FoodView – Ciao Bella Ristorante

Ciao Bella Ristorante
By Steve Perry

At 14 years old, Chau Van Ngyuen, took a job as a dishwasher at Carmen Sabatino’s, Mediterranean Market and Grill. It gave him exposure to a new world of cooking, and in time, became a chef there and ultimately opened a few places.

Eight years ago, he brought those basic flavors, now with a flair of his own, to Century Center and began, “spoiling” the residents of Eastridge, Lincoln Estates, Wycliffe and Copper Creek. The place was always packed and the response was great, finding new neighborhood fans as well as those he brought with him.

The food and flavors are based in Italian cuisine but not limited to it. Three months ago, after struggling to get everyone in, he decided to expand and in the new bonus footage is a large bunket for seating and a full bar. Updated and modern he is now open for business.

When asked about the effects of COVID on business, Chau, shared that when they figured out how to do large scale to go, they embraced the concept and never looked back allowing them to continually operate through the pandemic. Labor was challenging so he recruited family to help, especially Pam Thi, who loves working with Chau so much, she quit her day job. Pam continues in the remodeled space as the front of house manager.

Chau prepared a grilled filet skewer salad, which is hearty and humble as the meat is well seasoned and the grilling provides all the smoke and char that you would expect, a lean and satisfying dish. The bacon wrapped day boat scallops, perfectly prepared with a shmear of rosetta sauce is a beautiful appetizer. If you like a rack of lamb, again a visit to the grill for a perfect preparation topped with a cabernet sauce, also delicious. A house specialty is the stuffed calamari, which is a calamari steak, rolled and stuffed with mozzarella, shrimp and crab, lightly fried and rosetta sauce. Finally he prepared a filet of halibut accompanied by not one, but two very large jumbo prawns, this item appears regularly on the menu, however, the sauces will change at Chef’s discretion

Full bar? Yes, we mentioned that. Creativity at the bar also abounds. Vanessa Zavala prepared a Ciao Bella Old Fashioned hitting all the high notes of the traditional with a sprig of rosemary. Then a raspberry thyme infused gimlet, where the color in the drink comes from the shaking and the berries themselves. She also offered a Ginger Collins, Lavender Li Chi Nut fizz and the most beautiful drink, the Musketto Spritz, where Moscato is the main ingredient.

Hours are, Monday through Saturday 5 pm to 10 pm
2401 E. Orangeburg Ave. Ste 320

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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.