This review took place in August 2019 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
In a side pocket of Sukhumvit 31—a hip neighborhood filled with bakeries and international restaurants—lies this small pizzeria, camouflaged by a shabby exterior and practically hidden from passersby. But Bella Napoli quickly opens into something else entirely. A big crowd swells through the restaurant’s two dining halls, and the interior stretches far to the back. The atmosphere is of a cozy and no-frills Italian trattoria; heavy oak, low ceilings and tawdry red brick walls, with rustic decor and red floral tablecloths. Here, guests clamor for the liveliest spot in the house—the tables in front of the wood-fired oven that’s been spilling thin, crisp Neapolitan-style pizza since 2002. The menu is made up of Italian staples; nothing particularly innovative, save perhaps the Venice pizza (B420) with centerpiece thin parma ham slices dangling off an arched bread stick—to mimic a bridge. It’s quite a dramatic look, for a pizza and the sauce is great. The gorgonzola with apple and mozzarella (B240), too, is excellent; with bits of funky blue cheese and a hint of sweetness from the baked fruit. All the pastas come in clay pots, which are sealed with flatbread and baked in the oven right before serving. When you fork through the baked dough, a harmonious scent of garlic, fresh herbs and cheese fills your nose. Don’t pass up the bolognese (B210) and tenderloin ragu (B250)—both present simplicity with well-rounded flavors. For a meatier dish, the Cotoletta Milanese (B430), a breaded beef cutlet, is crisp and delightful with meat pounded incredibly thin and an even coat of fine breadcrumbs. To complete the meal, the restaurant’s signature tiramisu (B130) is beyond comforting, with layers of luscious smooth mascarpone cream, and coffee soaked ladyfingers. The drinks list is relatively short, but very affordable. A glass of house red or white can be had from B140. Other spirits and aperitivi run about the same. Beers start at only B90 for a small bottle. In sum: dining here feels exclusive, yet comfortable and warm thanks to the intimate space and classic Italian food. And despite its easy-going atmosphere, it comes with a white tablecloth-service and waitresses dressed neatly in black. It’s a great hangout spot, either for catching up with friends, or enjoying a traditional trattoria-style meal.