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The Best of Italian Traditions
Some Italian-Americans take sharing the best parts of their Old World traditions seriously. Chef Raffaele Virgillo is obviously one of those people. He is the creative force behind a well-known group of Italian restaurants in the Twin Cities. And his latest is Bella Sera.
When I walked into the restaurant, I noticed a lot of wood, leather and brick. The place manages to have a feeling of opulence without feeling stuffy. It almost felt like the parlor of a favorite aunt.
I don’t know how they did it but it feels like the kind of place you could just hang out with friends while the sun slowly disappears and the street lights come on and the world gets quiet and suddenly someone taps you on the shoulder to tell you it’s time to go home.
When I sat down with Tina Virgillo, who runs the newest addition to the Virgillo stable, she practically told me the same thing. They want people to feel like guests in their family home. She told me most of the recipes they serve, her dad learned from his grandma. Which led me to ask what she would recommend to first timers at Bella Sera?
Without batting an eye she said, “Filetto Alla Gorgonzola. It’s tender beef medallions, marinated in a red wine cream sauce, and sautéed in gorgonzola cheese, mushrooms and onions. Definitely a favorite.”
Another suggestion she recommended was the Grilled Salmon. They use a pesto sauce and top it with a balsamic tomato concasse. She said your mouth will go into deep depression afterwards because anything else will be a let-down. I certainly can’t add anything to that.
Bella Sera is located at 12730 Elm Creek Boulevard in Maple Grove. Entrees average between $17 to $25 dollars. You’ll find veal, pork, chicken, steak, lamb or seafood on the menu. And, of course, pasta.
They serve lunch from 11-4 daily and they have wine, martini and appetizer specials from 4-7pm Monday thru Thursday. They are open daily from 11am until 10pm. Call 763-425-7372 for more information.
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