The Italian Job: Bella Napoli

By & / Photography By Hope Anderson | October 31, 2016
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Paolo Tramontano, owner and chef of Bella Napoli, kneads pizza dough effortlessly.

Paolo Tramontano’s Food is as Italian as He Is

Bella Napoli | 1200 Villa Pl #206

Originally from Naples, Paolo Tramontano first stood in a restaurant kitchen at thirteen, standing on a bucket to wash dishes, an experience that inspired him to master the flavors that coated those plates. He quickly excelled, learning the art of fine Italian cuisine under the tutelage of esteemed chefs up and down the peninsula. Moving to America in the year 2000 in quest of love and adventure—molto Italiano!—Paolo eventually found himself in Nashville.

Now chef and owner of Bella Napoli Pizzeria in Edgehill Village, Tramontano brings to Bella Napoli, or “beautiful Naples,” traditional Italian fare made effortlessly, particularly his authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas. From the freshly-milled flour sourced from the family owned and operated Caputo Mill in Naples to the buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes, nothing but the highest quality ingredients imported from Italy are used.

But Paolo does not create in the kitchen alone. Two other chefs from Italy hustle about the open kitchen as guests watch their rustic pizzas emerge from the hearthstone. While the pizzeria may be known best for its perfect pies, Bella Napoli’s menu boasts classic entrees and pasta dishes also true to their Italian roots such as the savory Penne al la Vodka. Here again, the quality ingredients demand little more than simplicity, but deliver fantastic flavor.

But what is maybe more refreshing then the food, is the family, home-style vibe of the restaurant. And why shouldn’t it be? This is how generations of Italians have eaten every day. It’s common to find Paolo sitting and visiting with patrons, sharing stories of his homeland over a Margherita pizza that he prepared himself. He’ll even tell you how to eat the pizza—folding up a slice to put in your mouth. No knife or fork required. It’s home after all. Bellisimo.

Pizza Margarhita at Bella Napoli
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