Heard about this place because of this previous thread here on the board.
I need to post as I was just there tonight. It started to fill up around 9 pm, which seems strangely European like everything else about Bella Roma, but from 7-9 while I was there I counted at most 4 tables of diners. This is a Friday night. And this is just wrong, since this is one of the gems I have been to in LA since moving here 4 years ago.
I will echo what has been said by others (I've yet to find a negative review of this place): the chef is from Rome, he gets involved personally in your dinner, bringing plates directly out of the kitchen himself at times, boning and serving fish, saucing things at tableside. In terms of chef fashions, he has a creative way with patterns, let's say, that would make Mario Batali look like a shy case. He is gregariously friendly in the best way. The food that I had tonight was unbelievable and just like eating at a trattoria in Rome. We had the "suppli" al telefono, which I would normally call arancini, risotto balls with tomato sauce and mozzarella; we had the stuffed calamari which was a special and beautiful, stuffed with crab meat (did not have the special soups, there were four of them tonight, pumpkin, minestrone, pasta fagioli, and stracciatella). We had two pastas: home-made tagliatelle with bolognese sauce and the bucatini amatriciana. My wife (Italian) noted how precisely they were flavored, by which she meant salted, which makes a huge difference (there was neither too much nor too little, it was perfect, and thus very Italian, since as my wife will tell you, the Italians are perfect and I do agree). We had the branzino, which came with polenta and vegetables and mashed potatos that had a touch of nutmeg in them, making them also seem extremely Italian (i.e., you see by now, perfect). You bring your own wine, they cork it for $4. We had the tiramisu and the cannoli for dessert, both were the best versions of these we have had in LA. In fact the tiramisu was one of the best I've ever had. In fact, I was just in NYC last week and bought a box of cannolis at Rocco's on Bleecker and ate most of all of them myself since I miss them so, and Bella Roma's cannoli was .... better. The waiter (who also seemed Italian, or at least was speaking Italian at times, completing the fantasy of this place) brought us some gelato for no reason whatsoever but that it was a beautiful gesture and ended our meal with that and espresso. As I got up to leave after paying, I looked inside the restaurant (most tables are outside on the sidewalk patio with heaters), and there was the chef, looking up from his cooking, and waving energetically at me.
This place is ... perfect.
I don't necessarily want to tell you all about it, really, since maybe then I won't be able to get a table there so easily.
But I also don't want to see this place with 4 tables full on a weekend night.
Go to Bella Roma. It isn't fancy, but it is like a trip to Rome.