When the inevitable question pops up of “where should we go for dinner?”, I never think of Bellissimo right off the bat. And I have no idea why. It’s conveniently located right in the heart of Bel Air, is never overcrowded, is beautifully decorated and offers a wide variety of food that is consistently good. It’s the type of place where I can be comfortable taking my parents for a birthday celebration, or, at the other end of the spectrum, take my nephews for lunch.
Our dinners were served with a large bowl of house salad for sharing. Think Olive Garden, only better. Mixed greens, tomatoes, kalamata olives, croutons, bell peppers, onion, cucumber and banana peppers with just the right amount of their creamy Italian-style house dressing. But skip the bread – it is deceiving. A whole loaf of warm, homemade Italian bread beautifully served on a wooden board with olive oil for dipping looks and sounds delicious, however, it was bland and flavorless.
Do save room for the Mussels Imperial appetizer even if you have to take your dinner home in a doggie bag. Six plump, juicy mussels with a rich imperial topping full of lump pieces of crabmeat – you can’t go wrong here.
Although my brother-in-law has told me repeatedly to order the Stuffed Shrimp, I can’t seem to stop eating the Chicken Waldorf Salad. This salad is definitely enough to share with at least one other person (especially if you took my advice regarding the mussels!). Mixed greens, grilled chicken, juicy chunks of apple and what appears to be an entire avocado sliced over the top. Simply delicious with balsamic vinaigrette over the top.
We also ordered the rockfish special which was 2 humongous pieces of grilled fish, served with 2 sides. It can also be ordered with a crab imperial topping. Although the fish tasted fresh and delicious, I would suggest that it be “kicked up a notch”, as Emeril says, with a bit of sauce or spice. Perhaps a lemon and wine sauce, or something that enhances the fish but doesn’t overpower it.
Side dishes include your choice of baked potato, fresh vegetables, sweet potato fries, garlic mashed potatoes, French fries or wild rice. It seems like the new trend in cuisine these days is sweet potato fries, so I just had to try the ones at Bellissimo. Very tasty and not at all greasy.
Their menu has something for everyone, including sandwiches like their Salmon B.L.T., homemade pastas, chicken, ribs, steak, pork, lamb, wings and of course, fresh seafood.
I have never had room for the last course when eating here, but the website states that they offer homemade baklava or tiramisu, in addition to desserts from Cheesecake Factory. Bellissimo also has 2 banquet rooms, one which holds 120 guests and the other 90 guests. Based on my experiences with their servers and bartenders, this would be a great place for a reception, retirement party or any other special occasion.
Happy Hour is celebrated 7 days a week, from Noon until 7 p.m.
Bellissimo Seafood & Grill
510 Marketplace Drive
Bel Air, MD 21014