Though it is about to celebrate its one year anniversary, I hadn’t known about Norabella’s existence until just recently. With just eight tables in a cozy, yet uncrowded space, it is no wonder the chef/owner at this Italian eatery feels no need to advertise. Word of mouth seems to do the trick, especially when diners are given no reason to spread anything other than glowing reviews amongst family and friends.
While the menu is not extensive, it is certainly much larger than I would expect from such a tiny establishment. In fact, with three entree specials in addition to their regular offerings, all three diners in my party had trouble deciding. In the end, we settled on a spinach and mushroom vegetarian lasagna, a double cut pork chop with pancetta and mushrooms and caramelized onions demi glaze, and on the waitress’s strong (and accurate) rave review of the chicken marsala, I opted for this special dish of the evening. For appetizers, we shared another special – calamari soup as well as Melanzana all griglia – grilled eggplant with spinach, roasted tomatoes, basil and smoked mozzarella. Everything was outstanding, particularly, in my opinion the specials – clearly the chef utilizes the freshest ingredients he can find in all his cooking, but the specials really stood out and exemplified his use of creating distinctive, flavorful dishes based on these fresh, seasonal ingredients. Unfortunately we left no room for dessert, but were almost tempted by a unique variation on traditional canolis – these made with pistachios, candied orange, and chocolate chunks.
While I can’t speak highly enough about the exceptional food at Norabella, the service almost outshined the meal. Our waitress was extremely personable without being intrusive. She knew the menu inside out and was happy to offer ordering advice and recommendations when requested.
Situated right on route 28 along a less than scenic strip, this inviting eatery is truly an unexpected gem. Reservations are accepted (508) 398-6672. Open year round starting at 4:30 pm. Closed Mondays. Wine dinners are held monthly.