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On Food: Bello by Sandro Nardone serves ‘modern dishes like they are made in Italy’

Bello by Sandro Nardone
The new Italian restaurant, Bello by Sandro Nardone, in Newport Beach begins to fill up for dinner.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

A new Italian restaurant by the creator of Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana in Dana Point is now open for dinner in Newport Beach.

Chef Sandro Nardone, who came to the U.S. in 2012, stresses that popular Italian American dishes (think chicken parmesan or spaghetti and meatballs) will not be found at Bello by Sandro Nardone, a 4,300-square-foot space that seats 140.

“The idea behind modern Italian food is to take the classic Italian sensibilities of utilizing great seasonal ingredients and focusing on simplicity, and using them to create new dishes,” Sandro said in a statement. “In presenting modern dishes like they are made in Italy, we bring a true sense of authenticity to Italian dining in Orange County.”

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Bello by Sandro Nardone
Burrata with trout roe and fennel at Bello by Sandro Nardone in Newport Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

During a media preview, I got a chance to try some of Nardone’s and chef de cuisine Frank DeLoach’s creations. I can heartily recommend the lingua (veal tongue, shallot, parsley and lemon) and the norcina (a rigatoncini pasta with pork sausage, porcini mushrooms and black truffle).

Bello by Sandro Nardone
Seafood tagliolini at Bello by Sandro Nardone in Newport Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Nardone and DeLoach also managed to make the impossible happen: avocado as a dessert. They whipped the avocado, adding some strawberry and garbanzo beans to make it a creamy delight.

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Bello also offers seasonal craft cocktails with Italian twists and a large lineup of Italian wines, particularly those from the country’s small wineries.

Bello by Sandro Nardone
Head bartender Lorenzo Ricchi, left, makes a drink at Bello by Sandro Nardone in Newport Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

In Atina, Italy, where Nardone grew up, his family ran a chain of restaurants, making charcuterie from their own pigs and olive oil from their own olive trees.

Nardone’s aunt was reputed to make the best scamorza cheese in all of Italy. Pope John Paul II loved it, too.

Bello by Sandro Nardone
Chef and owner Sandro Nardone, left, and chef de cuisine Frank DeLoach chat in the kitchen at Bello by Sandro Nardone in Newport Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

DeLoach, who was trained in Italy, has also worked at the Playground in Santa Ana, the Early Bird in Fullerton and Tavern on 2 in Long Beach. He has appeared on “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri.

Bello will be adding lunch and brunch in the coming weeks.

IF YOU GO

What: Bello by Sandro Nardone

Where: 1200 Bison Ave., Newport Beach

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When: Sundays through Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Information: (949) 520-7191; bellobysandronardone.com

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