Casa Bella Trattoria
51 Kings Highway East
Haddonfield, New Jersey 08033
Hours: Open from 10:30 AM to 10:30 PM every day of the week
Meal: Lunch for three, no alcoholic beverages. Bill including tip $33
Haddonfield remains one of the few close in South Jersey communities with a genuine downtown. It’s main street is Kings Highway and you can find enough diversion in shops, antique stores, coffee shops and restaurants to keep you reasonably satisfied for a morning or afternoon. An added appeal is that the town is served by NJ Transit bus as well as the Patco High Speed Line from Philadelphia to Lindenwold. Municipal parking is relative close. The Saturday of our group’s fall visit was a particular sunny one and included a visit to an antique cum consignment store. After the business side was concluded lunch seemed to be in order. The great weather called for al fresco dining and it was a good choice to make.
For those in the “ know” Casa Bella Trattoria is the successor to the previous “ icon” Clemente’s, where your reviewer enjoyed a number of good dining experiences over the years. As all things change it seemed appropriate that the “Casa” would be ready for our close up. We were promptly seated with drink orders taken, two ice teas and one decaf coffee. While there was not a repeat of the old Clemente’s much loved basket of muffins and petit sweet rolls we were served some petit snowflake type rolls with dipping oil. Not one to turn my gaze away from any carbohydrates I sampled two of them and “adapted” instantly. They went well with the decaf which was satisfying without being too strong or too weak. In terms of the menu there is an ample selection of appetizers ranging from La Zuppa Della Nona ( Italian for grandmothers du-jour) at $4 to Zuppa Di Cozze ( Italian for mussels with red or white sauce) at $10. Insalatas aka Salads are about a dozen in number including the Mista Verde or Green Salad for $4 to the Mediterranean for $9 that will get you a spring “ mix” with shrimp, crabmeat, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions with lemon oil.
There are 15 Pasta entree selections from $7 to $14. Examples include Gnocchi Mamma for $9, Polo Pesto for $12 and Shrimp Scampi over Linguine for $14. There are also half a dozen baked specialties that are common priced at $9 including Eggplant, Lasagne and Tortellini Bolognese. Rounding out the choices are Chicken and Veal dishes. You can also opt for Gourmet Personal Pizzas starting at $5 for a plain and a selection of Wraps from $7-$8. Various Panini round out what’s available also ranging from $7-$8; if you go that route you might have Veal Parmigiana, Caprese Panini or a Sliced Flat Iron Cheesesteak.
There was a smattering of specials du jour, and your reviewer opted for a Western Omelette. The other two companions choose a Chicken Parm Panini. After a slightly longer than desirable interlude the meals arrived, all sufficiently hot. The Western, I should have expected, would be with mushrooms and red pepper-neither of them on my hit parade. However it was your reviewers fault for not inquiring when the order was taken. I managed to debit the components that I didn’t care for while enjoying the rest. There were no home fries available in the afternoon so I sampled the fries; they were tasty without too much grease. My companions found their Panini to be good remarking that the chicken was tasty, the red sauce seemed “home made” and the bread fresh. Our server was attentive, and all in all a favorable first impression. Would we return, probably yes and opt to see what dinner is like. Enjoy!
Pop Pop’s Score: 2.5 Chews
Subjective rating: Not outstanding.
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