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May 14, 2011 04:48 AM

Cella Bistro (Schenectady)

Went to Cella Bistro.

It was crowded. We sat in the front so we could have the option of ordering tapas. When it's less busy sometimes they let you order tapas in the main dining room. Same friendly service. Now on to the food:

Fried chick peas with lime - particularly good. One of my favorites.

Grilled baby artichokes on a bed of baby arugula with ? - very good. Simple and delicious.

Small white sardines in olive oil and lemon - very good. Had before, a favorite.

Texas Toothpicks - fried jalapenos and onions with chipotle mayo. Disappointing - no heat! Some of us like it hot . . .Would not order again.

Fried calamari with ? sauce. Cooked properly. By now I had had my fill of fried food . . .

Wine mark up is low here and we appreciate that. Joseph Phelps c. sauvignon for $60 :)

Had a lemon dessert and espresso. The lemon dessert brought back memories of Bloomer's lemon icebox cake. . .

I'm sure there's more on Cella Bistro on this long thread and the General Tristate Archive.:

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  1. Went to Cella Bistro recently.

    Sat in the front (can't order the tapas which we enjoy in the main dining room).

    Same friendly service as last time. In addition to a bottle of Joseph Phelps we had:

    Bread service with EVOO

    Fried chick peas w/lime

    Grilled baby artichokes w/aioli

    Small white sardines w/olive oil

    Fried shrimp dish with a spicy ? sauce

    Arugula salad with ? cheese, portabello, mushrooms

    We had the dessert special: cherry and chocolate cobbler with an oatmeal crumble. A little too much oatmeal flavor/crumble for me (why get in the way of all that chocolate and cherry?). Otherwise, delicious. And espresso.

    A Schenectady favorite for a casual dinner.

    1 Reply
    1. re: financialdistrictresident

      Forgot to mention another special we had . . .butternut squash soup with creme fraiche and candied walnuts. Perfect on a cool evening. Not ready for Autumn which begins on Friday.

    2. Returned to Cella Bistro recently.

      Sat in the front again (they don't serve tapas in the main dining room and we like to order from both menus.)

      Had some of our favorites (fried chick peas w/lime, fried calamari and arugula salad with cheese, portabello, mushrooms).

      Also tried some new dishes:

      *fried oysters with aioli (some of the oysters were sweeter and fresher tasting than others)

      *paparadelle with mushrooms and truffle oil

      Enjoyed everything we had, missed having the sardines. Same friendly service.

      Our go to place for casual dining in Niskayuna. Wish there were more options in Schenectady . . .

      1. We sent to Cella Bistro recently. We didn't have reservations and were seated promptly. It was very crowded and lively. Jersey Boys is playing at Proctor's. After 7:30 pm the noise level calmed down.

        We had some of our favorites and new dishes. We appreciate all the fish choices given SO is on his Lenten diet now. They also ran out of several dishes. We like that, everything is fresh :)

        We started with small white anchovies in olive oil and lemon. Cold. A favorite we've had many times. We were about to order a bread course when our next plate came.

        We had a salmon platter. Presentation on a wood board with chopped egg, onion, capers, finely chopped parsley, bread, etc. Very good.

        We had the spicy, garlic shrimp on roasted red peppers. Our server advised this was spicy. Not to us. We added some hot red pepper flakes and salt. Very good. Shrimp was cooked perfectly.

        Next we had a favorite, the fried chick peas with lime. They changed the presentation . . .in a bowl now. I liked the old presentation better. Still delicious.

        We were still a little hungry. SO ordered the papparadelle with mushrooms, truffle oil and fresh peas. I had a taste, delicious. This is one of our favorites.

        They were out of my favorite arugula and mushroom salad. So I had another favorite, the scallops with mushrooms. Scallops were cooked perfectly.

        We ended up taking some of both these dishes home.

        We finished with espresso and shared some kind of apple cake (consistency of a carrot cake) with very good vanilla ice cream. I'm not a big cake person, so probably wouldn't get this again.

        Service was excellent, a little relaxed towards the end of our meal. Friendly, warm, casual dinner place. We will return . . .

        1. Headed to Tara Kitchen. Wanted to show our support after the recent robbery. We didn't have a reservation (a MUST and we should have known better) and the line was out the door (Chef Aneesa is a Rising Star Chefs finalist). So we headed to another favorite restaurant, Cella Bistro.

          They have a new Fall menu.


          Octopus with awesome sauce - I didn't care for this. Did like the spicy flavor (not sure exactly what "awesome" sauce was). Way too much celery for my taste. SO really enjoyed it.

          Now I'm kicking myself for being good and not ordering the addictive fried chick peas with lime. Or the fried calamari with chili sweet sauce that SO suggested we order . . .


          Salad in a large radicchio leaf with apples, walnuts, bleu cheese, etc. - I didn't care for this either. There was a flavor that made it taste off on my palate. It wasn't the bleu cheese because I love stinky cheeses. Maybe it was whatever was white and shredded in it?

          For our MAIN courses we had MORE STARTERS:

          SO had the gnocchi with rabbit.

          I had the scallops. Excellent. Cooked perfectly and some of the sweetest scallops I've ever had.

          Our server advised us about the STARTER portion size when we asked. These portion sizes were perfect for us as mains or if you care more about quality then quantity/"American sized portions." Might not be large enough for a big eater (there were plenty of main courses to choose from).
          We shared a coconut cream pie and espressos for dessert.

          1. we tried cella bistro last night and were quite pleased. we sat in the back dining room and the tapas board was in there so i guess it doesn't matter where you sit for that. my wife started with the baby beet salad and i had the warm mushroom salad but without the pancetta. i thought was the best thing i had. for my main dish i had the escargot out of the shell with puff pastry and mushrooms. also excellent. as i was having this as my main, i got a side of roasted fingerling potatoes to fill it out. my wife had a few of the tapas items for her main; fried chick peas, asparagus with fried egg and truffle oil, Long-stem baby artichokes with lemon caper aioli and the white anchovies in olive oil and lemon. for dessert we split the chocolate cherry crumble and coffee. the crumble could have used more cherries but was still quite good. all in all a very pleasant meal and another place to keep on the list for going back.

            2 Replies
            1. re: davmar77

              davmar77, so glad you had a good experience.

              The mushroom salad sans pancetta and addictive fried chick peas are some of our favorites.

              Last time we went it didn't matter where we sat. We like the choice of ordering tapas or from their full menu no matter where we sit.

              We also enjoy Cella Bistro and Tara Kitchen (we need to get back there).

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                we actually were thinking about tara's first but then i remembered we wanted to try cella since we had already been to tara's. glad we went. we had some left over fried chick peas at home so i tossed them on my salad last night. worked well.