Photos and Words by Liv Footer
While making my reservation for dinner at Bella Luna, I had many of my own reservations. For years, the Hyde Square location in Jamaica Plain, which included the restaurant, bowling alley, and lounge, was one of my favorite weekend destinations. I was not alone—the combination of great food at Bella Luna and bowling downstairs at the Milky Way Lounge attracted a large following of Bostonians. In 2008, Bella Luna moved to Amory Street near Egleston Square, and left behind the Milky Way Lounge and its beloved lanes. Bella Luna’s new neighborhood simply cannot compete with its previous downtown JP location. There’s much charm, however, in its new spot within the Brewery Complex, which lends rustic brick walls and high ceilings– both elements of the old restaurant. Adding to the charm are Bella Luna’s signature star lanterns, which give it a hip and eclectic décor.
Bella Luna’s stellar comfort food seems to hit the spot every time. If you’re craving large portions of your old favorites with creative twists, Chef Justin Hackett is cooking up just what you want. With a selection of more than 10 gourmet pizzas, there’s a pie for the classic cheese purist to the more adventurous spirit, and everyone in between. Other favorites include the Butternut Squash Ravioli, Grilled Stuffed Avocado, and the Lobster Mac & Cheese.
Arguably the highlight of Bella Luna’s menu are the appetizers. Boasting the World’s Best Calamari, one bite of these perfectly fried and slightly spicy chipotle aioli-tossed rings will make you believe it. If bar food is what you’re after, the Wings of Desire are a must. For the vegetarian crowd, there are many delicious options including a vegan ceviche.
I ordered the Salmon Nicoise Salad and the Lover’s Lane pizza with garlic oil, arugula, goat cheese, tomato and red onion and a side of sweet potato fries. I was in heaven with my choices. The three complimented each other nicely. The salmon was perfectly cooked. Having had overcooked salmon in salad numerous times at other restaurants, I was pleasantly surprised. The freshly made pizza crust was airy and light, providing a nice base for the generous amounts of goat cheese and tomatoes tossed on top. The sweet potato fries were gone within minutes as the duo of crunch and sweetness made them satisfying to eat in handfuls.
The menu also includes a large array of cocktails, “Milky Way Signatures” and microbrews and craft beers. With its proximity to the Sam Adams brewery, the bar has five Sam Adams brews on tap. The U-shaped bar has substantial seating, making it an ideal location for game day or a late night out.
As I made my way to the door a band was setting up to perform. Bella Luna hosts events Monday through Saturday with Monday nights reserved for trivia and Saturday nights for salsa dancing with live music.
Bella Luna may not have the dual attraction it once had but it certainly has made up for it with the massive menu of superb food and spacious, cozy interior. It is worth the trek to find this cosmic spot where you can indulge in some great eats with friends while in a fun and lively atmosphere.
Essential Info: 284 Amory Street Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 617-524-3740
Open 7 nights per week