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Bella Pizza & Pasta – Timeless Italian Charm

As a child, there was a special place my parents would take me to in Hythe called Kipps Italian Restaurant. Sadly, it closed its doors a long time ago, but it holds many a fond memory for me. We visited so many times we became good friends with Angelo, the owner, and must have sampled everything the menu had to offer multiple times over.

I was incredibly lucky to have had such a fabulous introduction to traditional Italian cuisine from an early age, revelling in the thin-based pizzas and the myriad of different pasta dishes at first, before moving on to more adventurous plates like Seafood Risotto, Gnocchi with Italian Sausage or beautifully tender Veal Steak.

A Sense of Nostalgia

At Bella Pizza & Pasta, I was immediately transported back to those days, a nostalgic feeling I had hoped for on many occasions but had only ever recreated by actually travelling to Italy. Walking through its doors, you’re greeted by a charming, old-fashioned ambience that exudes a timeless appeal. The dated decor may not be cutting-edge, but it’s precisely this vintage charm that lends the restaurant an authentic, cosy atmosphere that’s not always easy to find in today’s modern dining scene.

The ambience here is a beautiful fusion of nostalgia and genuine warmth, encouraging me to slow down and relish each bite. The seasoned waiters in their crisp white aprons are attentive yet unobtrusive, old veterans oozing decades of experience ensuring your every need is met without unnecessary fanfare, all adding to the restaurant’s authenticity and charm.

Traditional, Authentic Italian Food

The food is an absolute delight, showcasing the culinary prowess that comes from generations of dedication to the craft. The presentation of the dishes may not be designed for the perfect Instagram shot, but that’s part of the restaurant’s appeal – zero-fuss, genuine Italian cuisine that focuses on taste rather than aesthetics.

The menu here has been the same for years, and while other eateries may strive to constantly reinvent their offerings, there’s something comforting about finding a restaurant that steadfastly sticks to what it does best.

Bella Pizza & Pasta - mussels in provenzale sauce
Fresh Mussels in a Provençale Sauce

The mussels were a fantastic start, generously portioned and lusciously full of flavour from that gorgeous Provençale sauce.

Bella Pizza & Pasta - Fried Whitebait
Pesciolini Fritti

The fried whitebait was also a good-sized portion for a starter, and expertly cooked to perfection, setting the tone nicely for what was to come.

Bella Pizza & Pasta - Gamberoni all' Aglio
Gamberoni all’ Aglio
Bella Pizza & Pasta - Avocado Gamberetti
Avocado Gamberetti

We also enjoyed a couple of classic prawn starters. These were King Prawns with garlic, olive oil, dry chilli and parsley – a meaty hit of garlic butter goodness – and an all-time favourite of mine from back in the day, Avocado with Prawns.

Bella Pizza & Pasta - Pollo Alla Contadina
Pollo Alla Contadina

Whilst the vast selection of pizza and pasta dishes on offer did look tempting, we opted for something different to the restaurant’s namesake. The second page of the menu held delights such as classic Italian Steak, Veal, Chicken and Fish dishes.

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We went for Pollo Alla Contadina – strips of chicken cooked in olive oil, mushrooms, white wine, Marsala and tomato sauce, served on a bed of rice, which was rich and flavourful.

Bella Pizza & Pasta - Filetto di Bue alla Griglia
Filetto di Bue alla Griglia
Bella Pizza & Pasta - Vitello con Asparaghi
Vitello con Asparaghi

The charcoal-grilled fillet of beef was as tender as you’ll get anywhere. I often find steak reveals a lot about a restaurant and its chef, serving as a benchmark dish. Here, the steak was sublime and definitely worth the visit for this alone. The veal, cooked with white wine, asparagus and cream, was a succulent masterpiece, tenderly cooked to melt-in-the-mouth perfection. Paired with sides of seasonal vegetables and fries, these dishes made for a deliciously satisfying meal.

Disappointingly, despite hankering for one of the desserts from the trolley (I especially fancied the Tiramisu), we couldn’t have eaten another bite – next time I will make sure I save some room.

Find Bella Pizza & Pasta at 124 Sandgate Road (not to be confused with Bella Vita on The Old High Street). Call 01303 210225 to book a table.

Visiting from out of town? Why not book a stay?

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