An Introduction to Cafe la Bellitalia
Cafe la Bellitalia aims to bring authentic and delicious Italian cuisine to Madison. In addition to delicious slices and pies, they serve pastas, deserts, and include a children's menu when you’re looking to take the family out for a meal. As one of the higher rated pizza restaurants in Madison, Cafe la Bellitalia is a solid choice for a great pizza restaurant in Madison. A great location with awesome reviews helped land Cafe la Bellitalia in our Best Pizza Restaurants in Madison article.
Here is a quick overview of Cafe la Bellitalia from Google Reviews:
1026 N Sherman Ave, Madison, WI 53704, United States
Busy, comfortable bistro turning out generous pasta portions & plating thin, pan & stuffed pies.
Comfort food · Quick bite · Great dessert
4.6 Stars, 395 Ratings, $$
Cafe la Bellitalia claims a 4.6 star rating from Google reviews with almost 400 reviews. The menu is not particularly innovative, but they try to pay attention to detail here and it’s worth a try if you’re in the area.
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Below are a few reviews from Yelp from Cafe la Bellitalia. Hear from other people who have already eaten at Cafe la Bellitalia to help you determine if this is your next pizza destination. Read about their experiences so you can know what to expect.
All of the reviews below were found on Yelp.com and you can find links to each of the reviews themselves below as well.
Four of us stopped in for dinner at 6:30 on a Saturday night. Small place - can seat around 50. Small wait when we arrived as one large party wrapped up and then the three groups who were waiting all were seated promptly. The menu has lots of delicious sounding entrees - took us awhile to order. Our server was patient with us. We finally settled on: Stuffed eggplant (I added one meatball for $1.50). Two large portions of eggplant and ricotta covered in marinara and then smothered with melted mozzarella. Served on top of spaghetti although you can substitute the pasta of your choice. The dish was sweet - which is not my taste preference. I couldn't tell if it was the marinara sauce or the breading or both. I wasn't able to finish my meal (due to the size not the taste). Before reheating at home I added some of my own marinara which improved the flavor. Hubby had the veal Marsala. Menu description of this dish was two tender cuts of veal with the Marsala sauce and pasta. His expectation was to have the veal, mushrooms, onions and sauce on the plate with a pasta side. Presentation was strips of veal tossed with the pasta, mushrooms, onions and Marsala and served in a bowl. He also commented that his dish was sweet. Yes, there is a sweet Marsala but I use that in desserts - not entrees. Mussels and linguini with the addition of shrimp was the choice of one if our friends. Generous portion of mussels and a flavorful white wine and garlic sauce - but served without the shrimp add-on. The server stopped by the table to check on the taste and to let us know the shrimp were on the grill and would be out in just a few minutes. 15 minutes later - the shrimp had not arrived, our server was totally focused on getting a table of six their drinks and salads - and the mussels dish was two-thirds finished. Another few minutes and she brings a side plate with six pieces of shrimp - apologizing for the delay. Rather than add the shrimp to his garlic wine sauce and mussels that is now 90% consumed - our friend offers a piece of shrimp to the rest of us. The shrimp was not overcooked - but also not flavorful. Looked and tasted as if it had been boiled in water and then brushed with plain butter before serving. The hit of the night was the lemon chicken with sausage ravioli. Tender chicken, red pepper, green pepper, broccoli, lemon cream sauce that was not overly lemon - and the sausage ravioli on the side. When we were seated we were brought two baskets of garlic bread, some napkins and side plates. Each table has a condiment tray of oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, cheese and pepper flakes. I added some oil and cheese to my plate to enhance the garlic bread. The glass container for the oil had not been wiped off and was oily. The garlic bread is served cold. It was warm once because it has melted garlic butter and parsley flakes. It looks to me like they prepare an evenings worth of garlic bread ahead of time and then just stack the baskets up in the kitchen to be brought out to the tables. I can appreciate the efficiency but if they could find a way to keep the bread warm without drying it out - that would be a great improvement. Next time we are in Madison I would go back - want to try the pesto cream sauce with chicken - or maybe one of the ravioli dishes. Photo of Cafe La Bellitalia - Madison, WI, United States. Veal Marsala with fettuccine
This may be a 3-star review but I'm not necessarily criticizing them, their style of food and atmosphere were just not a 5-star experience for me. Cafe La Bellitalia has a large menu of what the typical American considers Italian food. This means pasta, sauce and meats prepared in different ways. They had a small selection of sandwiches, but none of those appealed to me, so I went with the crowd and got a "traditional" Italian dinner. My choice was the mushroom ravioli and hubby got the spaghetti carbonara. We had no complaints with our food but it was nothing unique, nor was there any unique, or for that matter adventurous on the menu. A nice safe place to take grandma. The restaurant was also very noisy but that is likely not unusual for a restaurant this size. The parking lot was tight and I wouldn't want to navigate it after a Wisconsin snow storm. Will we be back? Probably not because it's just not a place that appeals to US. It might be perfect for you though.
I've been here a few times now and it's become our go-to old-school Italian spot. It's a no-frills, building hasn't changed in 50 years sort of place, and I'm fine with that. It's not decorated in a romantic fashion, but something about it gives a romantic vibe, even when the clientele of the day is mostly families. The first thing I tried at Bellitalia was the chicken parmesan and I haven't strayed since. A metal tray of some of the best noodles I've ever had (so fresh! so chewy!) gets a dose of sweet red sauce, two thinly-pounded and breaded chicken breasts, and a healthy coating of cheese before being placed in the oven to get the cheese browned and bubbling. Is the metal tray the most elegant serving dish? No, but it keeps my food warm the entire duration of my meal. I've always got at least half to take home and it reheats surprisingly well. I've tried bites of my boyfriend's dishes and they have been great as well. The breaded ravioli is delicious, as is the complementary mini loaves of garlic bread. The only miss has been the Bellitalia Sticks - described as six breadsticks made from their homemade pizza dough I was imagining a basket of delicious, pillowy goodness. In reality, it was a rectangular sheet of pizza dough, cracker thin, cut into strips and sprinkled with herbs. It still fits the description on the menu, but for $6 dollars I was unimpressed. In general the price of appetizers is on the high side, but the entrees are reasonable. Prices are lower than Olive Garden and everything is house-made, fresh, and a heck of a lot tastier. Service is a bit below average, but I've also never had an adult server. It's always been young teens and since it's a small, family-owned place I cut them some slack. I'd be willing to bet it's the first job our servers have ever had and they have to learn somewhere. They've all been polite and friendly but sometimes we don't get checked on for long stretches or have to hunt them down for silverware, etc. My personal dining goals at Bellitalia are to enjoy a meal and conversation so I'm never really in a rush when I'm there but I understand how this would be frustrating to many. Give it a whirl - the old-school flavors might not be for you, but if it is up your alley you'll be sad you didn't discover this place sooner.
There are lots of reputable pizza restaurants in the Madison area. However, Cafe la Bellitalia is one of the highest rated options with a long history of leaving people happy with their meals.
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