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Our Story

The Story Of Andrea’s La Bella In Ghent

We’ve been creating delicious food for over 8 years. Our passion for cooking has been lifelong.

From Humble Beginnings

In 2007, a family tradition was carried out by Andrea Di Carlo, combining the warmth of traditional Italian dining experience with signature family recipes from the original Trattoria La Bella Italia in Virginia Beach on Laskin Road. Fresh ingredients and careful preparations aren’t surprising, given that chef-owner Andrea Di Carlo learned from his mother, Anna Alaimo, making fresh pasta with her since he was a young boy.

Chef Andrea was born in the Little Italian section of New York City, Bensonhurst in the borough of Brooklyn. His father, Bernardo Di Carlo, was also a chef and migrated to New York from Palermo, Sicily. His mother migrated from Villabate, Sicily to Brooklyn. Her family were all pastry chefs and bakers. After marrying in Brooklyn they opened Di Carlo Bakery in Bensonhurst making pastries in traditional Sicilian style. Chef Andrea also spend a lot of time in his Uncle’s pastry shop, Villabate Alba, which is the oldest pastry shop in Brooklyn still owned by Italians.

Andrea & Marti DiCarlo posing for a picture inside the restaurant

In 1989 the family moved to Virginia beach where Chef Di Carlo’s Mother opened Sorrento Restaurant on Atlantic Ave. It was there where he really immersed himself in to the art of food. At 13 years young he became head chef of the restaurant. The family later opened Pasta E Pani bakery which became La Bella Italia bakery where the Chef fell in love with the art of making pasta. At 17 the family opened La Bella Italia restaurant at that location.

Chef Andrea’s Mother was very instrumental in teaching him to run a business and develop his philosophy on authentic Sicilian food. He remembers her saying frequently that “the ingredients you start with are gonna determine the finished recipe. So always use the best quality food and never sacrifice for cost.”

Eventually the Pancho Villas of NY restaurant opened next door to the family’s La Bella Italia. During a late night surprise birthday party, Chef Andrea met the owners’ daughter, Marti Chapa, who later became his wife and Mother of his beautiful daughters. She has been his biggest support in life and through the opening of La Bella in Ghent in 2007. She is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and now serves as the General Manager of La Bella in Ghent.

Chef Andrea takes pride his authentic Italian recipes and fresh ingredients. Money is not a driving devotion. His love and passion for great food and dedication to running a family atmosphere at La Bella in Ghent ensures that each and every guest he serves has a great time and understands that they are family.

Locally Sourced & Organic Food

We are constantly buying and helping local businesses and organic farmers, with locally sourced produce.

Topdown view of a margarita pizza on a wood table

Our Love for Food

Attentive service and a warm atmosphere showcase the straightforward traditional made-from-scratch dishes, which include an array of pasta dishes, seafood, veal, freshly baked bread, and homemade desserts. Lunch offers sandwiches and scaled-down versions of select entrees, and vegan and gluten free menus. In addition to these offerings, our menu features a selection of daily specials that include fresh fish and our popular four course dinner menu.

The golden and copper hues of the walls, original painted tapestry style Italian murals, and terracotta floors that come together to complete the rich ambiance make for an attractive dining room with a soundtrack of lush arias.

Whether helping our guests create a unique family meal, arranging a personalized menu for a private party, or selecting the perfect accompaniment from our extensive Italian wine list, our well-trained staff reflects the commitment of the La Bella name to live up to our reputation as Norfolk’s Best Italian Restaurant. We invite you to visit us in Ghent where La Bella will make you want to move just so you can claim this Italian charmer as your neighborhood Italian Bistro.