Sunday, June 5, 2011


From left:  Guy, Chef Sami, Darian
We liked Chef Sami Ben Selma when he was at La Fontana.  When La Fontana closed because of a fire, we followed Chef Sami to Sea Glass Bakery, where he opened an evening dinner service.  Then Pia's restaurant closed and she was looking for a buyer.  I put the two together, and Sami realized his dream of opening his own restaurant.

Bella Cucina is located in the old Pia's Restaurant on Trent Road.  He's open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.  Chef Sami, who is classically trained, hails from Milan, Italy, where he learned to make the cream sauces Milan is known for.  He also spent time in Sicily learning to make their red sauce.  After spending several years around the world cheffing for hotel restaurants, Chef Sami went to New York and then came to New Bern.

Recently, we ate at Bella Cucina with our friends, Darian and Bob.  As always, we had an enjoyable meal.
From left:  Guy, Darian, Bob and Judy

All of Sami's entrees come with a tossed salad and his wonderful warm homemade rolls.

My favorite entree at Sami's is L'Amica Del Texas (angel hair pasta with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, chicken and shrimp in a homemade blush pink sauce).  But I decided to just get a salad with grilled chicken.

Guy got the special which was a luscious mixture of artichokes, mussels and shrimp in a tomato-wine sauce.

Darian and Bob got Chicken Sorrento (chicken breast sauteed with mushrooms, artichokes and cherry tomatoes in butter-wine sauce with angel hair pasta).  

Needless to say, there's just never any room for dessert.  If you're thinking of going to Bella Cucina, reservations are a good idea.  The dining room always seems to be packed lately.

Bella Cucina, 252-636-006, 2909 Trent Road, New Bern.


  1. My husband and I went to Bella Cucina tonight for dinner. The pasta was overcooked, and the sauce was obviously from a McCormick-type "just add water" packet. The bread served with the salad was over proofed, which makes the bread tasteless. The balsamic vinaigrette with the salad was just straight balsamic vinegar! We decided that perhaps it was just an off night, and ordered dessert. Much to our dismay, the lemon cream cake was obviously from a box, not from scratch. I'm not sure how you can rate Chef Sami so high when he doesn't make his food from scratch. How can an Italian restaurant overcook pasta? The server acted like she didn't care when I complained. We will certainly never go back.

  2. Anonymous, I have to agree with you. We haven't been going there lately because the quality seems to have taken a nose dive. I can't figure out why so many people are still going. His food prices are high enough that we should all be expecting top quality.


When you leave me a comment, I feel all warm and fuzzy, like someone out there is really listening.