I haven’t been to Bellanico in years, and am really glad we made it back. Don’t bring your booze hound friends as their bar is wine only. That said, they have a great selection of Italian wines and will make a Kir Royale with Prosecco and a darker sweet wine. The food was great, service was very relaxed. Even though the place was packed on a Friday night, no one bothered us to vacate our table with a post- 7pm reservation. Talk about a tight turn: we noted that our table was ready right when the previous diners walked out the door. Also, space is tight so if you are going to yap with your loud girls, for everyone’s sanity, ask for a table outside. A friend and I split many things (vive la difference), and walked out really well fed.
Arancini with mushroom filling and tapenade – Great out of the gate: a fried risotto tower with a lil dollop of some mushroom duxelles in the center and olive tapenade underneath. This is served nuclear hot. Watch yourself or you might get burned.
Lamb belly with radicchio salad – That belly was tough to share. I appreciate that the kitchen was trying to crisp up one side, but it was just plain hard to cut. Deep- but not barnyard- flavor in the meat, the salad could have used a perk of acid.
Burrata with watermelon radish, preserved artichoke, olives, candied walnuts – Seriously a spiritual experience- their burrata is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Pillowy dairy love. Period. Really.
Pappardelle with braised lamb shank – This was a special. Sugo was on my mind and this was simply (very good) meat and (very good) pasta. At the end, I was looking for a little more sauce and veg, but was not at all disappointed by what showed up.
Tortelli with beef – Out-freaking-standing dish. These little packages of beefy goodness were served in a delicious, rich broth and a wine foam. Just enough from many flavors, eat this food!
Baccala with pesto – YUM. Was wondering what to expect as dried fish can be a lil dicey. These lil poppers were creamy and balanced really well with the fennel frond pesto. This would be a killer bar snack.
Dessert madness – My friend knew about a plate of little servings of each dessert: the florentine donuts, goat cheese cheesecake with pistachios and currants, the nonna tart with pine nuts topped with a spoonful of vanilla gelato, and the chocolate salami over a molded chocolate mousse. SO good, soooo good.
Make ressies and get in there. This neighborhood joint won’t break the bank, and will warm you, belly and soul.
4238 Park Blvd
Oakland, CA 94602