Looking for something a little different on the Upper West Side. Try Bettola Restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue – home of progressive Italian cuisine.
Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest to this establishment for a complimentary meal. All opinions expressed in this post are my own
This endearing spot has a cozy feel to it from the minute you walk in which is accentuated by the wood burning oven that warms everything around you.
Giga Leszay, who was the manager of the restaurant for several years and Chef Vlado Kolenic, a rock star from the former Czechoslovakia, jointly own Bettola. Vlado developed a love for global flavors through his travels as a musician around the world and infuses this into his dishes.
Take for example the “Shrimp Prosecco” a dish which combines made with a Cajun flavored coconut milk sauce on Israeli couscous with fresh seasonal vegetables. Dishes like this sure do pique your interest.
Some of the highlights from our meal was the pan fried scallops which were so deliciously crispy – the secret being Chef Vlado uses rice flour to coat these babies.
I also loved the house made fettuccine, which was simply sautéed with seasonal vegetables.
The pizza made in their wood burning over was just fantastic. The crust was paper thin and crispy – just the way I like it.
They offer a Beatles Brunch on Sundays during which music by The Beatles plays, and dishes are named after band members and songs like Here Comes the Sunny Side of Eggs, two eggs cooked to order with hash browns and fruit, and Strawberry Crepes Forever, fresh crepes layered with strawberry jam and fresh strawberries.
Chef Vlado is very charismatic and is happy to share plenty of stories about his love for music, food and life itself. He spent the better part of our meal chatting with us (except when he had to tend to dishes in the kitchen). Giga is just as warm and charming as the setting at Bettola. I think if you choose to dine here, you will have a truly wonderful time.
Here is some of what we ate: