Recently Reviewed 

Akida, Cafe Bella

Akida's fish is delivered daily from Maryland except for the yellowtail, which is flown in from Japan. Akida's sushi doesn't taste the least bit fishy and the sashimi (fish sans rice) has enjoyable shades of texture and flavor.

The spider roll (soft-shell crab rolled in seaweed and rice, $5.95), Manhattan roll (eel on top with shrimp tempura and flying fish roe inside), and the yellowtail ($2.50) and tuna ($2.50) sashimi were excellent. Take advantage of the combos ($8.95 - $25) for the best value.

I never failed to pause and admire the precise cuts and flourishes of color on the plates. Akida is a comfortable, no-nonsense restaurant that eschews glitz, opting instead to deliver delicate food and exemplary service. — Randall Stamper9039-3 W. Broad St.

Richmond, VA 23294


Lunch: Monday - Friday 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Dinner: Monday - Thursday 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.,

Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. - 11 p.m., Closed

SundayCafe Bella ($$)

The new owners of Café Bella have tried to revamp the image of its predecessor, Belle B, but some of Belle B's problems linger. Cafe Bella has a Sisyphean task ahead — it's already on its second cook.

Given our fondness for the uncommon, we were drawn to the mahi-mahi, crab, duck, snails, lamb shank and an interesting concoction of goat cheese and artichokes called "artichoke pie," the only standout in our 12-dish feast.

Other than the artichoke pie ($14), an inventive layering of roasted red peppers, goat cheese, spinach and herbed ricotta in a homemade pastry crust, our entrees failed to inspire. The braised lamb shank over white beans was cooked to exhaustion and the roasted half duck ($16) was crispy, rubbery and accompanied with cinnamoned carrots instead of the advertised fennel (a selling point).

An equally disappointing array of desserts ($3-$5) closed out our meal.

Still, some of the side dishes promise a brighter future. If the management will allow the chef latitude to move in a direction well known to him — that is, New Orleans-inspired Cajun — and 86 the potato salad, Cafe Bella should have potential.

— Gideon K. Pollach and Patrick Getlein1223 Bellevue Ave.


Monday - Saturday dinner 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; bar munchies Friday Saturday from 10 p.m.-11 p.m., bar open until 11:30 p.m.


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