Laymen’s Review: Beach Drive’s Trattoria

smith and associates

This amazing winter weather is one of the reasons we all love living in the ‘Burg. And dining al fresco on Beach Drive for lunch is a perfect way to take advantage of these gorgeous and cool sunny days.

This time, we decided to pay BellaBrava a visit for lunch. Like most days, the sun was out and the temps were cool, and people had the same idea we had. Tables were filling up inside and out, which is always a good indication that they must be doing something right.

It was only noon and to our delight Happy Hour started at 11am (till 7pm)! As much as we wanted to partake in some refreshing sangrias, we decided to save it for the weekend when we can truly indulge. Nonetheless, it was good to know.

It’s not surprising why BellaBrava has been doing great business all these years in the ‘Burg, even back at their old location on Central Ave. People keep coming back for several reasons.

Great value for food. Most, if not all, dishes are made from scratch in house including their pizza, salad dressings and even the mozarella, which makes a world of difference. Also, the quality is consistent. If you come back regularly, it’s good to know you’re not playing "Russian roulette" with your food.

And as consistent as their food is, so is the service. It was just lunch and just about every outside table was occupied. Our server still managed to make sure that we enjoyed our short reprieve from work to have a good meal.

Now on to what we had…

We started with a BellaBrava wedge salad. With the creamy gorgonzola dressing, applewood smoked bacon (on the side by request), hardboiled egg and crumbled gorgonzola, it would’ve been a decent lunch on its own…that’s why we split it between two. Have to watch our figures considering we were psyched about other menu items!

DJ Fab: I was hungry and a nice juicy burger was what I was craving for, so I went for the mushroom burger with roasted crimini mushrooms, caramelized onions and fontina white truffle aoili. It was tasty as it was juicy! The earthy flavor of the mushrooms with the sweetness of the onion and a little tanginess from the aioli melded perfectly in every bite. Plus, I like that they serve it on ciabatta bread which wasn’t too soft but not hard either to hold all that yummy goodness in place. Nom! Nom! Nom!

Vegenator: BellaBrava has several "gluten friendly" and vegetarian options, which is always pleasing. I opted for a vegetali flatbread and am happy to say it’s still my favorite flatbread in town. Made in their specially designed woodstone oven, it came with basil pesto, roasted peppers, red onion, artichoke hearts, fresh crimini mushrooms, tomatoes, goat cheese and fresh basil. Delish! The crust was slightly crispy, the perfect amount, and the toppings were diverse and flavorful.

Plus, you can now order online!

Before we left, we learned that BellaBrava is accepting orders online, and the system is pretty innovative. As their Facebook page states, "Long gone is the stress of gathering each person’s order and money. Instead, just send an email form to every individual’s inbox, let them make their own order, and then the bill can be paid for as one ticket OR by each person ordering." And then your food will be ready for pick up in no time. Tell your co-workers about it!

What’s more, they’re giving away a $100 Gift Card every month to folks ordering for four or more people online, so start clicking! We can’t help but ask… Do you BellaBrava?

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Written by Dex Fabian

Dex Fabian is the co-founder of I Love the Burg and That's So Tampa. A graphic designer by trade, Dex has been witness to Tampa Bay's explosion to become one of the hottest regions in the nation. In 2009, he helped develop the brand for I Love the Burg and in 2014 developed the branding for That's So Tampa and has been a regular contributor to both ever since.