Bella Mia Pizzeria - If it could go wrong, it did....
When we arrived it took 10 minutes to get water and menu's, as "chatty cathy", the ADD waitress serving our side of the room flitted about holding overly lengthy conversations and inefficiently did tasks separately that could and should have been combined. And the manager had to initiate us getting that. We watched as the waitress on the other side of side served those who came in after us promptly. If there had been tables left on that side at this point, we would have moved. It took another 10 minutes before "cathy" returned to take our order. We ordered calamari, but at 7:30 at night, they were already out. The rolls came when we had been there 25 minutes, and were burnt. Tables across the room whose patrons arrived after us got theirs 10 minutes before we did. The meatballs ordered as a side for the dinner showed up before the salad, and "cathy's" attempt to explain why (things come out when they come out.." missed the mark. The salad came shortly after, followed five later by the *wrong pizza*, which was never delivered to another table, so obviously someone messed up when placing our order. When I said it was not the pizza we ordered, "cathy" questioned me an insisted it was, before checking her order slips and then adding, "You're right. This isn't even one of my orders." The eggplant took another five minutes, and it took the same five minutes of watching "cathy" talk to the manager to get another pizza order in. My husband had finished eating before my correct pizza arrived, about an hour after we had. The manager delivered it, and said, "Did you not like the salad?" My husband explained that he did not have a chance to eat it before his dinner arrived, and the manager said she would take it off the bill. "Cathy" arrives and announces that since so many things went wrong, we would be treated to a dessert on the house. She does not give us a menu or tell us the choices. Empty plates on my husband's side ignored, she leaves and does not return until both of our plates have sat too long. Then she says, "Did you decide?" Needless to say, "cathy" does not seem suited for her current job.
The food was okay to good, the portions were large. The egglant parm with spaghetti was over-sauced, and the pizza needed a salt and pepper before cooking. The toppings were quite sparse and not well distributed, instead the were placed in a ring between the middle and the edge.
I doubt I will be returning. What should have been a short pleasant meal turned into an endurance test for which we had to pay.
give pizzarina over on s. king a try sometime. limited menu, moderate to good service, good food. In addition to good pizza they have good (and very reasonable) subs as well as a few baked dishes (lasagna, baked pasta). Not gonna claim it is 'authentic' italian, but few pizzarias in the US serve authentic pizza anyhow.
Thanks for the recommendation, Kaimukiman. I used to be the Hawn. music buyer at Tower Ke'eaumoku from 95-97, and used to lunch there frequently. But other than the garlic cheese bread, it never really grabbed me. Still gotta try V Lounge and JJ Dolan's, two I haven't tried yet. :-)
I went to V Lounge once. I really liked the crust (similar to Boston's imo), but the toppings, sauce were disappointing. (We got the magherita.)
I have been disappointed by JJ Dolan's the two times I went, but people swear by this place. There's a pizza thread somewhere on the boards.
Sorry about the meal at Bella Mia. Is this the place on Beretania near Moiliili?
V-Lounge: i think you should try it again. i REALLY like this place and am glad these neopolitan style pies exist here in honolulu. the crust is pretty different from boston's (?), totally different prep of the pizza - do you mean like, after the crust is in your mouth and getting chewed it tastes similar? i guess i might concede that, though the char is what its all about at V-lounge... i guess you are either into that or yer not, but i love their crust. I find the main problem at V-lounge, with SOME of their pies, to be under-seasoning which makes them fall flat. The first time i went i asked for some salt, and the waiter said that the chef did not want to provide any extra salt as he deemed his pies perfect. i straight-faced told the waiter the pizza was under seasoned....he snuck me some salt. I think the dude has chilled out since then...i mean, they always have hot sauce on the tables - why would you put out hot sauce for the pizza and not allow salt??? (BTW - that hot sauce is DAMN good. "Da Ring Stinger", made locally by the same dude that sells the hamakua mushrooms at the KCC market - seriously good stuff). ANYWAY - my favorite pizza on the island is V-Lounge's Sorpressata "Pepperoni" pizza....he's generous with the meat, and it adds that extra seasoning that i want on my pies. keepin' it simple. If you go get that pizza, and dont think its in the top 3 pies on the island....well....also, the pie with the fresh prociutto and arugula on top is a very good one as well. once again, he's quite generous with the toppings and it comes together beautifully. i know that a margherita should be the measuring stick, and perhaps that one falls short at Vlounge, but for me, these 2 i mentioned are the ones to get at V-Lounge.
JJ Dollan : it is what it is: pseudo-new york bar pizza. i think their crust is super inconsistent...sometimes way overcooked, sometime under cooked. flavorwise, the crust is OK. the pies should be bigger. they lack a little je ne sais quoi, lack a little magic. that being said, the flavors of the pies tend to come together pretty good, and when i want some beers and some decent pizza in a fun environment, i think JJ's nails it. all about expectations. their wings are pretty tasty too.
i'll try write more later...gotta work... :)