Casual, independently-owned red sauce joints have been the backbone of Italian food in Western New York for decades, but over the years, we’ve seen them decline in numbers.
The new Bella Ciao in the Avant building Downtown isn’t a new red sauce joint, but it is a logical step forward that is more focused on modern tastes. Set in a beautiful space, Bella Ciao offers elevated versions of those classic Italian-American dishes you remember from when you were a kid.
You may have loved pasta from a red sauce joint like Tina’s Italian Kitchen, but odds are, that pasta wasn’t made from scratch. Fresh-made pasta is the centerpiece of the menu at Bella Ciao, and its presence of elevated classics like fettuccine alfredo ($22) and vodka rigatoni ($22).
KC Mullett is the owner of the new Italian restaurant and he had been refining his fresh pasta concept while overseeing his two other restaurants: V|ice in downtown Buffalo and N|eat in Williamsville.
“After growing up Italian, I’ve always wanted to do an Italian concept with fresh pasta,” KC says. “I was able to test out a homemade pasta dish at the other restaurants, and it went over really well. This location (in the Avant building) came up and I thought a fresh pasta concept would be a great fit for the area.”
Fresh pasta isn’t the only thing on the menu at Bella Ciao that speaks to modern tastes. Small plate dishes like arancini ($14), tuna crudo ($18), beef tartare ($19) and burrata ($15) aren’t exactly staples at red sauce joints. The rest of the food menu splits the difference between classic and contemporary. There is a Margherita pizza ($19), a chianti-braised short rib soup ($10), wild mushroom lasagna ($28) and strip steak with fingerling potatoes ($45).
Of course, this being an Italian restaurant, there’s a solid wine list featuring around 50 different bottles. The full bar also has a cocktail program that leans Italian, with classic drinks like the Negroni and amaro-based drinks.
In addition to being a restaurant, Bella Ciao is also servicing the Embassy Suites Hotel in the building, including the event spaces. Expect the catering menu to be similar to that of the restaurant, but with an emphasis on dishes that are better suited to serving large groups.
“We have a beautiful kitchen there that has this built-in catering line,” KC says. “So serving the hotel and catering is a little bit of a step up from what our team has done in the past, but still in the same realm.”
If you’ve never been to this location, which used to house the Sear steakhouse, you should know it has a massive patio with lounge seating, firepits and a full outdoor bar. KC says he can’t wait for guests to take full advantage of the outdoor space.
“We’re excited for the warmer weather so we can open up that patio!” he says.
Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Sunday to Thursday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. – 12 p.m.
200 Delaware Avenue Buffalo, NY 14202 • $$$$$
From Scratch Italian Restaurant and Bar in the ❤️ of Downtown Buffalo. 200 Delaware Ave. Read Our Article About Their Opening [sm_anypost columns="1" ...
- Family Friendly
- Bar Area
- Good for Beer Lovers
- Private Parties
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