The other night my family and I ventured alllllll the way outside the beltline to try Bella Monica’s locally famous gluten-free menu items for the first time. With 4.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp, Bella Monica seemed worth the trek to North Raleigh.
We didn’t realize that we should have made a reservation for a Tuesday night, but apparently they’re pretty tightly booked, even during the week. Luckily, there was a free table in outside seating, so we weren’t turned away.
Not one but two gluten-free menus.
It’s gluten freak heaven!
First up: warm gluten-free foccaia with olive oil and rosemary. The verdict was that you wouldn’t have been able to tell that it was gluten-free (which seems like a good test).
Though I’m not much of a wine drinker, I gave in to the
peer family pressure to share a bottle. Apparently Le Muraie means The Wall- named so because the area where the grapes grow is very steep, so they have to build stone walls to prevent erosion. I’m no wine connoisseur, but no complaints about this one!
I made the fam pose with our wine glasses. I tried to make them feel better by reminding them that I’m not a full-time food blogger, so I don’t have to photograph every single thing I eat. I’m not sure if the reassurance worked..
I split gluten-free stuffed shells and gluten-free ravioli with my sister. She devoured all of hers; I hoarded mine for leftovers. They were kind enough to split both dishes, so we didn’t have to fight tooth-and-nail for exactly half of the meal (clearly we’re very grown-up). My favorite was definitely the ravioli because I liked the pasta to filling ratio (the filling of the stuffed shells was a bit overwhelming for me). The tomato sauce- or “gravy” as they call it- was great for both.
Because it was our first time at Bella Monica, we had to treat ourselves to dessert- creme brulee from the special gluten-free dessert menu for me and my sister (this one we did share from one dish. No physical fights broke out).
At the end of the meal, the owner stopped by to say hello, which was a nice personal touch. I mentioned that one of our old coworkers from The Raleigh Forum knew him, so we had an even more personal connection!
Overall, our experience at Bella Monica was fantastic. Though not cheap, the prices were very decent for high-quality Italian food. The atmosphere was great as well- classy but not stuffy (our waitress was wearing jeans). It would be a perfect date spot, especially if you eat gluten-free (no need to ask the waitress a billion questions about which dishes may or may not contain gluten). Best of all, the dishes reheated very well, which is relatively rare for gluten-free pastas.
We’ll definitely be back for another visit soon!