Date Visited: 9 February 2015
Diners: Me & Wendy
Experience: Wait, ANOTHER pizza restaurant in Leesburg? Yes, it’s true! Bello Pranzo had its grand opening on 31 January, located next to the Cobb Theatre in the Village at Leesburg. As reported in my 22 January review of Pizzarella’s, it’s a crowded market and Bello Pranzo must now compete with at least eighteen other pizza restaurants!
When we entered the restaurant on this cold, rainy Monday at about 7:00 PM, we were the only customers inside. We were very warmly greeted by our server Anita, who immediately took our drink orders and then suggested we sit down and take our time reviewing the menu. While we looked over the choices, she explained that this restaurant is one of a group of family-owned restaurants in New York, and this is the first one to be located outside New York.
Once we had reviewed the extensive menu, we settled on a few representative items. Wendy started out with a Small Garden Salad, which featured cherry tomatoes, cucumber, sliced black olives, red onion, and shaved Parmesan (nice touch!) with the house Italian dressing. It was crisp and cold. I got an order of the Beer-Battered Onion Rings to share. They were pretty much perfect - just the right size, crisp, and hot.
We next tried the Bello Stromboli (“Pepperoni, Ham, Sausage, Meatball & Mozzarella”). The crust was light & crispy, and every bite was a little different thanks to the four meats. While we were eating, the chef came by and asked how we liked everything. We complimented him on everything, and then I hesitatingly mentioned that I thought it could have used a little more cheese. He graciously explained that that’s the way he was taught to make it; if you add too much cheese, it just leaks out during cooking, and it makes the crust too soggy. I didn’t expect to get a lesson in Stromboli making from the chef!
Our main dish was the Bello Gourmet Pizza Specialty (“Sausage, Pepperoni, Onions, Mushrooms, Peppers, Meatballs and Topped With Extra Cheese”). This is New York-style pizza, which is a thinner crust than I’m used to. You pretty much have to eat it with a knife and fork (at least the center part). The crust was soft & chewy all the way to the edges. We especially liked the fresh ingredients, which stayed crispy and were not overcooked. About halfway through, we were both quite full and took the rest home in a box. A good test of a pizza is whether it’s any good as leftovers the next day; I had most of the rest for lunch the next day and I can say that this one was still excellent!
Because of their New York roots, Bello Pranzo also features some great desserts. They proudly feature “Junior’s Most Fabulous Cheesecake”, which apparently is quite a big deal in New York. We bought a slice of the cheesecake with strawberries to take home and have the next day; it was very smooth, creamy and refreshing, not too sweet or too wet or too crumbly.
Overall, we found the food at Bello Pranzo to be uniformly fresh, crisp, not greasy, and delicious. I urge you to give them a try!
Location: 1600 Village Market Blvd. SE, #132, Leesburg, VA, 20175, 703-777-7715
Total bill: $48.73 + $10.00 tip = $58.73