Mon-Sat, noon-midnight; Sun, noon-11pm
6 at 68th St.-Hunter College
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
65th St. to 78th St., First Ave. to Fifth Ave.
Bright and buzzing, Bella Blu is the middle child in a trio of East Side trattorias owned by Enrico Proietti, who ran ‘80s beautiful-people spot Ciaobella. A well-coiffed, convivial neighborhood crowd roosts here nightly for competent, rustic Italian. They’re doted on by polite, efficient servers in a room cheered by a tomato-red ceiling, bright tiles, and abstract nautical scenes on the walls. Proietti takes obvious care in selecting fish, meats, and produce, but the kitchen’s execution can be uneven. A heavy hand on the salt shaker mars elegantly presented dishes, like snowy halibut or delicate veal tenderloin with black truffle sauce. Expert pasta like the homemade lobster ravioli are a better choice. A pizza margherita, topped with creamy mozzarella, fragrant basil, and zingy tomato sauce and attractively charred in the wood-fired oven, is well worth ordering.Extra
Don’t be shy to ask for special treatment here; service is accommodating and gracious, and the kitchen offers fresh-made pizzas and other fare not listed on the menu.Recommended Dishes
Caesar salad, $13; homemade lobster ravioli with tomato sauce and asparagus tips, $24; margherita pizza, $18