By Pamela Brownstein
Tucked out on St. Helena Island is the Bella Luna Cafe, serving up classic Italian cuisine with a little bit of Southern.
For a starter, Lunch Bunch was served pork shanks with a sweet chili sauce. The meat practically fell off the bone, it was so tender and amazing.
Nikki tried the specialty chopped salad with lettuce, tomato, turkey, salami and mozzarella. All the ingredients are chopped up into small pieces, which she liked, and she said it was very tasty.
Buck had the bison burger, which is not on the menu, but is a special they are serving right now. He topped his burger with mushrooms and Blue cheddar cheese, which none of us had tried before. He let me sample a piece, and the burger was juicy and cooked perfectly, and the cheese was rich and luscious, powerful without overpowering.
I ordered two small pizzas: The Lowcountry, topped with sausage and shrimp, and the White Pizza made with white cheese, basil and red and green tomatoes. Both were excellent (and, since I couldn’t finish both pies, they were just as yummy as leftovers for dinner).
As a delightful surprise at the end, Maria brought out a Chocolate Tart dessert. I had already
started packing up the baby, but I stopped immediately once I saw the beautiful piece of flourless cake made with chocolate ganache and a chocolate crust topped with raspberry sorbet. Even though we felt full from all our delicious food, we all had to try the dessert, and it was sinfully good. The warm, rich chocolate that contrasts with the fresh, cool sorbet, melts in my mouth and creates a flavor sensation that I can still taste days later.
Owner Maria emphasized that if there is something specific a diner desires and it is not on the menu, the restaurant can make it as they are able to accommodate just about any request.
Bella Luna Cafe is located at 859 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena Island. They are open Monday through Saturday, and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information, 843-838-3188.