Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Memphis Nosh: Ciao Bella

Last Saturday, my friend Ashley and I were both hungry, bored, and wanted wine.

And we kind of wanted to go somewhere classy.

We're classy ladies.

Damn it.

So we decided to go to one of my favorites, and someplace new for Ashley, Ciao Bella.

Ciao Bella is in the Erin Way shopping center a few doors down from a Huey's and just up from YoLo. It's like everything I've ever loved in one place!

The inside is like an upscale bistro, with a good mix of tables and booths, and a large party room, and when we got there about 9:20 Saturday, they were still pretty full. We got a table after just a second, and started to look for some wine. 

Our waitress was great. She brought us water, let us catch up, and then came back to check on our wine selections. Ashley went with prosecco and I chose a chianti. 

I had to. I'm sorry.


The chianti was great, as was Memphis' finest water. They have an amazing wine list at Ciao Bella, and I've never been disappointed in my choice.

Next we got some bread.

I love this stuff.

*It's like a focaccia sort of. And I love the oil with peppers and garlic. Amazing. Also good for sauce, and our bread basket was never empty.  

*My chianti and Ashley's fancy little bottle. And her adorable Lilly Pulitzer vest.

*They don't skimp on portions. And look how pretty wine is!

We talked for awhile and finally decided what we wanted.

I've loved everything I've had at Ciao Bella, and they have a pretty big, but not exhausting, menu:

*Via the Ciao Bella website. And they're Project Green Fork certified - even better!

The ravioli is great (if the lobster is on special, try it - fantastic!), the contadina is one of my faves, and all of the appetizers are great. And those pizzas and flatbreads are HUGE and really good. 

But I had been craving Chicken Parmigiana. I'm totally incompetent at breading things, and I'd wanted this for awhile, so my choice was made. 

*So good. It also comes with Italian spinach, which is a nice touch. I'm not a huge fan of Italian spinach anywhere, but theirs was good. 
**Also this is a huge portion. Easily 3 servings. $17.

Ashley chose the Reuben Flatbread: 

*This thing was literally as big as Ashley's torso. It looked so good though!

I really liked my Chicken Parmigiana. The sauce was good, nice flavor. I added some crushed red pepper because I love heat, but it had a lot of flavor on it's own. And the pasta was cooked perfectly - not mushy, and held up well even to reheating. 

And there was enough sauce that I could liberally dip the bread in it. 

I like bread. 

A lot. 

We decided on a couple more glasses of wine. I stuck with the chianti, and Ashley got the Cupcake Pinot Grigio, which is probably my favorite white wine. 

And then I did a bad thing. 

A delicious, lovely, really bad thing. 

I got some tiramisu: 

*I love how much cocoa powder they put on it. The more the better!

And I ate the whole thing myself. I did only eat like 1/3 of my pasta because it was so huge, but this was a massive piece of tiramisu. 

And I didn't care. 

Because it was insanely delicious.

And then, because I was being indulgent, I had some after dinner coffee: 

*Nice and strong. I felt like I was in Europe again.

So that's a bowl of pasta that I got 3 meals out of, a bread basket, 2 glasses of wine, tiramisu, and a cup of coffee for $45 (not including tip). The prices are reasonable, and it would have been easy to get out of there for under $20. 

But wine. 

And dessert. 

And coffee. 

I regret nothing. 

*Also I just started watching Sherlock and it's amazing!

I apologize for nothing.

 *Also Hedonism Bot is the best.

Our server was great, even when we became those people who got to talking and stayed until almost 11:30. But we had paid out, and she was so sweet, and we never really felt unwelcome, despite them technically closing at 10:30.

Ciao Bella is great for special occasions, last minute dinners, a nice night out with a book, date nights, and even lunch too - and if you check in on Yelp now, there's a 50% off lunch entree coupon!

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