Dining Out Gulf Coast: Bella Roma Tuscan Grill, Panama City Beach, FL

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For our last dinner while vacationing at the beach, we chose Bella Roma Tuscan Grill.  Chef and Owner Guglielmo immigrated from Italy when he was 21 years old.  The restaurant serves the upscale Italian cuisine of Northern Italy which is a little lighter with a variety of sauces.  There is a wide option of items on the menu from traditional pasta dishes which include homemade lasagna, to fish and seafood entrees, along with veal, lamb, and gourmet pizzas.

Our server for the evening was Candice.  She was extremely personable and knowledgeable of the menu.  She described each of the nightly specials in such a way that I wanted to order all of them!

When we arrived for our meal, we were warmly greeted and promptly seated. I couldn't resist ordering Spritz Veneziano.  The color is absolutely gorgeous and the flavor is very refreshing. A Spritz is commonly served as an aperitif in Northeast Italy.  It's made with prosecco, digestive bitters, and soda water.

While we looked over the menu, we ordered an Italian Antipasto with imported Italian meats and cheese, served with giardiniera. This is a beautiful presentation that tasted as great as it looks.

Here's my plate:  the grilled zucchini and eggplant were cooked perfectly.  The variety of meats (each with a different flavor) paired nicely with the olives and tomatoes.

Y'all know how much I love a good bread basket!  I've had many variations of the "olive oil dipping bowl."  But, I've never had Bella Roma's version.  The olive oil was light and fruity.  The fresh garlic was amazing when combined with the olive oil and herbs.  If they would only bottle this for purchase my life would be complete.

Sweet Harold selected the house specialty:  Lasagna Al Forno which is baked layers of pasta filled with meat and ricotta cheese, parmesan and mozzarella cheese.  He was well pleased with his choice.  It was served piping hot and was well seasoned.

Even though I was sorely tempted by the seafood options, I chose the Spaghetti Alla Carbonara:  Pasta tossed with crispy pancetta, prosciutto, eggs, cream, parmesan cheese, black pepper and chili flakes.  I believe there was a pound of spaghetti noodles on my plate.  If we had not been coming home the next day, I would have taken my leftovers for lunch the next day.  Look at how much pancetta and prosciutto is in this serving.  This is an amazing dish and I highly recommend!

Because it was the last night of our anniversary trip, we talked each other into ordering dessert!  Once again, presentation is everything and they knocked it out of the park.

Sweet Harold ordered the tiramisu.  He rated this one of the best he's ever eaten.

I ordered the Limoncello Mascarpone.  The cake was moist with a very tender crumb.  The lemon filling was amazing.  This dessert was worth every calorie.

The entire meal was perfection.  The atmosphere was elegantly casual, service was outstanding, and the food from beginning to end was top notch. We will be returning on our next trip to the beach!


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