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Cafe La Bellitalia

In a word: Good 'n' cozy.

The specs: #0220
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at WiSJ 12/21/06 and 4/12/08, Chilimuffin's, Madison Packard, Fearful Symmetries, Yelp, Isthmus, Sara with No H, Ruppert Food Blog 8/22/09, 4/30/10, Cafe La Belli Italia on Urbanspoon

Latest Cafe La Bellitalia news and reviews

JM ate the meat ravioli with a lemonade.
Josh ate the meat lasagna.
Nichole ate the gnocchi with a hot cocoa.
Stef ate the chicken parmesan.
Both Nichole and Josh took a tiramisu to go.
JM, Nichole, and Stef gave Cafe La Bellitalia an A-; Josh gave Cafe La Bellitalia an A (see our grading rubric).

Cafe La Bellitalia

We met up with some real northsiders at Cafe La Bellitalia on a cold December night (remember those?). It was a great time to be there. Christmas lights, a warm gust of air and (oddly enough) the sounds of Foreigner greeted us as we came through the door.

Dinners at Cafe La Bellitalia
We all agreed that the sauce on each dish was flavorful and good, and that the portions were very generous. Stef called it way too much food, but we ate it all anyway.

JM said his rich ravioli dish was some of the best Italian food he's had for the price: lightly prepared and doused with sauce and perfectly absorbent bread.

Nichole's gnocchi were light and flavorful, but (and maybe this is just how gnocchi are) the texture got boring after a short while. The great garlic bread helped balance that, as would have a salad, had she thought to order one.

The lasagna is a favorite of Josh's, so much so that it's his usual dish. Tonight it was really good, as usual. Stef's chicken parmesan had a nice balance of meat, sauce, and cheese -  it wasn't "floating" like chicken parmesan can be.

Ole & Rick's Northside Inn

Some vestiges of Ole & Rick's Northside Inn remain, but judging by the happy crowd, Cafe La Bellitalia is well on its way to becoming a cherished part of the neighborhood.

Comments

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When in doubt, we come to your site for recommendations. We went here last night for the first time and had one of the best meals ever. The staff was super sweet and the food was delicious. This will become one of our regular spots. Thanks for the research!

Thanks for reading, Rachel!

When I first went here over a year ago, the service was really slow so we didn't go back for a long time. My husband and I finally went back about a week ago and it was wonderful. Great service, we got our meal right away, and it was delicious. Perfect for a very cold February night.

Very good! We had the eggplant parmesan and some spaghetti and could really appreciate the home-cooked taste. The garlic bread was nothing special, but the food and sauce were real nice.

Love it. We order for delivery all the time. The fried eggplant strips are a surprisingly strong appetizer, the onion rings are home-battered and very large and crispy, and most importantly, the pasta sauce is top-notch. Good fettuccine Alfredo, good penne with vodka sauce, and dang it, they have to have the best baked spaghetti with meatballs in Madison. Pizza is also pretty good from here, though not the best in town--the calzones are a miss. Way too much bread and no ricotta cheese inside!

Went there on a Friday night. The kids' meals are a disappointment. Ravioli consists of only 3. My kids were hungry after a $5 meal. The breadsticks on the table were expired and they had no others. Our waitress seemed interested in doing anything but waiting on us. The stuffed eggplant was good and a great portion. Not sure we want to go back.

We went there last night and loved it! I will agree that the children's portions are small. I also ordered the kid's ravioli and it came with 3 pieces. My 2 yr old ate all three and almost all of my bread and was happy. They need to either up the portion size or add bread to the kid's meal. Or preferably both.

That being said, we are going back soon!

I ate here about a year ago and thought it was OK but nothing special - but after all the good reviews, I decided to chalk it up to an off-night or the particular dish I had. So my husband and I headed back last night. We ordered pizza, cheese bread, and side salads. We really enjoyed the first two items. The salad, however, was *OK* - it might have been better with a dressing that didn't have that awful bottled taste. But overall, we were impressed and will be back. A particular thumbs up on the atmosphere - loved the homey feel and the friendly owner!!

Had wonderful food here the last week of Feb. 2009 TWICE. Vividly flavored Sicilian food, friendly service. Do they have polished waitstaff of a fancy joint? No. But everyone is earnestly helpful, both on weeknights and Saturday.

Appetizers come out quick! Do try mata rocco, kind of an Italian chunky fresh salsa served with bread. Very different from -- and as great as -- the cooked tomato marinara sauce. Fried eggplant strips are crispy outside, fluffy inside.

Entreees: gnocchi are puffy pillows of pasta -- not chewy doughballs; lasagne is dense with cheese; meatballs on pasta are large and tender. Sausage+red onion+jalapeno pizza was loaded with the good stuff.

Small place, but they can be wonderful about accomodating large groups -- especially if you call ahead. Can be a tasty economical restaurant for celebrations, and waitstaff happy to arrange for large combined tables with a heads-up.

I agree the parking lot is too small and narrow -- just get there early!

Had CLB pizza (delivery) last night at a poker outing. Quite good; I'll take it over Anna's in Sun Prairie for that type of pizza. It gives Glass Nickel a run for its money--literally, as CLB is much cheaper.

Agreed. That was really tasty pizza on Saturday, and I was surprised when I heard the price.

It is official. This place is great. First: the pizza is genuinely good, as I mentioned earlier. We had a Works (good stuff) and an eggplant parmigiana pizza. I believe everyone above who said the eggplant strips were awesome: they were great on the pizza.

Second: The price is hard to beat. Third: They delivered to the far east side. They're coming even farther than Glass Nickel East does to get to our house, and with significantly less supporting infrastructure to make that kind of range feasible.

Fourth: Very friendly, both on the phone and at my front door.

Awesome awesome awesome.

They deliver?????

Ate there for the first time last night. We rarely go out for Italian since that's 'everyday' food for us, but it was really good. It's super-small, and the constantly sneezing/hacking kid behind our table was somewhat of a concern, but the food was really good. We both had the "Sampler Platter" with lasagna, spaghetti, and either chicken or eggplant parmesan and a choice of sausage link or meatball. It was all delicious and my eggplant parmesan was crisp, not greasy.

Did NOT like the $1.75 for a single CAN of soda, however. We will stick with water or wine, I think.

Best delivery on the East Side!!

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