The Desserts are Worth the Drive to Bella Luna Café

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 27, 2010

If you’re headed out to the islands or in the mood for a short drive to St. Helena, do yourself a favor and stop by Bella Luna Café, 859 Sea Island Parkway in front of the Frogmore Inn. It’s Little Italy in the Lowcountry.

Owned by Maria Jackson, Bella Luna offers authentic Italian cuisine with original flair.  And if you’re hungry, you’ve come to the right place.

Elizabeth and I were a bit late this week. I had to pick her up after she was told her transmission needed to be replaced. Uh-oh. We then headed to EC Montessori to pick up my youngest, Julia. Granny was at Fripp for the week visiting with college friends, so Mommy was on Julia duty (and it was fun)! Julia got to join the Lunch Bunch!

Julia Pollitzer with her Shirley Temple

We arrived, and to our surprise and pleasure, the girls had already ordered appetizers: the stuffed garlic cheese bread with roasted red peppers, sausage and mozzarella and the fried calamari-jumbo rings with an incredible diabolo sauce. The Lunch Bunch and Julia loved both of these!

Elizabeth and Kim ordered the Veal Scaloppini over risotto to share. They really enjoyed this dish! It was creamy and sweet. The Marsala wine reduction and fresh rosemary complimented the entrée perfectly.

Christina and April both ordered the Chicken Parmesan Salad with a sun dried tomato vinaigrette dressing. They were equally impressed with the special, and wanted more!

Heather got the Meatball grinder and only ate half. It was huge! She later said she couldn’t even eat it the rest for dinner. If you’re going in Bella Luna with a large appetite, definitely order the grinder!

My baby Julia (not really a baby, now 5) ordered the spaghetti and meatballs of course! And she ate every bit of those balls of beef. There is just something magical about the meatball when you’re a kid, isn’t there?

I had the other special, fried local oysters with a remoulade dipping sauce over a bed of greens.  I could really taste the saltiness of the oysters. They were surely from around here, and I loved them! And they gave me over a dozen!

Not only are the oysters local at Bella Luna, but most of the vegetables and herbs are as well. Most all of Maria’s ingredients come from St. Helena. It’s better quality than the imported stuff, I’ll tell you that! And all of her dressings are home made, giving the menu an added bit of panache.

Okay, so you probably know by now that the Lunch Bunch loves our desserts! And April especially appreciates a sweet ending to a fabulous meal. But we weren’t expecting this!

Maria brought out a sampler of all her desserts and placed them in the middle of the table for all of us to share. We were treated to a Belgian Mousse Torte, an Amaretto Crème Cake (similar to tira misu, but with amaretto and toasted almonds), Chocolate and Vanilla Cannolis, a Torte della Nona (Grandmother Cake with a sugar crust and lemon custard topped with powdered sugar, almonds and pine nuts) and an Exotic Bomba (passion fruit, mango and raspberry sorbet covered in white chocolate).

Not a word was spoken at the table for 5 minutes! Take a look at the photo, and you’ll see why we were drooling! I think Julia picked the right Lunch Bunch to attend!

Thank you Maria for a divine lunch, a casual atmosphere and great service! Bella Luna is a new favorite of mine and well worth the short drive!

About Wendy

Wendy Pollitzer is a versatile writer living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

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"I love Wendy Pollitzer’s writing. Her instincts are remarkable, her nose for truth infallible. I can’t pick up a journal or magazine that she’s written for without going straight to the table of contents in search of her piece. What I think is so interesting about her work is that she really believes in what she’s doing, in getting it right. She’s very, very good. "— Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides, South of Broad) 1945-2016