After a full day of Saturday errands, Richard and I needed something good and hearty. We were in the mood for Italian, and we’d had a recommendation for an Italian restaurant on the Eastside. Annie (of Annie’s Adventures and you really should like her page) had mentioned that she very much enjoys Trattoria Bella Sera on the Eastside, so that became our destination. Once again, we were willing to make the trek across town in search of good food!
We arrived at Trattoria Bella Sera mid-afternoon. It is a rather small restaurant that’s certainly not fancy or trendy, but it’s quite comfortable and the focus is on the food. We were able to choose our table, and we chose a pleasant one right near the windows. Our server Erin greeted us immediately with menus and offered us both lunch and dinner menus for us to peruse. There were choices to be made, and we each had a glass of the house cab while undertaking that serious business. There was quite a lot from which to choose, particularly in regard to pastas (and many sounded quite delicious).
For this first visit, we decided to go with some traditional faves. Richard knew he wanted something that included the homemade Italian sausage. While there were several entrees that featured this sausage, he had to go with the Spaghetti Salsiccia (homemade sausage over spaghetti in a marinara sauce). I debated between the lasagna and the gnocchi and in the end chose the lunch (i.e., half-size) portion of the lasagna (which per the menu consists of layers of homemade pasta overlaid with Sicilian meat sauce and mozzarella).
After we placed our order, our server Erin brought us some nice soft dinner rolls that were quite good. Both of our entrees came with soup or salad, and we both chose the salad with the house balsamic vinaigrette. When our salads arrived, we both dug in to a nice, fresh mixture of salad greens, olives, tomatoes, and cheese. The salad dressing was quite flavorful and really hit the spot…..not at all bland like some vinaigrettes I’ve had in the past.
Once our entrees arrived, we were both happy. Richard actually took some time to just enjoy the spaghetti and marinara to begin with. He said that the marinara was excellent just by itself (and this is coming from a guy who usually says “but where’s the meat?”). Once he started in on the sausage, he was even more thrilled. He said that it was very nicely seasoned and was just the right portion size. He ate every bite, and that’s actually quite unusual for him (though not for me, I’m afraid). As for my lasagna, this was a good one! I’ve had many a lasagna in my day, and this one was right up there. It wasn’t too cheesy nor too meaty nor too any of this or that….it was one great combo of pasta, meat sauce, and cheese and all one and with just the right amounts of each. I of course ate every last bite of my lunch-sized portion but likely could have eaten every last bite of the dinner-sized portion, too.
And now it was time for dessert! Erin showed up at just the right moment to show us the dessert tray (which I, or course, had spied earlier across the room). It had some good-looking offerings (including tiramisu, cannoli, and chocolate cake). As is often the case, I was in a cheesecake frame of mind and so went with that. And I was very pleased when Erin offered to top the cheesecake with *both* chocolate sauce and strawberries. Even though the cheesecake did not seem homemade, it was still tasty and I enjoyed every bite.
Richard and I both really enjoyed our meals at Trattoria Bella Sera. It’s not a fancy restaurant, but it’s a nice, casual, and comfortable spot for obtaining some very well-prepared Italian food at a good price. Our service by Erin was excellent, and we both left satiated and happy with smiles on our faces. Thanks for the recommendation, Annie!
Trattoria Bella Sera is located on the Eastside at 9449 Montana, El Paso, TX 79925