A great dining experience. Great food at a very reasonable price.
Cons: Cash only
A great dining experience. Great food at a very reasonable price.
I love Bela! Great variety and an ever changing menu. Most items can be made gluten free as well without losing quality or flavor. Hearty meals and very reasonably priced.
Something new every day! Interesting combinations of spices and ingredients. Price is very reasonable. Atmosphere perfect!
Always fresh food and generous size portions. It's a must try when you're in town visiting.
I don't think I have had food this good as a vegan or as a omnivore. Ate here with my husband and son and had a HUGE variety of options to choose from. I am a really good cook, and wish I could cook have as good as Bela's chef. Normally I have been finding sandwiches or the occasional pasta. Here there was a mouth-watering extensive list of specials on the wall, and then the regular menu! All three meals were outstanding. The chocolate almond coconut pie was incredible.
Bela has a really adorable atmosphere and feels like sitting in someone's lived in dining room. The food was delicious - I had a special tempeh and zucchini with black bean sauce. The coconut almond chocolate pie (vegan) was amazing. I'm really impressed that most of (if not all) of the food is locally sourced and that the desserts are all made in house. There aren't a TON of options, but I'd rather have solid staples and creative specials that use in season food than a huge range of dishes that aren't made well or with quality ingredients. If I were to get really picky, service was a tiny bit slow, but done very nicely and we got water refills and were checked on! Only complaints would be convenience - it's cash only and any substitutions come with a fee (which is donated to charity). Also, everything is clearly labeled for people with allergies, gluten-free, or vegan!
My partner and I visit Northampton few times a year. Been meaning to check out this place but for some reason they were always closed when we were in town. Last evening we finally caught them open so we went right in and managed to grab ourselves the last free table.
The menu was basic but nutritionally comprehensive. For entrees you can choose to have some kind of veggie burgers or a plate of protein (tofu/tempeh/seitan) with greens tossed with your selection of sauce and plain rice (brown/white) on the side. I got one of the specials - tempeh and kale with a Mediterranean glaze, which was truly delicious. I don't know how they prepared the kale but it was the tastiest bunch I have ever had! The sauce was just amazing, thanks to the staffer who suggested I should get this as opposed to the Chinese hoisin-plum glaze. My partner ordered the Harvest Burger off the regular menu. It was a thick, hearty patty, crispy on the outside but totally bland, mushy on the inside and had no seasoning whatsoever, which was disappointingly inconsistent given how flavorful my dish was. The bread and the roasted potatoes on the side were decent though. To round off our meal we shared a piece of homemade apple walnut cake drizzled with caramel sauce topped with vegan whipped cream. Just the right amount of sweetness, great texture, perfect! We "grilled" the staffer quite a bit before picking this one as all the desserts were vegan and we just didn't know which one to get :)
It's not a big place but the setting is really cute and cozy. Service was nothing short of friendly and cordial. Ordering was a breeze because everything was clearly marked according to dietary restrictions, plus the staff was also very forthcoming with recommendations and suggestions. My only pet peeve was that the room felt a little stuffy and needed to be better ventilated.
We've been there three times with hopes that each time would be better. However, the veggie protein had a stale '70's taste that one always remembers (Veggie from '75-'06. Vegan now). The third visit was to get some take-out food, which they declined to do. The waitress would have gotten a nice tip. Now, we don't got there anymore.
Updated from previous review on Wednesday July 20, 2011
I go to Bela when I want a good, healthy, tasty, spicy, satisfying meal to my liking. Their stirfries are cretainly the specialty in my opinion. Although their menu and specials may not seem to be anything special the cook knows exactly how to work a stirfry with perfect-tasting finishing sauces that I cannot replicate at home. Sometimes even if the specials look good I order the regular stirfry on the menu because it is so wholesome and delicios. I have several friends who do the same, though the specials are always good and the burgers on the menu are always well-liked.
All specials are well-marked as to ingredients and level of spice, and staff are always very friendly and kowledgeable. However, you cannot expect to substitue anything on the menu unless you offer a donation to the charity of the month that is indicated on the board.
The desserts are always all vegan, and although I have only had dessert once to attest to its deliciousness, people always rave about them. The lunch portions are cheaper if you arrive before a certain time.
Bela offers very good, from-scratch cooking at a fair price. The seating is limited and can be crowded at times, but the ambiance is enjoyable.
Bela's basic menu doesn't change much. Nothing is wildly imaginative or gourmet. But, what they do they do well. Plenty of vegan options and the menu is clearly marked as to dietary content. It would be nice if they changed up their menu from time to time.
This a small restaurant and it can be quite crowded during prime dining nights and times. Cash only. Menu items are sometimes sold out, so have a back up selection picked out. Staff is always friendly and helpful.
Desserts here sound good but i've never had one. The portions are generous and I never have room for dessert. Even my non-veg family likes going to Bela.
Bela is a tasty but sometimes frustrating dining option. They serve a number of menu items that are tough to find elsewhere in the area, but as others have said, tend to have to 86 numerous menu items if you don't arrive early. Most of the menu items are starchy or salty, with not much in the way of spice, and the basic menu can be repetitious, though the ecclectic specials sometimes are really interesting or unusual. Food is always very fresh, and portions are quite generous. Numerous vegan or 'can be prepped vegan' options. Service is friendly is occasionally a little erratic. Big downsides are very limited hours, including sometimes closing before posted times (which are not all that late to begin with), closing shop for a week or two at a time for occasional vacations, and cash-only payment, the main barrier to entry for us when we don't want to make a separate ATM trip just to eat there only to arrive and find they've stopped serving half an hour early. That said, it's a fine option for mid-range (entrees are reasonably priced, but a la carte items like soups and desserts and bevvies can pad the bill pretty quickly there) sit-down dining as long as you've got a back-up option and a couple of 20s at the ready, particularly if you've got a vegan or two along.
Bela is a nice, quaint place. They have a lot of vegan options, although their menu is in need of an update. It's been pretty much the same for a long while now, and if you're a returning customer you're faced with repetition. The tofu/veggie stir fry is the usual over salted, 'we need to satisfy the vegans' fare, with not a lot of imagination. The seitan is VERY salty, so beware. But these are just personal tastes, and not the biggest problem. Here is the biggest problem with Bela--they constantly run out of things. It's to the point now where we just don't suggest anyone go there because we know they will not have many choices. Here's an idea, Bela--ORDER MORE FOOD!
Prices are reasonable, service is good, but there's another problem--their hours are impossible. They claim to stop serving at 8:45 or so (?! Hello????), but if you get there at 8:25 you may or may not be served...this is seemingly dependent upon the mood of the cook, the moon, the stars, what they've run out of--it's pretty annoying.
So, if you get lucky and they have what you want, and you can be there by around 6pm, all may work out just fine. Good luck!
Nice little place but the food was disappointing. Big chunks of veges on the plate and not very tasty.
Bela is an awesome little spot. Its set back away from all hustle and bustle its a quaint with its kind of old style diner atmosphere. I had a veggie patty and miso with sprouted whole grain bread, both were delicious and the prices are very reasonable.
Bela is a terrific spot. They do have a way with greens and tempeh - so much so that the first time I went there I swapped my pasta meal with my husband for his collards and tempeh dish because the flavors just popped.
Soups and dessert are also yummy and I've found the staff to be friendly and helpful.
Happy, healthy eating.
I love Bela's. This place prepares greens (collard greens, kale, etc.) in the most delicious ways imaginable. I almost always order something from the specials board when I go. It's very easy to determine what is vegan vs. vegetarian, and everything is fantastic. The waitresses are always super nice, too. Bela's is a great, tiny little place with a lot of character. You can tell that it is a labor of love.
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Last updated: 2009/11/16
Added by: Guest