Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bella Sera Urban Trattoria (Downtown)

UPDATE 4/15/2012: Bella Sera is under new ownership and is now known as Sienna Sulla Piazza.

It's Pittsburgh Restaurant Week!  I haven't been around long enough to know the full history of this event, but from what I understand, there hasn't been much of a history, and the bloggers over at Pittsburgh Tastebuds are trying to revive this tradition.  And gosh, they're doing a darn good job at it!  The restaurant additions trickled in slowly over the past month or so, and in the end there are some 30 local restaurants participating in this event, including some of my favorites and a few I have been meaning to try.

Because of various work and life obligations, I didn't get to start my PRW adventures until tonight, even though the week began this past Monday.  But I have three days of fun eating-outings planned and I'll try to post about them shortly after each visit.

Kicking off my three days of PRW was a dinner at Bella Sera Urban Trattoria in Market Square downtown, which was suggested by friend and fellow blogger Mike over at Foodburgh.  Bella Sera has been on my restaurant wishlist for some time so this was a great opportunity to check it out.

Bella Sera is cute in a classy way.  I particularly loved the exposed brick walls on the interior of the restaurant.  There is a bar that seems to have a wide-ranging alcohol selection.  I would think this is a good happy hour hangout.

The bar at Bella Sera Urban Trattoria
The bar at Bella Sera

Neither of us ended up going with the PRW special which was a flatbread special and wine for $20.12.  Instead, Mike ordered the Bella Chopped Salad (with roma tomatoes, red onions, cucumber, hearts of palm, gorgonzola, and red wine vinaigrette) and the Prince Edward Island Mussels in a white wine sauce to share.

PEI Mussels at Bella Sera Urban Trattoria
Prince Edward Island Mussels ($10)

I thought I was going to give Bella Sera's grilled eggplants a try, which is a feature in the Linguini with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto.  I'm always a bit leery of eggplants as my reactions to eggplants span the entire range from love to hate, depending on how it's prepared.  When I was in Italy back in the summer, I loved the eggplants there, so I figured I might like Bella Sera's version.

Linguini with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto at Bella Sera Urban Trattoria
Linguini with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto ($13)

The pasta was very tasty, and I actually liked that the portion wasn't huge.  But I poked and prodded and didn't find any eggplants!  I thought maybe it was blended into the sauce, and even convinced myself at the time that I could taste hints of eggplant.  Another curious thing occurred when the bill came and I was charged $13 for the pasta, even though I could have sworn it said $10 on the menu.  I didn't argue with Tracy, our waitress (who was real nice, by the way) on either of these discrepancies.  Honestly, I'm exhausted from a long week at work and just didn't think too much about it.

I solved the mystery later when I got home and took a look at Bella Sera's menu online, which mentions nothing about eggplant for the Linguini with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto, and that the linguini is listed as $13. So it turns out they have an online menu that reflects more accurately what they're serving than the physical menu at the restaurant!

I had originally intended to try their tiramisu for dessert, but I was really full from my pasta and decided to be good and skip dessert this time.  After all, I have two more big meals coming up!

Both Mike and I were satisfied with our meals.  Bella Sera was pretty much on par with our expectations.  The menu error was an unusual one, and I plan to let them know so they can remedy it soon.

UPDATE 1/20/2012:  I called Bella Sera and notified them of the menu error.  They said there's been some issues with misprintings in their menus but that they are actually switching to a new menu next week with a new chef coming in.  It is too bad that they weren't able to showcase the new menu for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week but I am curious to see what new items they have to offer.

Restaurant info:
Bella Sera Urban Trattoria
22 Graeme St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
On the web:
On Twitter:
Bonus: Free Wifi

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