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Restaurants & Bars

Bella Citta [StL] revisited

Wayno | Aug 12, 200209:54 AM

Having read the local food press, and posters here, praise this place, we gave it a shot Sat. night with some visitors from Chicago who, like us, moved inland from SF. Unlikely we'll go back. The food was so-so. The original chef has left, but published reports had indicated that the food quality hasn't suffered. If that's so, then it wasn't too impressive to begin with. The much-acclaimed gnocchi were very leaden. The duck was fatty. Everything else was okay, but not inspiring. Best taste of the evening came when we headed down the road to Modesto for the dessert empanadillas. Love that place! Maybe the worst thing about the experience was atmospheric. Bella Citta, despite the name and location on the Hill, is not an Italian restaurant and certainly doesn't promote itself as one [though it still has the old look inside]. It holds itself out as a Mediterranean restaurant, which it is; and, when one of the hosts heard us discussing Italian restaurants [in Chicago] while still at the bar, he interrupted us to say "You're not calling us an Italian restaurant, are you?" Clearly, then, they don't want to be thought of as Italian. Why, then, were we subjected to the overbearing performance all evening of Tony Viviano, a Tony Bennett wannabe, and his band, singing such "classics" as "When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie, That's Amore." Was I a bit embarrassed in front of my Chi. visitors? You betta I was. One notable positive: the wine service is excellent, but you need to know that there's an "oral" reserve list.

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