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
Love, love, love Bellissimo; food, service, everything!
KEESHA JACKSON says
I have not had good luck there in the past so I stopped going about a year ago but based on your recommendation I will try it again. You have never steered me wrong. It’s kind of out of the way hidden back there on that side street so I hope they can make it work. If they can cook rock fish well then the kitchen must know what they are doing.
I agree…I haven’t has good luck there either. They are expensive and the food all tastes the same. Plus the wine list is poor. I won’t be going back. Sorry!
Patricia Scott says
We have been there for dinner, attended business meetings, went to a Chamber lumcheon….all very nice. Staff deserves ***** and the food deserves ***** as well. Nice friendly addition to Bel Air.
The stuffed rockfish is great and my wife loves the seafood fradiablo.
Arturo Nansney says
I have the same problem now as I had when the place first opened as The Crack Pot; namely the noise. I have no idea why sound dampening techniques can not be used here. Our only experience, about a year ago, was horrible because of the noise, especially other guests. If anyone gets loud the entire place turns into a very loud cacophony. I had to shout at my wife, across the table from me to tell her we needed to get the hell out of Dodge. I simply will not give the place another chance.
We just went the other night. Once again, the whole dining experience was outstanding. The salmon and rockfish were cooked to perfection! Service was prompt and courteous. Hopefully those that have had not so perfect outings will give Bellissimo another try. For those that have never been, my highest praise goes out to this local treasure.
Buck Futter says
Are you kidding??? Bellissimo sucks. The food is over priced and average, the atmosphere is something that of a funeral home. Plenty of other places to eat around Bel Air.
Jennifer Williams says
I took my husband here for his birthday last night. Everything that we ordered was delicious – fried clam strips, stuffed orange roughy and the crab cakes. I loved the sweet potato fries – just very lightly fried & crisp, not a heavy batter. The veggie medley was fresh and not cooked until it became mushy. Long Island Iced Tea was made perfectly. Our only complaint was that we were too full to order a birthday dessert. Again, two thumbs up!
I have been here 3 times now. The first time, the food was mediocre at best and the service was just “okay.” I got a salmon sandwich that was all bread and precious little salmon. I am not the type of person to write off a restaurant after just one visit, so we went back with a couple friends. Again, the food was just average, nothing special. I decided that would be my last visit until, much to my dismay, we were invited to a birthday party at Bellissimos. The third time, like the previous two, was disappointing. My wine glass was filthy and it took them 30 minutes and 2 requests to get me another. The food, again, was nothing to write home about. I got the chicken marsala and it was dry and not seasoned well. I’m no chef but I can make a much tastier chicken marsala in my own kitchen.
Jennifer Williams says
Buggles, let’s just hope that the folks at Bellissimo are reading these comments and use them as constructive criticism to make future experiences better.