When Ciao Bella rolled out their new Winter menu last month, I had the pleasure of sampling some goodies alongside my blogging buddy + favorite local photographer Sophorn Kuoy (No Rococo, The Memphis Flyer’s Style Sessions). We both have busy schedules and usually just see each other in passing, so I was happy that we were able to take a moment to stop and really play catch up. We caught up about life, goals, and all around fun stuff, so it was just a good, relaxing evening.
There are new dishes across the board, so we were able to taste a small variety of appetizers, entrees and of course, dessert. Sophorn is an ah-mazing photographer, especially when it comes to food, so like any smart person, I let her take the lead and waited (hungrily) for her to get the shots before we dug in.
First up: Fried Green Tomatoes (Green Tomatoes, Shrimp, Basil, Lemon, Remoulade & Louisiana Sauce) + Chicken Santorini (Chicken Breast Slow-Marinated in Greek Yogurt then Breaded, Skewered and Baked).
Fried Green Tomatoes are a southern staple, but topping it with grilled shrimp and serving it with a fresh remoulade (opposed to ranch dressing) elevated the flavors. The Chicken Santorini, though breaded, still tasted light, and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice enhanced it even more.
Next we had the Tuna Mattanza (Seared Sashimi Grade, Tomato Relish, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Pesto, Angel Hair).
This was an unexpected combination for me; the first time I tried seared tuna was last summer, and while it’s an acquired taste I enjoyed it very much. The tuna was seasoned just enough to pull out the flavor, and the pesto sauce on the pasta with artichoke hearts was just pure deliciousness. Had they used a larger pasta it may have been overkill, but the angel hair keeps it light (aka no food coma!).
Next on the menu was the Roasted Garlic + Sausage Pizza (Ground Italian Sausage, Roasted Garlic, Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Olive Oil).
What can I say about pizza that hasn’t already been said? This was full of so much flavor, the crust was flaky, and the roasted peppers and spinach combo was seriously the bomb.com. I usually go for more veggies vs meat on my pizza, but this was the perfect combo (and was FANTASTIC for lunch the next day).
And then… the Pork Ribeye (Grilled 8oz. Boneless Pork Ribeye, Tuscan Green Beans, Portabella Mushroom Risotto). This was the pièce de résistance. The ribeye was soooo tender, and the risotto was hearty, but not heavy at all; the green beans balancing out all the flavors perfectly. What you see above is a half portion, so if you want to try it, definitely split it with a friend. Otherwise, you’re gonna have a food baby when you’re done, lol.
You can’t not have dessert when you go to an Italian restaurant, and their Peanut Butter Silk Pie is so deliciously fluffy and sweet. It’s really creamy and melts in your mouth, with the fresh whipped cream keeping it from being too saccharin. We both paused when took our first bite like woah, lol.
There was also wine involved during our evening (obviously), and while the atmosphere has a nice buzz during its peak times, you still have a feeling of intimacy at your table or booth. The lights are low, but it’s still family friendly. I had a lovely time with Sophorn and can’t wait to do it again.
Ciao Bella Memphis
565 Erin Drive
Memphis, TN 38117
Mon-Thur | 11a-930p
Fri | 11a-1030p
Sat | 5p-1030p
Sun | 5p-930p
All photos by Sophorn Kuoy.