Aug 122008

Cuisine: Italian
Restaurant Features: Bar, Patio Dining, On-Site Parking

Location: Bloomington, MN
Address: 3501 Minnesota Drive Bloomington, Minnesota 55435 (952)841-1000
Links: Ciao Bella Website Google Map


Atmosphere: Ciao Bella is a large restaurant, with a couple of separate dining areas throughout the space.  The main dining room is an open area with a mix of tables and booths, white table cloths and dim lighting. I thought the ceiling was pretty cool- it was formed into bands of arches (Better view in the bar photo below).Adjacent to the large dining room there is a smaller seating area near the outdoor patio with several windows that give it great natural lighting.


Here is a view of the bar area, which has tables in addition to the stools at the bar.

Patio area


Menu: Appetizers (aka “small plates”) include Calamari Fritti, Parmesan Crusted Shrimp, Seared Ahi Tuna, Tuna Spring Rolls, Mini-Burgers, Grilled Beef Tenderloin, rilled Shrimp, Ginger Scallops, Crab Cakes, Baked Chicken Spring Roll, Steamed Edamame, Zucchini, and Grilled Asparagus.  There are also three types of Bruschetta.  Pizzas and Specialty Flatbreads such as the Grilled Chicken and Artichoke, Tomato and Avocado, Wild Mushroom and Margherita are also popular choices.

There are several salads offered (half or full-size) including Caesar, DolceVita, Brasiliana, Organic Baby Greens, Caprese, Heirloom Grain Chopped Salad, Bacon and Blue Cheese, Ciao Baby, Sesame Chicken, and the Wild Muchroom Salad.

Pastas include Ravioli with Ricotta, Shrimp Linguini, Fettucine with Chicken, Fussili Lunghi, Risotto, Lasagna, Spaghetti, Fettucine with Asparagus, Tagliolini with Shrimp and Tortiglioni Rossa.

Sandwiches served at lunch only include Grilled Chicken Panini, Grilled Filet Mignon Sandwich, and Rotisserie Chicken Panini.
Entrees featured on Dinner Menu are the Wood Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Chicken Parmigiana, Veal Scallopine al Limone, Grilled Turkey Burger, Ahi Tuna Burger, Filet Mignon Steak, New York Strip, and Seasonal Fish.

Price guide: Small Plates $5-14  Salads $8-12 Pastas $14-18  Flatbreads $10 Pizza $8-12 Entrees $12-42
What We ordered: Shortly after we sat down we were served this warm, dense Italian bread.


I started with the Tomato Basil Soup, which was delicious.  It had big, chunky stewed tomatoes that gave it great texture, and the flavor was slightly sweet and tangy.  It was topped with a couple of big chunks of the bread and grated parmesan.


I was more in the mood for a sandwich than for a pasta dish, and after hearing the server talk-up the Turkey Avocado Panini, I went with her suggestion.  The ingredients were fresh, but the turkey and avocado just didn’t have enough flavor to get my attention (I love flavor and spice!) and I found it a little on the boring side, even with a tad of Dijon Mustard.  I had also assumed that all paninis were made on ciabatta bread (which I love because they are soft and crispy), but this sandwich was made with a denser bread and was hard on the outside.  The sandwich was good, it just wasn’t what I was after.


One of my companions ordered a half Bacon and Blue Cheese Salad with a half order of the Chicken Fettuccine. The salad had romaine, tomatoes, onions and chunks of crispy bacon and came with the dressing pre-tossed.  The Chicken Fettucine dish was made with spinach noodle and then topped with steamed spinach, toasted almonds, chicken and tossed in the house white wine cream sauce.  This was a half portion, but seemed considerably smaller than the half portion of Fettucine with Asparagus.



My other companion ordered a half salad with a half Fettuccine Asparagus.


The fettucine was topped with large pieces of asparagus, pine nuts, pancetta, parmesan and served in a light cream sauce.  My companion enjoyed the dish and he bite that I tried had more flavor than most Alfredo sauces, so I was pleased.


Service: Our server was really nice, and very accommodating to the baby I had in my party.  When asked for suggestions she offered her favorites off the menu.  It was a busy lunch hour and I think the food was served in a reasonable amount of time.
Overall Impression: Very nice restaurant, a popular place for the business crowd.  Good food and a decent-sized menu.  Prices seem a little high, but comparable to other restaurants in the area.
Ciao Bella on Urbanspoon

  2 Responses to “Ciao Bella ~ Bloomington, MN”

  1. When is the Woodbury location going to open??

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