Bella Vino - Chandler
My mom loves Italian food and had been wanting to try this new place that opened by her house at Chandler Heights and Alma School so we all went for her birthday Saturday night.
Not a neighborhood red sauce kind of place but trying to be more a higher end Italian featuring "authentic Italian flavors." Menu consists of typical starters and salads(though no calamari which disappointed Mom a lot). Pastas were familiar and included bolognese, vongole, fra diavolo, pesto, lasagna, etc. Secondi offered steak, salmon, marsala, pork tenderloin, stuffed chicken breast. A few woodfired pizzas are also offered.
In the absence of the calamari, Mom picked the eggplant appetizer instead and we shared two of these around the table. There were eight of us and the six large slices were plenty. The breading would have been flavorful but they were left in the fryer a bit too long and had a burnt flavor adn were dried out. They looked to be breaded in house.
I had the Vongole e Linguine con vino bianco. This is my favorite Italian pasta and I order it just about everywhere. Sadly this was a poor version. A few littleneck clams, some mussels and some crabmeat. I'm a purist and just want clams but could have forgiven the variation. However...it came with the seafood and pasta floating in what I suppose was supposed to be a broth or fume. Unfortunately it didn't taste like much. My mom and my sister had the same dish(linguine alle vongole is a family love) and we all agreed it was much too bland. This dish should taste like the sea and this just tasted of pasta water.
My husband the bolognese and thought it was pretty good. He complained that his pasta was mushy...this was in fact the case all the way around the table...not one pasta served al dente...all much past this point.
Service was spotty. The server was friendly and pleasant. We waited over half an hour for the appetizer and then the entrees arrived while we were still working on the starter. Another server walked by our table carrying two much too large stacks of drinking glasses without using a tray...these went flying to the stained concrete floor showering my mom and sister at the end of the table in broken glass all around their feet and handbags. Drink refills were very spotty and the server indicated "we only refill if you ask"
I'm not sure how long this restaurant has been open. I know it's relatively new but not sure exactly when it opened....maybe it's still opening kinks being worked out.
It wasn't too expensive but wasn't cheap either. $204 for 8 pastas, two appetizers, one glass of wine and iced tea for everyone else.
We were all pretty disappointed. Every time a new independent place opens we are always hopeful to find a new local gem. Sadly this one didn't fit the bill. Maybe management will tweak the menu to add some more unique items, work with the kitchen(seriously, mushy pasta in an Italian restaurant is hard to forgive), and work on the service....if not, I don't think they'll be around long. Admittedly, ti's summer and the much of the Sun Lakers are gone(this is right next to Sun Lakes but also part of the Ocotillo and Fulton Ranch area)...but the restaurant was pretty empty for a Saturday night.
Bella Vino Ristorante
985 W Chandler Heights Rd Ste 4, Chandler, AZ 85248
I've only been for lunch, and had the pasta bolognese as well. My pasta was al dente, and it was the best bolognese I've had in a while, but based on my dining experience and a peek at the dinner menu, I thought it was expensive overall and don't have it high on my list to return. They opened in February or January, I believe, so forget opening kinks.
My take is their space is way too big for the traffic they get, so they have to build that into the prices, thereby excluding both the frugal Sun Lakers and the Ocotillo families with kids. Since they are slow, they can't hold on to servers and have a lot of service issues. Plus, with the opening of Cork across the street, the fine dining crowd will go there, the wine bar crowd will do to DVine, and the mommies and kiddies will go to Bravi, the new gourmet pizza chain. They really should have consulted us Zig! I wanted to like it, and this will only continue to fuel the "East Valley can't support fine dining" jazz, but sorry, short of some dramatic changes, I don't see a long future ahead;(
"this will only continue to fuel the "East Valley can't support fine dining" jazz"
yeah, that was exactly my thought as well. Good analysis on the situation, yamalam. I'm still stymied that they sent eight plates of mushy pasta out as well as the burnt eggplant. It wasn't at all busy and you had nice al dente pasta so they both know how to do it and no one should ahve been in the weeds in the kitchen.
My mom is a big fan of Dvine actually(haven't been there myself) and the dinner we had at Saute a few months back wasn't bad so at least there's some good options down in that area. It's an improvement over a few years ago...
My husband and I were very excited to try Bella Vino when it opened as we too love to try new independent restaurants. We were extremely disappointed to say the least. The food was below average and over-priced. The manager (or owner) was just standing in the front of the restaurant, not talking to any of the guests and never even thanked us for coming in as we left. In this day and age people expect stellar service along with a quality of food that they couldn't get anywhere else. I thought the fact that they were trying to pass this place off as an upscale restaurant was a joke...this was no more than an Olive Garden with better decor. Don't waste your money. Go to DVine instead. Wonderful atmosphere and delicious food that is well worth the money.
I wholeheartedly agree with you in finding Bella Vino pretty disappointing. The food was average. The service was terrible. The arancini was good. My short ribs were decent. The ribeye my wife had was about 1/4" and resembled shoe leather.
An example of the service...
Me: We’ll have two glasses of Prosecco
Waiter: (face all scrunched up) Huh? I don’t know what that is. You have to order by the number.
Me: Ok, we’ll have two glasses of #101 and a bottle of this wine here (pointing). I’d like you to bring the wine out now so we can open it and let it breathe.
Him: (eyes bugging out) Whoa…what is this again?
(I go through the routine again)
Him: Now which do you want first? The glasses or the bottle?
Me: Umm, I’d like them both now.
Him: (shaking his head) Can’t do that.
Me: Why not?
Him: (still shaking his head) 30 second rule
Him: (still more shaking) If I bring you a drink I can’t bring you another one for 30 seconds. It’s the rule.
Me: Ok, bring us the glasses of Prosecco and 30 seconds later, bring us out the bottle.
Him: (light bulb goes on) I can do that…(and off he goes)
Later on we are thinking about ordering the "Plate of Assorted Cheeses"
Me: So what kind of cheese is in the cheese plate?
Me: (waiting for some sign of a joke....wait...wait) Can you tell me the specific kinds?
Him: I dunno but maybe someone will know
Me: Ok, we'll try it (big mistake)
Out comes a plate filled with cubed supermarket cheeses (red and white port wine cheese, some fluorescent green and white cheese, cheddar.) It was pretty pitifiul
d'vine is the place to go if you some interesting food and excellent service.