Bellini Italian Restaurant & Bar reopened Dec. 19 after a soft opening last night in its new location — the former space of Chardonnay Restaurant, a popular French dining spot that closed more than a decade ago next to Best Western Naples Inn & Suites on U.S. 41. Because of a pending redevelopment project, Bellini closed its longtime location on Fifth Avenue South at the end of July ahead of the demolition of a downtown Naples strip that also included Paddy Murphy’s Irish Pub and Citrus Seafood Restaurant.
The dark interior of the former Chardonnay has been brightened up for Bellini, said Mike Melucci, who co-owns the local restaurant with Eric Tomasko.
“It was a fabulous start,” Melucci said. “We changed all the sconces, the floor, the paint. It’s beautiful now.”
Although tweaked a bit, the menu is basically the same, as is the kitchen staff and many of the other employees, all of whom wear face masks as part of the restaurant’s safety protocol, Melucci said.
Bellini’s menu still features Italian favorites such as Braciole Bellini (beef braciole rolled and layered with pancetta and fresh mozzarella topped with tomato sauce and served with Parmesan risotto), Ossobuco di Maiale Milanese (Berkshire pork shank braised in fresh tomato sauce, chardonnay wine and Italian herbs served on Parmigiano mashed potatoes) and Ravioli di Spinaci (ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta cheese sauteed in pomodoro sauce with fresh basil). Also, expect daily specials such as lobster ravioli, Chilean sea bass sauteed in white wine, and veal osso buco served over saffron rice.
Lunch service is expected to be launched next month after the holidays, a gluten-free menu is coming soon and a poolside tiki bar outside the restaurant’s octagon dining room eventually will be used. A valet parking service is offered at least four days a week, Melucci said.
Bellini, 2331 Tamiami Trail N., is open 5 to 10 p.m. dailyfor dinner. For more information call 239-261-1117.
This story was originally shared on GulfshoreBusiness.com