Bella Bistro

If you are distracted by the beautiful scenery of Collins Bay while driving west along Bath Road, you just might miss a restaurant that tops many Kingstonian’s lists of favourites: Bella Bistro. I’ve been in the city for over 10 years now and I have to admit that I’ve never before made it out to this Collins Bay hotspot that boasts hoards of regular and devoted customers. It’s not that it is very far from the City proper; I just never find myself in that area, so this past Saturday we called some friends and made a long overdue visit to Bella.

Bella is owned and operated by two local chefs and until fairly recently was co-owned by the same couple who owns/runs Olivea downtown (one of my favourites). Bella’s menu has a variety of appetizers, salads, paninis and large plates, including steak frites and chicken parmesan. Wood oven pizza is a favourite as is the nightly fresh fish special. Bella also features specials most days: Monday and Tuesdays are buy one pizza, get one 1/2 off, Wednesdays are burger nights, Friday’s lunch features beer-battered fish and chips, Sunday’s are prime rib night and each day between 11:30-4:00 there is a selection of $10 lunch specials.

Bella’s mission statement includes a commitment to serving local food. They work with local farmers and suppliers to source local beef, pork and lamb that is naturally-raised and hormone and antibiotic-free. Their chicken and turkey is air chilled and and grain fed. They bake their own bread and make their own pizza dough, sauces, dressings, and some of their desserts are homemade (others are from the delectable Bread and Butter Bakery). The drink list features local craft beers and Ontario wines in addition to a selection of international wines. The menu is quite extensive and there should be something for everyone.

One other thing I’d like to comment on before I go into the details of our visit and the food is the great online presence that Bella has. In addition to an extensive website which lists menus and specials, they also have a solid social media presence with a Facebook page, Twitter account and blog where they post recipes and pictures of the daily specials. The pictures are salivation-inducing and dangerous to look at if you are hungry!

The restaurant itself is nothing special in terms of decor and reminds me of a “family-style” restaurant with wooden tables and chairs and carpet. The really disappointing part of my visit to Bella was a trip to the basement bathrooms, which were freezing and looked liked they hadn’t been swept in a few days. Bathrooms aside (I know this could have been a unique situation), we did have a good experience in terms of food and friendly and efficient service.

Bella, Bistro, Collins Bay, soup, pizzaArriving on a Saturday just afternoon, the restaurant was fairly busy. We decided to take advantage of the $10 lunch menu and were pleased to see that there were plenty of options from sandwiches, to burgers to a selection of pizzas. All of the lunch options came with a choice of soup, salad or fresh-cut fries. Caesar salad and sweet potato fries were available for an extra charge.

Two of us chose the pizza— one all dressed, and I had the special with mozzarella, roasted red peppers, spinach, scallions, sausage and artichoke. The pizza was thin crust (very similar to Woodenheads or Atomica) with a slight crunch but still chewy. The sauce was fresh and so were all of the toppings. The size turned into four decent-sized pizza slices and that was perfect for a lunch portion.

Bella, Bistro, Collins Bay, grilled cheese sandwichFor sides we had the daily soup (tomato and roasted red pepper bisque) and fries. The soup tasted freshly made and was deliciously creamy. The fresh cut fries were amazing—thin, hot and crispy. I definitely caught myself stealing more than a few of these from Curtis’ plate.

Bella, Bistro, Collins Bay, burger, friesThe other two dishes ordered were a burger and a grilled cheese sandwich. The burger looked fairly plain, with lettuce, tomato and onions as a topping but Curtis said it was cooked perfectly and that that the bun was fresh. The grilled cheese was stuffed with old cheddar and caramelized onions. My friend loved the combination and said it paired well with the Caesar salad (with real bacon bits) she had on the side.

Bella, Bistro, Collins Bay, coconut cream pie
I don’t normally order dessert with lunch, but I was too tempted when I saw that they had coconut cream pie. While some of the desserts are made on site, the ones we selected were fresh from Bread and Butter bakery. In addition to the pie, we all shared a piece of the blueberry cheesecake. Both were delicious and a nice mid-day treat.

Overall, we were impressed with the great taste of the food and value for the price. I look forward to going back in the near future. Have you been to Bella? How have your experiences been?

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Melinda Knox

Melinda Knox has retired as a contributor to Kingstonist. She is a self-proclaimed foodie, whose regular Food & Drink column for Kingstonist explored the local culinary scene. From food trucks to fine dining, her mouth watering reviews were served with a generous side of honesty.

2 thoughts on “Bella Bistro

  • May 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm
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    Great post – a great little restaurant in the west end that serves up great quality food at affordable prices!

  • May 24, 2014 at 7:41 am
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    I go to Bella as often as I can, the food is always great and there are not many places you can get a $10 lunch , worth the trip every time!

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