Last weekend we went along to Bella Italia in Reading to check out the new kids menu and enjoy a family meal out. We hadn’t taken the children to Bella Italia before, and were impressed with the family friendly atmosphere and the fun options that were available. We all enjoyed the meal and will definitely go back again.

trying out the new kids menu at Bella Italia

Here’s how we got on.

We had booked ahead, so we had our table available straight away and there were staff available to take our order as quickly as we needed. While we made up our minds about what to have and waited for our food, there were crayons available for the children to keep busy with some colouring, which is always appreciated.

IMG_0046When looking at the children’s menu, I straight away noticed that it’s not the typical “kids menu” with a couple of bland options but that in addition to multiple special children’s menu options, you can actually order any adult meal and have it scaled down to size for either a young child of 2-6 (piccolo) or an older child of 7-11 years (grande) which gives them so many more options and the chance to branch out a bit.

Since we eat mostly Vegetarian (unless there are halal options) then with typical kids menus that sometimes leaves the children with only one or two things to choose from so this seemed a lot better. Not that my children are very adventurous eaters anyway, so they did go for quite safe and familiar options but I did appreciate that more choice was there and perhaps they will branch out a bit more in future.

Since Z is 6 and a half years old, he decided to go for the 7-11 years grande portion. This was quite generous, and he would really have been fine with the smaller piccolo portion like his younger brothers (5 and 3) but I think he wanted to feel like he was part of the bigger age group! It was good to see the portion sizes though, and the grande seems large enough that it would suit well for up to 11 years as advertised.

Another aspect of the kids menu that stood out were the drinks options, particularly the chance to have colour changing mocktails.

Bella Italia colour changing mocktailsYou get your drink in a cute little milk bottle, along with a separate jug which you add to the drink, and watch the colour transform. This was a real hit with Z (6) and added a bit of fun to the meal!

The younger boys had Robinson’s squash in the special milk bottles, although the funky straws in the menu were not available so they just got a normal straw – but that was not really a big issue.

For the main meals, there are plenty of options available. Not just the typical pizza or pasta that immediately come to mind. The boys did all get pizzas (they love pizza!) but my husband decided to get fish

fish at Bella ItaliaI got calzone legume, with roasted peppers, roasted red onions, mozzarella, goat’s cheese, baby spinach, black olives and red pepper tapenade. It was really nice, but huge!

calzone legume at Bella ItaliaThere is also a section of the menu for items under 600 calories, which could be a great option.

Moving onto dessert, this was definitely a highlight for the kids because there is a special ice cream cart where they can go up and look at all the flavours and make their order, and choose different types of sprinkles to go on top.

IMG_0047This is much more fun for them than just sitting at the table waiting to order ice cream, and the staff serving at the ice cream cart were very friendly and able to engage with the kids well which is always important. Children can choose between having their ice cream in a cone or in a tub. All of ours went for the cone, they find that option much more exciting!

As for the adults options, there’s plenty of choice there too with ice cream sundaes and milkshakes, along with other dessert like cheese cakes and Italian desserts too.

You can also go for the “shot desserts” which are smaller options under 300 cals each.

We decided to go for a Godfather Sundae to share, which was really nice – and huge!

IMG_0026Overall, there were lots of options for all the family. We didn’t find it difficult to find something to suit everyone, and we had a lovely relaxing meal out at Bella Italia.

The atmosphere was very child friendly, both in the menu options and in the way the children were welcomed and treated. There was plenty of space between the tables, which is always important to me. I hate being too close to others and feeling like my kids chit chat could be disturbing others but here we felt very comfortable to relax and take our time.

I’m sure we will be back again for more family meals at Bella Italia and would happily recommend it to other families.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity