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Bella Luna Bistro and Bar is a fairly new, and very welcome to the dining scene in downtown Merced.  The restaurant is very comfortable, intimate, and caters to "millenniums" and older "foodies" who appreciate fine Italian cuisine in a restaurant with a "Cheers" atmosphere.  Fear not, if Italian cuisine isn't your "thing," you won't be disappointed, as the menu features a variety of burgers, and other "comfort food," familiar to the taste of every Mercedian.

Photo:  Bella Luna Bistro & Bar is located on Main Street, in Merced's vibrant entertainment and dining district. Bella Luna not only offers a restaurant, that specializes in authentic Italian cuisine, but also offers a full-service bar, a banquet room, and a catering truck, which offers fine food for any occasion.

Photo:  As you enter the restaurant, you're greeted with a very cozy, and comfortable main dining room.  It's early Tuesday evening, April 19, 2016, and we're ready to enjoy... pizza!  The restaurant features a full-service bar and a banquet room, which is used for special events, or when the restaurant is really busy, for overflow dining.

Photo:  The main dining room is long and narrow, as we're looking from our table to the front of the restaurant, as shown in the previous photo.  The atmosphere is quite "intimate," which made taking photos by existing light a little challenging, but unlike other restaurants, there was ample light to read the menu.

Photo:  We placed identical orders; pizza and a half dinner salad each.  Our charming and friendly hostess, Evelyn, brings our half dinner salads to our table with a smile.  Evelyn was very friendly, efficient, and made for the perfect representative of this fine restaurant.  We enjoyed her service and her company.

Photo:  Our half "House" salads, along with a basked of house-baked rolls and butter, arrived almost immediately after we placed our orders, and served as appetizers until our pizzas arrived, about 15 minutes later.  The salad was fresh and delicious, and arrived with a very attractive presentation, as shown in the photo.  I ordered Ranch dressing, as I was pleasantly surprised, as there was enough dressing to enhance the crisp vegetables, but not enough to overpower them.  Bella Luna Bistro knows the prefect mix of dressing and vegetables, and how to present a delicious salad.

The rolls are baked in-house, and are slightly sweet, fresh, and delicious.  Each roll comes with a small package of real butter, which enhances the delicious rolls.  Actually, I could make a meal on rolls and salad... but I love pizza!

Photo:  About 15 minutes after our rolls and salad arrived, our pizzas arrived, with great timing.  Note the pizza knives included with  each pie, which makes a great presentation, and a nice touch.  Although each pie was sliced, the knives came in handy during the meal for obvious reasons.

Photo:  Between the four of us, from the "Bella Pizzas" section of the menu, we ordered identical "Rustic Italiano" pizzas, which sounded good, after a hard day of enjoying the wonders of Yosemite National Park.  According to the menu, "Rustic Italian" pizza includes house made sausage, Pepperoni, roasted peppers, red onion, mushrooms, lives and mozzarella cheese.  The pizza arrives fresh and hot from the Marcel brick oven, baked perfectly.  Our friendly hostess, Evelyn, told us the recipes Bella Luna Bistro uses originate from New York, where they know how to make a perfect Italian-style pizza.

Photo:  One slice of the pie; as you can see, the pizza is cooked to perfection.  Between the four of us, we spit two identical pizzas, which worked out to be the right amount of pizza.

Photo:  Tonight's "pizza lovers," from left to right... Margi, Sharlene, Eric and Michael... we all share the surname of Rench, as we're family.

Bella Luna Bistro, is an authentic, gourmet restaurant, from every angle, from the fresh-baked rolls to the Italian Hearth oven, which produces delicious, authentic Italian-style pizza.  The decor is intimate, the service is superior, and the food is delicious.  Bella Luna Bistro is a welcome addition to the dining scene in downtown Merced.

Bella Luna Bistro & Bar
340 W. Main St.
Merced, CA 95340
209 383-1700

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