Restaurant Review: Bellini Grill

When Center City District hosts its Restaurant Week (s), the participating restaurants bring a card along with your check so that you can submit your contact information for their mailing list, and a chance to win 52, $50 gift certificates. Well, Chester won (I, however, want partial credit for this good fortune, since I filled out the card for him)! He’s just lucky that way. I, on the other hand, can’t even win a free ticket on one of those lottery scratch-offs.

Needless to say, we’ll be eating pretty well and I’ll have more that enough options to choose from to come up with blog posts for the foreseeable future. Thank you Center City District!

Tonight, my mom and aunt were in Center City to do some Christmas shopping, so  I met up with them for dinner at Bellini Grill, an Italian BYOB in the Rittenhouse Square area, after work. We have been there before and have always have enjoyed the food. And, as another plus, it just so happened to be included in the bag o’ gift certificates that we received a couple of weeks back.

Bellini Grill is a casual, Italian BYOB in the Rittenhouse Square area. The menu features traditional favorites at prices that are very reasonable for the neighborhood in which it’s located. The outside of the place is pretty nondescript and the interior is reminiscent of an Olive Garden (the painted ceilings are a bit ridiculous. And, there’s a creepy baby up there), but don’t let this deter you as the food and the service are both pretty solid.

On this visit, we started off by sharing the mussels in white sauce, which were tender and fresh. The broth was so good that we all couldn’t resist soaking it up with bread. Although I’ve had chicken or fish dishes on some visits, the homemade pasta is really Bellini’s specialty. I like that it can be ordered in a whole wheat version. Today, I had the thinnest cappelini ever, which was served in a light tomato sauce with a generous helping of crabmeat.

In some of the reviews I’ve read, people complain that the staff was rude and rushed them out of the place. I have never found this to be the case, and have always thought that the servers and the owner (who always seems to be there) are warm, welcoming, and attentive. However, I’ve also noticed that these reviews come from visitors who were dining with very large parties (12 people or more); since the restaurant and kitchen are pretty small, I could see there being some issues with bigger groups.

This is Philadelphia, and you’ll probably find more outstanding Italian food somewhere else, but Bellini can always be counted on for a consistently satisfying experience. And,  it’s also a good place to keep in mind if you are in need of a quick bite before heading to a show at the Kimmel Center or Academy of Music.


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