August 2011 update: This restaurant is currently for sale.
February 2011 Review
La Bella Italia, the restaurant that took over the old Prings’ space, is back under a new name: Tuscany. After years of trying to make a go at it, including multiple renovations and the addition of an Indian food menu, the Indian-American Italian-food loving family who owns the place had finally said “enough” and leased out the facilities to a couple of wanna-be restauranteurs who opened up an Italian restaurant they called Bardelli’s in the location. Apparently Bardelli’s didn’t do so well – I never tried it, so the food might have been a problem, though I suspect highish prices and a lack of promotion figured into the equation – so they closed and returned the restaurant to the Bella Italia owners, who have apparently decided to have a new go at it under a new name. Unfortunately, that’s all they seem to have changed from their previous incarnation.
My friend Aamani, Camila and I decided to go there for lunch yesterday. We got there around noon and we were one of two parties. Their lunch menu consists of a handful of cold sandwiches, pizzas, pastas and soup/salad (the same stuff they had before). If I well remember they are mostly in the $7-9 range. Lunch is served with a nice warm dinner bun and butter and a small bowl of soup. Yesterday it was some bean and pasta soup, tasty but not too interesting.
We had about an hour for lunch, not enough time to order the pizzas, so Aamani went for the Prosciutto sandwich (fresh mozzarella, parma prosciutto roasted peppers and artichokes). She thought it was pretty good. She liked the bread and was happy with the ingredients, though she wished the prosciutto had been warmed. Still, she wasn’t doing handstands over it. I had their lasagna bolognese and was disappointed by the lack of seasoning. The whole dish was very bland, some salt would have surely helped, perhaps a cheese beyond ricotta.
On the plus side, lunch was pretty cheap and the waiter was gorgeous (albeit very young). Still, I don’t imagine I’ll be back anytime soon.
La Bella Italian Inn
15015 E. 14th St.
San Leandro, CA