Bella Bistro. This understated, west-end restaurant found on the corner of Collins Bay and Bath road is one of the most unassuming, down-to-earth spaces I’ve ever eaten in but the food is beyond delicious and thoughtfully prepared. If you’re going to use that old motto your mother taught you, “don’t judge a book by its cover” Use it here. Bella Bistro keeps it simple in the decor department and goes above and beyond when it comes to food preparation. When you think about it, that’s the way it should be, right?
I’ve been waiting to write about this special dinner destination because they offer incredible daily specials, Tacos Tuesday, Burger Wednesday, Scallop Thursday, Prime Rib Sunday…. you get the picture. My goal was to try every night and write about each of them but after my third consecutive burger night I thought it deserved a post of its own!
So what makes Wednesday burger night at Bella Bistro so special?
- OPTIONS: These aren’t just basic burgers. First of all, they usually have three different proteins to offer and the toppings go above and beyond lettuce and tomato. For example, these were the options on my last visit: “Stirling Farms” Water Buffalo, Wilton Curd and Carmelized Onion Burger with Blue Cheese Aioli, Sauteed Chanterelle Mushrooms topped with an Onion Ring; Herb Turkey with Feta/ Arugula and Carmelized Onion; Black Bean Sweet Potato with Shredded Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Chipotle Aioli topped with an Onion Ring. Or, their house burger the “Bella Burger” is made with local Angus ground Chuck on a toasted bun with smoked cheese and caramelized onions.
- THE VEGGIE OPTION IS ALWAYS NEXT LEVEL: Generally I prefer red meat in a burger but almost every time I visit Bella I choose the veggie option. Why? Because they make a mean veggie burger. The patty is always crispy and full of flavour and they choose the most creative combinations, for example: another burger night, I tried a crispy mushroom/barley burger with arugula and lemon aioli. So good.
- THE INGREDIENTS: Did I mention this is a farm-to-table establishment? They try their best to only serve local ingredients and I can taste the difference.
- THE SIDES: My girlfriends usually opt for the poutine for a side because their true Canadian hearts can’t stray from that cheese curd and gravy. But their daily homemade soups are so good I am having a hard time finding the appropriate descriptors to truly capture how much I love them. Last Wednesday we had the roasted tomato soup on the side and it was rich and creamy, but not heavy – just the perfect combination.
You would think I wouldn’t have room for dessert but there’s no such thing as not having room when the options are treats like a burnt marshmallow ice cream parfait, strawberry rhubarb compote on a house-made biscuit, topped with chantilly cream or Bread and Butter’s coconut cream pie. When you visit Bella, always save room for dessert and wear a long sweater to camouflage the gaping top button on your jeans.
$$$: The price is somewhere in the middle. It’s not out-of-this-world expensive by any means. For two people with a glass of wine and dessert, it’s around $50 before tip.