In My New Hood: Bellanico

I moved to the Glenview district about a month ago and I absolutely love it.  Glenview is a small quiet community with a commercial district that spans a few blocks.   The district has various businesses including notable restaurants.  I have been wanting to go to the Italian restaurant Bellanico since they opened about two years ago.  I have friends that live close by and always had rave reviews about Bellanico.  This is the restaurant that got my attention because I couldn’t stop hearing about their farro salad.  There was no more excuse not to finally eat here.

My friends wanted to celebrate my new neighborhood with me, so we had dinner at Bellanico on a weekday evening.  I was very excited to try this place.  I had already been a fan of Bellanico on Facebook for several months and enjoyed hearing about their specials and what they were cooking up in their kitchen.  It was before 6:30 on a weeknight and the three of us could not get a table, so we were seated at the bar.  Bellanico has daily tasting menus.  They serve a three course lunch for $18 and a four course dinner for $24.  One of my friends was going to order off the tasting menu and the rest of us were going a la carte. 

I had to try their infamous farro salad to start.  I had to start believing what I was hearing.  The organic farro salad came with escarole, sungold tomatoes, cucumber, toasted hazelnuts, and hazelnut vinaigrette.  I have to say that this farro salad blows any other farro salad that I’ve consumed all year long and I’ve had my share of good ones.  I’ve made them, my friends have made them, and I’ve eaten one at another Oakland restaurant.  Each ingredient plays a significant role in this salad and it was delicious.  I loved all the flavors and textures.  I especially enjoyed the toasted hazelnuts.  I believe. 

Bellanico claims to use local, sustainable and organic products when available.  Whenever I see this, I still have to be careful if I order beef, as that disclaimer doesn’t always mean I’m going to get grass fed beef.  Their braised shorts ribs are from Prather Ranch, so I was able to order it as my entree.  It was tender and mouthwatering; another thumbs up. 

The dessert I ordered was a vanilla affrogato.  It was a very large scoop of ice cream and the espresso coffee they use comes from McLaughlin Coffee which is also the distributer to Cole Coffee which is where I get my coffee from.  The quality is excellent.

My friends had also ordered some delicious items, but there were two absolutely amazing items that I must mention or I am doing a disservice.  These two were actually part of the tasting menu, the cicchetti (small snack, before the first course) and the primi (first) courses.  The cichetti that my friend ordered was a crochetti di riso, salsa rossa.  We only could translate that as a fried rice ball.  It appeared black in color.  As you bit into it, it started to ooze cheese.  It was simply scrumptious and I will always look for this one on the menu. 

The primi ordered was a parmesan sformatto (molded custard), heirloom tomatoes, peaches, and del Monaco olive oil.  This was not only beautiful, it was delectable.   The heirloom tomatoes and peaches were wonderful, but it complimented this custard so well.  It was creamy and amazing.  I can’t recall ever having anything like it.  I will be keeping an eye on this one in the future as well.

Bellanico is the epitome of a neighborhood restaurant and I’m proud to have it in my hood.  The owners actually have another restaurant Aperto in the neighborhood of Potrero Hill in San Francisco that has been open for about 18 years.  I enthusiastically look forward to not only eating at Bellanico again, but trying out Aperto.