely black top to bottom. That's what happened in my experience. I will still go again, but they need to address this. has anyone said anything and had a response?

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: amyzan

                          The next time we go back I would certainly send back any food that was incinerated.
                          Our food was perfectly cooked last week, but if I were to go back, which I intend to, and the pizza was overly charred, I'd definitely comment. The cooks need to get that feedback.

                          1. re: zataar

                            Having been a cook, if there is something wrong, you need to let us know. If no one says anything how do we know that a change needs to be made. My feeling is if you don't say anything asap, then you really loose all rights to complain.

                            1. re: tiomano

                              I understand that a kitchen needs feedback, but since I was dining with people I didnt know very well and was in a little bit of a hurry, I didnt complain. Perhaps if the waitress had noticed my lack of eaten pizza and maybe asked if everything was OK, then I would have said something, but I wasnt going to find her and point it out. Besides, I always feel a little bad about doing those sort of things. It is easier for some than others to be aggressive concerning their displeasure. I dont really feel as though i've lost my right to complain, but rather, my review serves as a warning to others that the kitchen hasnt exactly worked out all the kinks yet.

                              1. re: asiansensation007

                                I know how you feel. I think our service was a little lacking, no bad certainly, but we were never checked up on after the food was delivered. Those little details are the difference between great service and merely adequate. If we'd wanted to bring notice to the black spots, we would've had to wave to our server, who was eating a pizza at the bar. We felt kind of bad about doing that, because we were there around 1:30 pm, a little late for lunch. BTW, it looked like our server's lunch pizza was even more burned than ours. I don't know if the kitchen made it for him, or if they are asked to make their own, but it struck me funny. Yes, I think they have a few rough edges to smooth over.

                                1. re: amyzan

                                  For what it's worth, I don't think the service at 1924 Main is fantastic... nothing specifically wrong, just not quite right... most of the time. If you're lucky enough to get his wife, she's great.

                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                    I'm not into 1924 either. The food or the service.

                          2. re: amyzan

                            I'm very hopeful that this is not a trend...but rather just new restaurant trial & error. I'm sure they'll get it all worked out. But - in the future - I wouldn't hesitate to send back a burnt pizza.

                            I'd really like to go back today and have that calamari salad again.

                            1. re: Mushroom

                              I'm really sorry to hear so many people had problems with burnt crusts, I was really worried about getting one. We went to Pizza Bella the other night for a very late dinner. We got there at 9:30pm and they were really nice even though they close at 10pm. It was completely dead so we got our food really fast and no burnt crusts. We got the calamari salad (I was pleasantly surprised that it was a warm salad, yum), a sausage and the leek pizza. We were starving and throughly enjoyed the food and service at Pizza Bella, though I'm sure it's a complete zoo scene at lunch.

                              The one complaint was that it was hard to tell if it was open, we drove right by it and the sign was hard to read at night.The Art of Pizza across the street had a neon "Open" sign but it looked like it was closed/abandoned with the large plastic bottle in the window. What is the deal with that place? It is really weird to have 2 pizza places right across the street, though I'm guessing Art of Pizza is more like NYC style and Pizza Bella more like artisan pizza.