F, J, M, Z at Delancey St.-Essex St.
Warren St. to 14th St., FDR Dr. to Fifth Ave.
This venue is closed.
Like nearby San Marzano, this Lower East Side pizzeria makes its sauce with San Marzano tomatoes, but the décor here is brighter and more bizarre than its neighbor. Named after the owner’s Argentinean grandmother Bella, Ciao Bella has yellow walls, a life-size palm tree figurine covered with parrots, and a swimsuit-clad pinup girl painting along the counter greeting customers with a message of “eat more pizza.” The beach-shake vibe stops short of the classic slice-joint menu, however. Of the by-the-slice and whole pie varieties, there’s the common Hawaiian and veggie to choose from; the house special comes with sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta cheese, and artichoke. The crunchy crust here sets a foundation for stellar pizza, but the sauce, derived from Grandma’s recipe, lacks spice. Fortunately, there are basil and chile flakes on the marble counter tops up front for some self-serve zing. An assortment of heros, salads, and pasta dishes—including an impressively meaty, albeit oily, homemade lasagna—make up the rest of the menu.