Almost every student on campus would agree that there are three restaurants that dominate the late-night delivery industry at the University: NYPD, Pizza House and Mr. Spot”s. Each one of these hot spots has signature dishes that have brought returning customers back again and again for years. For NYPD, it”s the chicken roll, consisting of chicken, marinara sauce and cheese enclosed in a foot-long roll of pizza dough. For Pizza House, it”s the famous sorority-driven chipati, a healthful salad girdled by a thin UFO, disk-like piece of bread. For Mr. Spot”s, it”s gotta be their famous Philly cheese steaks and, of course, their wings, which have been voted #1 in Ann Arbor every year since “96.
Last summer, three native Italians named Giuseppe, Giovanni and Luigi came into town with an ingenious idea. This was-to open up a restaurant that incorporates all of the best dishes from the hottest late night food venues, and then add their own personal touch in order to make their concept stand out above the competition”s. Let”s be honest, with names like Giuseppe, Giovanni and Luigi, there”s no possible way that this place isn”t the real deal. This trio”s new restaurant is named Bella Napoli and it is located at 615 East University, just off the corner of South University and East University near the Diag.
Bella Napoli”s menu has an extensive list of items including pizza (NY, Chicago, and Sicilian-style), 30 pasta dishes, 15 appetizers, 10 different salads, a wide array of hot and cold subs (including the Philly), and a number different chicken rolls, calzones and strombolis. Seeing how massive this menu was immediately brought upon the thought it was too good to be true.
One would think that it would be impossible for one restaurant to have this many items and maintain quality throughout. After several visits, my primary intuition was proven wrong. First of all, their chicken and spinach stromboli, which is similar to the chicken roll but with a little more flavor, is spectacular. Secondly, their pizza menu is the most quality and diverse on campus. Third of all, the salads are made with fresh, crisp ingredients and tasty dressings, and finally, their pasta dishes are well above average.
Bela Napoli also has 10 gourmet-style entrees, varying from Chicken Cacciatore to Shrimp Scampi. Although these items are a little on the pricey side as they range from $9.00 to $12.95, they come with a side order of pasta, garlic bread, and a salad, making it well worth the extra few dollars. The one item on the menu that was lacking in quality was the Philly cheese steak. The steak was a little tough and was dripping juice out the bottom end of the roll the entire time I was eating it. As far as I”m concerned, Philadelphia doesn”t lie anywhere near Italy so I think I”ll just stick to Spot”s.
The ambience and layout of Bella Napoli have many pros and cons. Starting with the pros, the restaurant has more than a sufficient amount of space. Customers can go there solo or with ten friends at any given time and have no problem finding seating.
Another plus to the layout is that it is quite casual and there are no servers, just a person to take the orders and one to holler out when it”s ready. Because of this, students can stumble in after a long night at Rick”s at 2 a.m. and get a quality meal or slice of pizza without having to interact with a server that you don”t want to deal with, and who more than likely probably does not want to deal with you.
One setback of the ambience is that it lacks dicor. Not much was done to the seating layout since Taco Bell closed down and the restaurant does not have much of an Italian feel. Obviously, the owners didn”t want to make it a trendy and cheesy Italian-poster filled place, which is respectable, but it is possible that some sort of balance could have been achieved. Overall, since discovering this restaurant, it has been my new go-to place for lunches, an after class slice of pizza, and also late night deliveries. If you”re like me and have been ordering from the same few pizza places all throughout college, then I recommend you give Bella Napoli a shot.