Since I went gluten free it has been tough to eat out, often it is stressful worrying about where we can go and what the food will taste like, plus how safe the food will be for me. Places say they have gluten free food but it does not always seem safe so we don’t eat there if there is any question on food safety. When you have celiac disease it is not an option to occasionally eat wheat, it is a necessity to not eat even a tiny bit of it.
Planning a mid-week date, I wanted somewhere close to home for supper out. We had eaten at Bella’s when it first opened but someone didn’t like their entree so we hadn’t gone back. But I wasn’t giving up as I had loved my meal there two years ago.
Someone told they had gf options. So, I did my homework; called and asked if they still had GF food and if they used a dedicated gf colander for rinsing pasta. Yes, and yes. Good, as I won’t go to a place that doesn’t have a dedicated gf colander. The sticky stuff in wheat pasta really clings to the tiny holes in colanders so a separate gf colander is a necessity to avoid contamination of your gf pasta.
Bella’s on Main Street in Hellertown is a lovely restaurant with actual murals on the walls, soft Sinatra style music playing, high ceilings with beams and a number of cozy booths. We asked for a booth and a gluten free menu for me. It was a brief list, maybe 8 or 9 options and they looked somewhat basic. Feeling skeptical I chose the penne with pink vodka sauce and topped with shrimp. It came with a green salad. The salad was okay if rather uninspired but it came with a tasty Parmesan vinaigrette.
My pasta arrived without too much delay, a big bowl of it. Fat shrimp were nestled into the penne and it was well coated with sauce and a good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese with some finely chopped parsley. One bite and I was totally hooked. The pasta was perfectly cooked, not over and not underdone, a feat in and of itself for GF pasta. And the pink vodka sauce was the best I have ever had, loads of flavor and just the right amount of it.
The shrimp were meaty and succulent. There were also tiny salad size shrimp sprinkled throughout it. It was a lovely pasta dish. As good as any wheat pasta I have had in a restaurant. I will gladly go back to eat that again!
Joe’s food was also good, if full of wheat! He had mussels with a Frau Diablo red sauce and linguine. He is a tough food critic but found nothing amiss and ate pretty much every scrap of it! We were both too full for dessert although they waved a tray of elegant but wheaty looking cake slices in front of us! Maybe they will come up with some gf desserts this summer.
They gave us each a small complementary glass of wine. My white wine was very good. The service was fast and very friendly. I had read some negative comments on service but I found no faults at all, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer waiter!
If you are looking to eat GF Italian in Saucon Valley, look no further, Bella’s is clearly in a class above most any other place in the Lehigh Valley. The atmosphere is wonderful and the pasta is divine. I consider it a great restaurant to enjoy a delicious gluten free meal.