La Bella Italia Restaurant – San Leandro – Updated Review

It’d been quite a while since I’d gone to Bella Italia for lunch, and I thought it was time to give the restaurant a try. So last Wednesday, when Lola came to visit me, I decided we should go there and see how the restaurant is faring. Alas, the answer seems to be “not very well”. In the hour or so that we were there, no other party came to have lunch. Granted, it was New Year’s Eve, so a reduced crowed is expected, but nobody?
For some reason, the owners have greatly expanded the restaurant from the size it was in its Prings days. I guess that makes sense if they are renting the place out for parties (and if you are looking for a banquet room in San Leandro, this may be a good choice for you), but it does it seem even lonelier when you are the only party at the restaurant. The place does look as nice as it can, given the architecture of the building (which was built as a coffee shop). There are cloth tablecloth and napkins, nicely made up tables and a new wooden bar that seems very well stocked up. Still, it doesn’t have much of a “date” or “nice dinner out” atmosphere.
It’s perfect for lunch, however, specially given the very low prices. The lunch menu offers salads, sandwiches, pizzas and pastas, dishes are mostly in the $6-8 range and they come with warm bread rolls and (unsalted) butter – there is also olive oil and balsamic vinegar at the table.
I had the lasagna bolognese ($6 lunch, $11 dinner) and I thought it was pretty good. It had a good combination of cheese to meat to pasta. The sauce wasn’t my favorite, and it was nowhere as good to the lasagna I made myself a few weeks ago, but it’s a safe dish to order.
Lola had one of their pizzas, I forgot its name but it was the one that came with ground beef. She didn’t feel it tasted particularly Italian (she’s spent a fair amount of time in Italy), but she thought it was OK. I’m usually not a thin-pizza sort of person, but I liked it. It thought there was a good balance of toppings to bread, and the sauce was not overwhelming. Lola didn’t seem to like it that much, but Mike thought the leftovers we brought home were very tasty. I think I’d order it myself.
Service was good and attentive, and I can’t believe how cheap lunch entrees are. I’d definitely go again for lunch.
La Bella Italian Inn
15015 E. 14th St.
San Leandro, CA
Original Review

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