My overall grade for Bella Notte is: A-/B+
For the most part, this is a great place to seek out great Italian food whether you're coming from the suburbs or the loop area. We had tickets to a show at the United Center, but it was on Sunday and the show ended at 7:30 PM, which put us in the position of finding a place that was open on Sunday night and would seat 6 people at 8:00 PM. Bella Notte was the place.
The minute you walk in, you get a great Italian, local, friendly place. The bar is huge and the bartender is very friendly. Our table was not quite ready, so we ordered drinks.
Before our drinks all came out - our table was ready.
For appetizers, we ordered fried calamari and an order of sausage and peppers. The calamari was perfectly done and maybe could have used a bit more salt. The sausage and peppers were great and plenty for all to share.
Then we ordered main courses and soups and salads. Let me get to the good stuff first. The soups and salads were good according to those that ordered them. The mains is where this restaurant shines very brightly.
The pasta is spot on and a few of us ordered veal dishes. I ordered veal picante. The mains were all delicious and everyone loved them. The portion size - wow!! Really, really big. Perhaps the server could've warned us that one main dish was plenty to share between at least 2 people, maybe 3.
No harm, no foul, since of course we took the leftovers home and I had a great pasta with a little veal the next day and it was still delicious.
The improvement point is really this: The pace and timing of the dishes coming out was really flawed. One salad came out 30 minutes before the main course which the person expected to eat with her main course. The soups came out at a different time. And then, really, the most painful part of the dinner was the wait for the main courses.
We were surely the last seating of the night for this restaurant and it seemed like everyone else in the place had already been served their main courses. So we really couldn't figure out why our dishes took so long to server. And we had to try extra hard to get a hold of our server to ask for a status on the food.
That said, once the food did come out - it was all very good.
It was the second time I've been to Bella Notte, and I don't remember having the same "timing" issue the first time I was there. Just this time. So, hopefully, it's the last time. But we will be back for more great Italian food - especially when going to the United Center for an event.