Cafe Bella is an intimate, locally focused eatery on the border of Clintonville and North Campus. It features sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes that cater to vegetarian and vegan diners.The menu changes regularly. As a result, it is transmitted orally rather than in a written format.
Prices are $5 for sandwiches and $9 for pasta dishes. My pasta came with a salad and a brownie. With a drink, my bill was $10.
The salad was made with spinach, arugula, red peppers, red onions, bean sprouts, white cheese and sesame oil. It was fresh, clean and delicately constructed with hints of citrus, pepper and earthiness.
The eggplant parmesan pasta was thinly sliced eggplant delicately battered and served on thick spaghetti noodles in a house-made, chunky marinara with basil and garlic notes. The plating was great, and it added visual appeal to a dish that was already a satisfying explosion of flavor.
The brownie bite was a cool conclusion to the meal. The salad and pasta were filling, so I wasn't certain that I needed anything else. However, after some consideration, two bites of warm, dark chocolate cake provided a perfect finale to a fantastic lunch.
While the main focus of Cafe Bella is Italian dishes and breakfast items like frittata and French toast, international fare also is a staple. While this place is very accommodating for dietary restrictions, calling a day ahead allows diners to custom craft their meal for the next day (a cool perk for regulars and picky eaters).