Located at 896 Whalley Ave. is Bella’s, a tiny café in the Westville neighborhood of New Haven. Serving breakfast, brunch and lunch, Bella’s has become a popular spot for locals and can produce a long wait on the weekend mornings. However, it’s certainly worth the wait if you’re looking for more than your typical cheese omelet or french toast.
I’ve only been to Bella’s for breakfast, and my first visit left me feeling a little frustrated after waiting outside for over an hour. When we were finally seated in the back next to a drafty corner, it took the wait staff a little while to make their way over to us. It also didn’t help that a party of ten was sitting behind us. We skimmed the regular menu; it all looks good, but the specials were unique, and so we decided we had to try them. I ordered a croque madame panini, which was a ham and cheese panini with a fried egg on top. I was surprised at how tasty it was, and my mood brightened significantly. Everyone else at the table ordered french toast that had a pumpkin flavor to it; a few bites were good, but there was a big possibility of getting too full from it.
Last weekend, I attempted to go across the street to Lena’s, but there was a 45 minute wait, so we decided to try Bella’s again. It was around 9:30 a.m., a little earlier than last time we stopped in. We were seated right away, but a wait started to build up a little after we got there. We ordered from the specials again: stuffed french toast with cheese and chocolate, and the omelet du jour (onions, peppers, cheese, chorizo sausage, and plantain – a fruit similar to bananas). The omelet was prepared well, and I would’ve loved to have finished all of it, but the ingredients were so heavy that it was impossible (but delicious, nonetheless). Like last time, the french toast was good but filling, so I only tried a bite; the combination of chocolate and cheese was a little weird to me.
My experience at Bella’s has not always been great, but the gourmet breakfasts have been worth it. I probably won’t visit often, but will definitely make my way there again. I especially like that the juice is served in a big glass, as opposed to the many other breakfast places that give you the tiniest glass they can find so you have to keep ordering more.
If you want to try Bella’s on the weekend, go on the earlier side. Also, as a common courtesy, don’t go with a big group. The café is entirely too small, and it causes a long wait for everyone else. Finally, be sure to order from the specials, because you won’t find them at any simple breakfast place!
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
Service: Not good, not bad
Selection: Basic breakfast menu, plenty of omelets, interesting specials
Aesthetics: Small, crowded, busy
Atmosphere: Family, social