Bellini's Classic Italian Fare a Tasty Treat

This family-owned eatery uses recipes passed down for generations

Most of us will get a healthy dose of family time this month, but if you want to visit a restaurant that radiates that same feeling through its food and ambiance (and is run by three siblings, no less), stop by Bellini. This gorgeously restored former church, built in 1897, was once the Monastery, a restaurant owned by Biagio Gargano from 1980 to 1994. After Biagio retired, his children Pete, Angelina and Maria opened Bellini in 1999 in honor of the elder Gargano.

Much of the interior is the same as during the Monastery days, and can be described as eating in a ornate church replete with large wooden bar, hand-carved wooden chairs and three walls punctuated by original stained-glass windows.

The food is, well, a religion here, with Sicilian favorites like Pollo e Gamberi Alla Pietro (chicken and tiger shrimp sautéed with plum tomatoes and white and portobello mushrooms in a cream sauce and garlic mashed potatoes), Lasagna Angelina (homemade with three-meat ragu topped with homemade marinara) and Polpette Cinzano (meatballs simmered with mushrooms and spinach in sweet vermouth cream sauce).

“Many of the recipes are traditional and classic, and were my dad’s and grandma’s,” says Pete. “But we get adventurous and eclectic, too.”
Chef Todd Downing was even trained by Biagio when Bellini opened, ensuring that the elder’s imprint is still on the menu for years to come.

“My dad is the one who paved the way,” notes Angelina. “Now we’re the next generation and we’ll continue to carry the torch for him. This is his vision.”

Photo, above: The Gamberi alla Diavola has pappardelle tossed with tiger shrimp, crushed red pepper, green onion and garlic, simmered in a vodka tomato cream sauce; (left to right): Maria Gargano Nolan, chef Todd Downing and Angelina Gargano.

Bellini, 401 E. Washington Ave. 250-0097.             

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