Albany >Food & Dining > Nizza La Bella
827 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA | Directions 9470637.890938 -122.298999
Contrary to the Web site, has been closing at 9pm on weeknights. Best to call to confirm hours. / 11-4 Wed.-Sun. Sun-Thurs 5:30pm-9:00 pm Fri-Sat 5:30pm
Not exactly what we expected – Nizza was recommended soon after it opened, but we ended up going only recently. Although I'd been told it is more french bistro, they focus a lot of attention on pizza -- apropo, I suppose, of the Italian namesake. So, I really expected a more "bistro" menu, and was somewhat taken aback as I just wasn't in the mood for pizza at all, and it was so prominent on the menu. We all thought the food was basically pretty good, not outstanding, but good enough value for the price. The steak frites is a a nice piece of meat, and crispy, not to thin/not too thick frites. The pizza is good, too. I agree that the drinks are outstanding and very carefully mixed, and if I lived in the neighborhood, the full bar is a welcome alternative to the nearby Ivy room and the Mallard bar. During our 1 visit, some guy kept lingering around our booth (the owner?) and three obnoxious women who clearly knew him, were making an unpleasant ruckus, loud and rude, yelling into cell phones and at each other in the booth behind us, and the lingerer/owner guy didn't ask them to tone it down. The entire experience was rather strange and uncomfortable, however, the place is very nicely decorated and has a pleasant, cozy feel (if there aren't a bunch of loud ladies next to you and some strange guy standing there). Maybe it was an off night; maybe I should give it another try, but honestly, unless I want to cozy up to the bar, as one reviewer suggested for drinks and perhaps a beignet (what a lovely thing to have on the menu!!!), I don't think I'll be going back again. Unless I see some up to date reviews that convince me otherwise.
A fine cocktail – It's hard to find a good cocktail in the neighborhood. Most bartenders won't take the time to make a sidecar correctly while they've got folks lined up to gulp gin and tonics. I've been going to Nizza la Bella regularly for about 3 months since I discovered that these bartenders really have what it takes. I'm talking serious muddling, flaming twists, and consistent classics. I know, this is a restaurant and I'm reviewing the drinks, but just go, sit at the bar, get some bignets and a perfect manhattan and enjoy the show.
Glad I finally tried this place! – I'd be driving past Nizza La Bella for a couple of years, and always wondered what the place was like. I'm glad I finally got a group together and went.
The restaurant is small and cozy. Wonderful smells come out of the kithen. The bar is inviting.
I've had two of their "bifteck" items -- both were delicious and came with a huge serving of their wonderful "frites." The French onion soup is out of this world -- sweet yet savory, with large bits of onions, bread, and cheese melted over the top.
For dessert, the chocolate mousse is decadent and lovely. The coffees (I enjoyed a large bowl of Café Mocha) are a nice dessert alternative.
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