March 2013 update: It's interesting to note that Bellisimo was the RJG's first restaurant post. It was never a favorite, nor a place we frequented all that much. But timing is everything, and we visited here right after starting the blog. To underscore my point, according to my database, we hadn't been here since January of 2011 - over 2 years ago! Bellisimo remains a solid Italian option for NE Tarrant, though nothing spectacular, and is somewhat typical of the Italian restaurants you find in these parts.
On Friday night, me and my favorite dining companion Mrs. RJG, wandered over to Bellisimo in Colleyville, right off Highway 26.
Colleyville is definitely one of the more interesting burbs in NE Tarrant County. They're the "old rich" of the area, providing a stark contrast to the nouveau silliness of Southlake or the filthy rich of Westlake. And, as is typical of old money type areas, there's always a run down area or two to go slumming. Texas State Highway 26 provides this thrill. Amongst the aluminum siding plant sheds and farmers markets, there are shut down old Taco Bell's and sports bars. And, naturally enough, there are new yuppy town centers and strip malls with a Market Street Grocery store.
In the middle of all this is a neat brick building that houses Bellisimo. Like most Italian restaurants in the Ft. Worth area, Bellisimo is not run by Italians but rather from parts of the former Yugoslavia and Albania. The good news is that most of these restaurants are of a high quality, and they know their Italian cooking. The downside is many of the restaurants have similar flavors. For example, the "house dressing" tends to be a tomato based vinaigrette. It's quite good, but there's little variation with other restaurants in the area. The red sauces are very tomatoey, a thinnish texture, but tasty all the same.
One of the true benefits of dining in this area, is the advent of BYOB. Just bring your own hooch, and save a bundle. And there are no outrageous California style corkage fees.
Bellisimo does all the basics right, like chicken parm, baked dishes, meatballs (homemade), sausage, etc... They even carry that Dallas Italian restaurant dessert staple: Cappuccino Pie, which is rare in this area of town.
Decoration isn't their strong suit, and the place could use an uplift in atmosphere. I hear you thinking "But isn't this the Regular Joe's Guide?". Absolutely, and I love a dive. But Bellisimo is no dive, and it's so bare bones, that it feels I'm eating in an empty warehouse. Major plus points goes to the owners for cordoning off a special room for families with kids. This allows peace and quiet for couples/friends looking to spend an evening talking and not holding their ears while the kids crawl on the restaurant furniture.
We've been going to Bellisimo on and off for some 5 years now, and it never disappoints. They also opened up a second location in Keller on US 377, which we also ventured to a couple of times (it was even less decorated than the Colleyville store). Unfortunately it's already closed up, no doubt due to the constant construction (expansion) on the highway. That's too bad, as it appears they spent a fortune renovating the outside. Bosses Pizza now occupies the location.