Bellanico in the Glenview District, Oakland

by foodhoe on May 23, 2010

4238 Park, Oakland, CA |510.336.1180 | reservationswebsite

Bellanico is on a tiny corridor along Park Street in Oakland that seems to have become an exciting dining destination.  I hadn’t been in the area since the days of the now closed Purple Plum, and the two densely packed commercial blocks are now vibrant and bustling with activity.  Bellanico is named for the owners children, which opened over two years ago and has established itself in the neighborhood as a family restaurant serving seasonal Italian cuisine.

We made reservations to sit outside when I read that they have heaters over the tables, but once there, we decided it was too cold and windy so we elected to sit inside at the bar.  From the vantage point of sitting at the counter, it felt like we were in an upscale diner as we could watch the concentrated activity going on in the kitchen.  I enjoyed a flight of Piedmontese wine, which had handy paper jackets placed on the base of the glass that identified the contents.  This is a very useful device.

We split a salad made with Sausalito watercress, mountain gorgonzola, toasted hazelnuts, champagne vinaigrette ($8).  This was Mr. K’s favorite dish of the entire meal.  The water cress was impecably fresh with an addictive pungent peppery bite that went so well with the sweet toasted nuts and rich chunks of the heady, fragrant cheese.

The stalks of the watercress added a dense crunchy texture to the dish.  The windows had screens to diffuse the sunlight, which unfortunately made the lighting dim, but I found that if I held my plate in my lap, the light was much better.  My neighbors probably thought me very strange…

We split another appetizer of Grilled Monterey Squid, smoked cannellini beans, pancetta, arugula, lemon anchovy vinaigrette ($9), which initially I thought did not have very much squid, but Mr. K admitted to me later that he may have eaten it all… However, looking at the picture you can see that the ratio of squid is rather paltry when compared to the generous mound of the beans.  However, the pieces I did sample were perfectly cooked, tender and succulent although the dish overall was a little bland.

I had to order a small dish of the Orecchiette ($9/14), when I saw that it was served with milk braised pork ragu.  It was tossed with chewy strips of radicchio, grilled red onions, and grated grana padano cheese.

The pork was cooked down until it was tender and soothing, the velvety texture offered a savory, rich counterpoint to the firm rounded disks of orecchiette pasta  topped with racy pungent cheese.

Mr. K was intrigued by the Ravioli ($9/15), filled with fava beans, spring pea and goat cheese, swimming in a savory pea brodo and, topped with fine shreds of fresh and fragrant mint.  It was like a bowl of sunshine, brightly flavored and tasting of spring.

Mr. K enjoyed a freshly brewed cup of coffee, which arrived in a charming white cup and saucer, and the individual serving of cream was in a tiny ceramic milk bottle.

And we split the Afogatto, two scoops of resplendently rich chocolate gelato, a shot of espresso poured over and then topped with whipped cream.  It came with a delectable piece of buttery shortbread, flavored with bittersweet chocolate and nibs of coffee bean.  This was very good, the texture of the gelato was sticky/creamy, thick and addictive and I enjoyed dunking it into the rich bitter espresso.

The restaurant is cozy, I noticed a sign indicating a limit of 49 seats inside, and it was swarming with children, which lends a certain amount of background clamor.  We enjoyed the casual and friendly  atmosphere and thought the food was very well prepared and affordable.  I’m glad to have made my way to this lovely restaurant, which is located in a part of Oakland that is very convenient to us from 580.

Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa May 24, 2010 at 10:39 am

A wonderful meal! Mouthwatering dishes!

Cheers,

Rosa

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Single Guy Ben May 24, 2010 at 12:20 pm

“Swarming with children” LOL, that’s probably why I haven’t been there yet! Just kidding (don’t forget I’m the Single Guy). This looks like a cool place and your lighting on the salad did make it look so refreshing. But since that neighborhood is out of the way for me since I don’t have a car, not sure I’ll be going there soon. Looks good for the neighborhood, though.
.-= Single Guy Ben´s last blog ..Local Farmers and Artisans at Chicago’s French Market =-.

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Juliana May 24, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Oh! I better get something to eat soon, everything looks so yummie, haven’t had watercress salad for a while…

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Cookie May 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm

It’s rare when a guy says the salad is his favorite part of the meal so it must be REALLY good!
.-= Cookie´s last blog ..Lost Pizza =-.

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Carolyn Jung May 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Love that little milk bottle. What a cute touch!
I think Incanto may have been one of the first restaurants to use those paper liners on the bottom of wine glasses. I wish more restaurants would go to the trouble to do so, because how many of us can remember what’s what in a flight of wines, right?
.-= Carolyn Jung´s last blog ..Upscale Tuna Noodle Casserole =-.

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grace May 25, 2010 at 4:43 am

what a cute name! the ragu and ravioli both look and sound awesome. tasty stuff, foodhoe!
.-= grace´s last blog ..equal billing =-.

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hungry dog May 26, 2010 at 9:33 am

Sounds great, except for the din of the many children. But the food looks amazing. I want that ravioli, and the orrechiettte, and the afogatto, NOW. Yes, it’s only 8 am but is that so wrong? Nice review as always, foodhoe.
.-= hungry dog´s last blog ..Everything tastes better on vacation =-.

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Bonnibella May 26, 2010 at 1:49 pm

That’s a very pretty name for their children. The affogato almost looks like a milkshake, they don’t skimp on the gelato here.
.-= Bonnibella´s last blog ..Bun Rieu – Vietnamese Crab Rice Noodle Soup Recipe =-.

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foodhoe May 27, 2010 at 3:51 am

rosa, very mouthwatering!
single guy, yeah there was a largish table of girls under the age of 5, dolled up in party dresses, as well as a number of babies who tend to squawk like birds, which all added to the din… It’s such a nice place though and the wine flight helped! Definitely not by public transport, but if you’re ever in the neighborhood, you know where to go!
juliana, me neither, I loved the watercress
cookie, so true! but it had so much character…
carolyn, I’ve only seen the jackets at incanto myself, but loved it, especially when you have a flight otherwise if you move your glasses around, it’s so hard to keep track of what’s what
grace, tasty indeed
hungry dog,lol affogato at 8 am sounds perfect!
bonibella, the name reminds me of yours! yes, two gigantic scoops of that amazing gelato!

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Liz June 9, 2010 at 9:44 am

That Afogatto look like it’d be pretty rich.
.-= Liz´s last blog ..Marketplace Story on Food Bloggers: Helpful or Disruptive? =-.

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