La Bella Ristorante

Special thanks to La Bella Ristorante for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

La Bella Ristorante is a new restaurant at Leith Street, occupying the former premises of Kwong Sang House (广生洋服).
This shop used to be a tailor's shop back in the old days. The sewing machine was inherited ever since the place was converted to a restaurant.
"La Bella Ristorante" means "the nice restaurant" in Italian. The menu of this eatery consists of appetizers, pasta, pizza, steak and seafood dishes. As for beverages, alcoholic drinks like sangria, beer and wine are available.
My meals starts with an appetizer, Zuppa Di Frutti Di Mare (RM16.00). This seafood soup is loaded with delicacies like shrimp, mussel, clam and squid. Celery and broccoli are also included. Overall, I feel that the soup is well-received.
The Aglio Pane (RM6.00) is a garlic bread made from toasted bread slices with butter spread made from garlic and herbs. The bread is delightfully soft, but I prefer stronger garlic flavor. Toasted bread is best consumed when it comes out hot from the oven.
By far, my favorite dish today is La Bella Chicken Wings (RM18.00). This finger food snack comprises of four wings, making it sufficient for a proper meal or for sharing around the table. The wings are seasoned using a house-special blend of marinate. As a result, the meat is succulent down to the bones.
In terms of spiciness, the wings pack a respectable load of fiery pungency. Nevertheless, spiciness is one factor which makes the wings so delectable.

For pasta, the recommended choice is Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca (RM26.00), which is Italian for "spaghetti in garbage style". According to legend, the recipe was invented by a local restaurant in Ischia (Italian island near Naples) when a group of diners walked in as the shop was about to close. Running low on ingredients, the customers asked the chef to "facci una puttanata qualsiasi" ("give us any kind of garbage"). Hence, the chef prepared a pasta dish with whatever leftover ingredients he can find.
This explains why Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca contains assorted ingredients such as capers, tomatoes, black olives and garlic. Another key ingredient is canned premium anchovy, which is several inches long. The anchovy is mashed up and sautéed with other vegetables, then simmered to thicken its consistency. The sauce is then poured over spaghetti cooked al dente, followed by parsley as final garnish. Magnifico!

As for pizzas, Peperoncino La Bella (RM20.00) is among the popular choices. This hand-tossed pizza is topped with beef pepperoni, grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Etymology, the word "Peperoncino" refers to hot chili peppers, not pepperoni. Instead, the word "pepperoni" comes from the word "peperone" (bell peppers).
Thin-crust pizza, à la New York style, is usually enjoyed for its crispy, toasted crust. I think the crust is an area that needs improvement. I also prefer the pizza to have more toppings, particularly pepperoni slices and cheese. In fact, I like to see sticky strands of molten cheese as I pull each slice of pizza from the serving board.

As for poultry, La Bella Di Pollo (RM28.00) is the restaurant's special chicken recipe. The grilled chicken thigh is lightly flavored with brown sauce, but I think the gravy should be made thicker. The chicken itself is well-cooked as the flesh peels off seamlessly from the bones.
On the side are mashed potato and mixed vegetables, namely baked potato, tomato, broccoli and carrot. Food presentation is amazingly of fine dining style.
As for drinks, the recommended beverage is Sangria La Bella (RM16.00), a Mediterranean cocktail made from Merlot wine, Curaçao triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur), orange juice and lemon juice. This drink has fruity aroma and appealing citrus sweet-tanginess, making it ideal for casual drinkers like me.
Besides the à la carte menu, set lunch is also served on weekdays between 11:00am and 2:30pm. The meal consists of either soup or salad, a main dish, and a choice of drink. Set lunch starts from RM14.00 net.
La Bella Ristorante has an upper floor where there is a small library and recreational corner. It can also be used as overflow dining space.
Name: La Bella Ristorante
Address: 36, Lebuh Leith, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-416-0717
Business hours: 11:00am-3:00pm, 6:00pm-11:00pm, closed on Thursdays
Coordinates: 5.42043 N, 100.33327 E
Directions: From Penang Road (Jalan Penang), turn to Muntri Street (Lebuh Muntri) and take a right turn at the crossroad to Leith Street (Lebuh Leith). La Bella Ristorante is approximately 50 meters on your right. Street parking and privately-operated parking are available.