Bella Roma – New Authentic Italian Find in Merida

Everyone is talking about it.

A new Italian eatery; a really authentic Italian restaurant, located in the most unlikely and hard to find places; the new, gigantic urban development known as Las Americas. Not the mall, but the Sadasi construction companys huge housing project near Dzitya, just off the Merida-Progreso highway.

The Casual Restaurant Critic, Better Half and several friends visited this hidden gem a few nights ago and the group was magically transported from Merida to a Roman neighborhood trattoria, where a large (20 members by one account) Italian family hosts Yucatecans and the occasional Canadian and offers up real food from the land shaped like a boot.

The pizza is of the ultra thin crust variety and while the ‘everything’ pizza was fine, it was the quattro formaggio with anchovies that wowed the group. Pastas were perfect; rare indeed is the restaurant that can put together a delicious pasta cooked perfectly. Elio al Mare is one, Bella Roma is another. Accompanied by a reasonably priced bottle of Moltepuciano red wine, the meal was perfect up to and including the tiramisu and limoncello (and mandarincello) for dessert. Exquisite!

Service was adequate, but the crushing onslaught of Yucatecans never stopped and the female waitresses, evidently sisters and daughters of the older folks in the kitchen as well as several young men including the Eros Ramazotti singing member of the family who provided live entertainment for part of the evening, were hard-pressed to spend much time at any table. Every few minutes, yet another Italian face would appear with a load of plates and the Critic counted at least 11 different members of the staff, all related apparently.

Dinner for 8 came to about $1400 pesos before tips which the Critic felt was quite fair.

18 thoughts on “Bella Roma – New Authentic Italian Find in Merida

  1. OK, you sold me! So Sunshine and I just spent about 20 minutes cruising Las Americas – across the street from our long-time home near Dzitya. We never did find the place and asking various residents yielded no information. How about directions? Or a phone number? Or a web site? Or any other help?

  2. It’s kind of hidden away there, MexicoBob, sorry about that.

    You drive into Las Americas, cruise along the main drag, over a couple of topes etc until you come to the HUGEST glorieta you have ever seen. Follow it around to your left and continue on the main avenue. On your right, you will see streets 76, 78 and finally 80, where you turn right. Funnily enough the 80 street sign is the one that is missing 🙂 or was when we went.

    Coast along a few blocks until you find 57B, turn right. When you hit 76A you are there.

    Just found their card: phone number is 999-307-0299.

    Good luck and let me know how it went!


  3. Can’t wait to try it. At this time of year I have to ask if it is air conditioned… and you said “a few nights ago” so I assume they are open for dinner?

    Thanks for the detailed address and directions, too!


  4. Juanita – they now have closed in the restaurant and it is in fact air conditioned, yes. Go already!

  5. Thanks ExPat – I did notice on my last visit that ordering pasta can be a bit of a wait, so stick to the excellent pizzas is my recommendation!

  6. I tried the chicken cacciatore with spinach there. When they served the plate, I was put off because the chicken and the spinach were the same shade of brown. I guess they had cooked both in a sauce reduction. Looks aren’t everything. It was exceptionally good. And very reasonable.

  7. Giovanni – are you asking which place is better? OR was the pizza had at Bella Roma or Rafaellos? I will answer both questions:

    1) Rafaello’s I liked a little better

    2) I had 4 cheese with anchovies at both places.

  8. Having lived in Italy for a time, and been part of the large Italian community in Toronto for many years, I can attest to the authenticity of this restaurant. The sausage I ate there is probably homemade, and I suspect that much of the antipasto is as well. I had the sausage with fried potatoes, and my only criticism would be the lack of a vegetable or pickle on the plate to add some juiciness to the otherwise dry combination of sausage and fried potatoes. However, it is a fine restaurant in a most unusual location.

  9. I have not tried the sausage and potato combo; being German this certainly appeals to me!! Thanks for the visit!

  10. Raul!

    Not sure if they are open every day; cada vez que hemos ido a comer ahi lo encontramos abierto. The telephone number I have for them is 999-307-0299. Gracias!

  11. Hey is there any phone number the number you gave is not working… HELP me… i wanna do a reservation.

  12. Finally made it to the much hyped Bella Roma in Fracc Las Americas on Tuesday after a long time wanting to get there. Actually we made an abortive first attempt a month or so ago, however were turned away due to lack of a reservation… quite a surprise on a back street in Fracc Las Americas, which is hardly Venice after all… With much anticipation we made a reservation for last Tuesday, and duly arrived. The restaurant was quiet when we arrived with only 2 tables seated (although filled completely while we were there). After a short moment of confusion, the waiter located our table (located adjacent to a blaring speaker, which only upon our request, was turned down).

    Perhaps inevitably, the overall experience was disappointing. After being seated, we were handed menus, but no list of wine or beverages. Shortly after a waitress appeared to take our drink order, at the same time depositing a small basket of focaccia on the table. Since we had no beverage list, we had to ask what was available. Wine was offerred, by the glass only apparently, although when we pressed further, she admitted that bottles were also available, so we requested a bottle of Chianti. The price was never mentioned, and we did not ask, since after all, how much could you expect to pay for a bottle of basic Chianti in a restaurant in Fracc Las Americas? Our mistake, as we were to find out later.

    After a few minutes we noticed that all the other tables had also been provided with a bowl of olives, and olive oil for the bread. Only upon our request did we receive a bowl of olives, and in fact we never received any olive oil or balsamic vinegar during our entire visit. We ordered, one fetuccine dish, and one tortellini in a cream sauce, both reasonably priced at around 120 pesos each. In due course, the pastas were delivered, and were delicious, however no additional parmesan cheese or freshly ground black pepper were offered; both of which are a ‘must’ in an authentic (or even wannabe authentic) Italian restaurant. Following the delivery of our pasta we were then ignored until we finished, upon which our plates were collected.

    Upon deciding we would like dessert, we had to flag down a passing waitress, who took our order for two tiramisus (45 pesos each), and returned with them a short time later. I am not Italian, but I have to say that I can make a better tiramisu myself, by far, than that served at Bella Roma.

    Having finished dessert, no coffee, limoncello, or anything else was offered; again, had we wanted it, we would have needed to request it. We called for the check. Upon receiving it we were somewhat shocked to find that the cheap bottle of Chianti was in fact 380 pesos…

    Overall, as I said, a somewhat disappointing experience. Although the pasta was indeed excellent, it was not enough to make up for the poor service and lack of any welcome or atmosphere. The staff were disorganized, and had I not known better, I could easily have believed that the restaurant had only just opened, since there seemed to be no coordination or planning. I have traveled widely in Italy, and since Bella Roma is owned by a large Italian family, I was expecting the kind of atmosphere that one would find in a tratoria in Florence or Naples. The reality was sadly lacking. We won’t be rushing back.

  13. I finally had a chance to get to Bella Roma 2 weeks ago. The restaurant was empty upon arrival but it filled up pretty quick. I did hear the singing member of the family and felt tempted to sing my spanish version of a Gianluca Grignani song but didn’t happen 🙂

    Went to have dinner with some friends and I believe some sort of pasta with beef was ordered as well as eggplant Lasagna. I have to agree with the last comment regarding the lack of offering of Parmesan and the absolutely non-existent wine list.

    But honestly, I completely forgot about it once I felt the delicious smell of my Pizza Cappricciosa (Artichoke, prosciutto and black olives). Absolutely delicious crust and combination of flavors. And the Tiramisu was something else really although not entirely authentic.

    You either decide to have a good time or not whenever going some place. Me, a guy who is absolutely dedicated to enjoying whatever it is that I do or eat, get the same pleasure from eating a 23 pesos hotdog from Costco (with refill coke included) or a poquito más expensive steak at Bryan’s. I will definitely go again sometime soon for some more of that gorgeous Pizza!

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