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  • Alanna Salussolia

Naples in Savannah

Were you as enchanted with Return to Me and Moonstruck as I was? The romance of Italy sprinkled like parmesan on a bowl of spaghetti. Minnie Driver smooches David Duchovny in a piazza. Nicholas Cage devours Cher with a look at the opera. It's all an interlude to a dimly lit dinner with lots of staring into one another's eyes.

Bella Napoli Bistro

My husband and I went on a weekend getaway to Savannah. We hadn't mapped our schedule or which restaurants we would be visiting. I decided the occasion called for pasta. We didn't want a fancy, pricey restaurant, but we wanted something nicer than a pizza joint. I bounced between Google and Yelp to find an Italian restaurant walkable from the 17Hundred90 Inn where we were staying. Bella Napoli Bistro, snug in the Historic North District, sounded perfect. It was a Saturday night. We figured it would be busy, but let's test our luck.

The wait was an hour, but the night was young. We were one block from E. Broughten Street, with the siren song of shops inviting us in. We sashayed from Starbucks to River Street Sweets to Oglethorpe Square, in a fashion that can only be completed by parents on a leisurely Kid-free weekend.

Enjoying the Wait

We sipped iced coffee, looked at flowers, and sat on a friendly bench in the park square. Micheal had his sketchbook and I had my novel. The May weather was temperate, cooling as dusk was near. 45 minutes zipped by and we decided to check on our reservation. I clapped my eye on the distant host stand. The line of waiting guests was starting to lengthen. The hostess said it wouldn't long.

We moseyed over to the historic locksmith to look in the window and ponder the history of the quaint 7 Up vending machine. The surrounding area was a mixture of residential and commercial buildings. The block wasn't particularly glamorous but the green awning, red and white checked table clothes and spackled line of patio tables suggested that the inside decor would be inviting.

Papperdelle Bolognese

"I'll take you to your table"

The hostess was ready to seat us. Little candles flickered on tables. The mood lighting flattered the servers and diners alike. We ordered Peronis. We had a long evening with dueling pianos at Savannah Smiles ahead of us. We chose to forgo (as the host of The Bachelor would say) the trend of splitting a bottle of red and tipping iridescent glasses in our hands. Our server prepared oil, balsamic and spices to dip the the bread. Little baskets held the warm loaves of fresh bread. I eyed Michael's second piece greedily.

Gnocchi Sorrentina

He tried something new and ordered gnocchi. I went for something a little different, skipping my usual favorites of baked ziti and chicken piccata. I ordered the Pappardelle Bolognese. I had to be loyal to the red sauce, so the Bolognese dish intrigued me. The wide noodles were scrumptious and the red sauce was brimming with beef. It was a hearty dish.

Limoncello Cake

That's Why the Lady Is a Tramp

We didn't actually split a noodle, like those Disney pups, but we certainly sampled the opposing dishes. Michael's Gnocchi Sorrentina was to die for. It had a rich, savory cheese sauce and the gnocchi itself was cooked to perfection. It wasn't clumpy or too heavy. I would describe it as al dente if that is allowed for dumplings. Michael shared, and we paired our entrees with stories of our first dates and favorite things about Lucy.

The server offered us a birthday dessert choice of Tiramisu, Cannoli, or Lemoncello Cake. We had the Limoncello with marscapone and white chocolate shavings. We left the dessert plate without a single crumb. Erstwhile Dean Martin crooned. We eavesdropped on young lovers. We watched tourists ambling by outside, and soon we followed the current and drifted toward the riverbank.

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