Sorella’s Reviewed by Morning Call: “At Sorella’s Pizza & Pasta in Bethlehem, you’re like family”

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Written By: Caroline Saucer 
Special to The Morning Call
Bottom line: If authentic Italian food is your thing, Sorella’s will make you feel right at home. Dinner for two was $43.19.

Sorella’s Pizza and Pasta is located at 3650 Nazareth Pike in Bethlehem. The Restaurant moved from their previous location a few months ago. Owner Joe Durante serves fine pizza and pasta specialties as well as subs, sandwiches and other entrees.

Owner Joe Durante holds a sicilian style vegetable pizza and house dinner “Spaghetti of the Sea” dish at Sorella’s Pizza and Pasta at 3650 Nazareth Pike in Bethlehem. The Restaurant moved from their previous location a few months ago. Joe serves fine pizza and pasta specialties as well as subs, sandwiches and other entrees.

f there’s one overwhelming feeling at Sorella’s Pizza & Pasta in Bethlehem, it’s family. It pretty much filled the Nazareth Pike eatery in every way, from the easy camaraderie between the customers and owners Giuseppe and Delores Durante as they worked the counter to the heaping servings of authentic Italian dishes the Duarante’s daughter brought to the tables on a recent Friday night. What could be more “family” than hearty traditional pasta dishes such as penne vodka with chicken or shrimp, fettuccine alfredo and penne with eggplant and mozzarella? Or 20 kinds of pizza? There’s also a wide variety of hot subs, paninis and wraps.

: Sorella’s, which relocated to the Bethlehem Village Shoppes plaza from the former Kmart plaza in December, has a typical neighborhood pizzeria feel. The counter held a bowl of garlic knots and a sheet of paper announcing the soup of the day. A stacked pizza oven not far from the counter was working overtime. The restaurant is well lit and the walls display tapestries decorated with grapes and wine bottles. It’s a casual, cheery atmosphere. My friend and I sat near the front window, just under the TV. We liked the seats in the back, not just because they’re away from the door, but because of a charming stone fountain that trickles in the corner.
 Sometimes Italian menus are limited when it comes to starters, with the usual calamari, bruschetta and mozzarella sticks. Sorella’s has those, too, but it was nice to see rice balls ($4.50) on the menu. These came eight to a serving, about the circumference of a quarter and fried golden brown, served with a side of marinara. Stuffed with peas, cheese and ground beef, these hit the spot, gooey and meaty at the same time. The marinara was impressive, with flecks of basil attesting to its seasoning.

 Although our server recommended the chicken cacciatore or the Mediterranean chicken as customer faves, my friend was drawn to the chicken giardiniera ($14.25), a savory blend of chicken breast, sauteed zucchini, mushrooms and onions piled on top of a large serving of spaghetti. The marinara sauce was subtle and didn’t overwhelm the veggies. It came with a large slice of garlic bread (regular bread is also an option) and a good-sized salad with tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cucumbers and honey mustard dressing.
I made my decision when I saw someone nearby having a margherita pizza ($17 for a large) plunked onto the wire perch at their table. Though I’m usually all about veggies or pepperoni, the beauty of this pie spoke to me. A thin, crispy crust has just the right amount of give as you bite into it. It was also blessed with dollops of fresh mozzarella, fresh sliced tomatoes, small pools of olive oil, oregano, Parmesan and pieces of basil. This pie had eight sizable slices, and thanks go to my server who pointed out a large is only $1 more than a small. I owe her.

 We split an order of cannolis ($2.75 for two minis) and a sfogliatella ($2.25) since we figured they’d be good. We were right. The cannolis were generously stuffed with chocolate-chip filled cream. The sfogliatella, my first ever, was a shell-shaped flaky pastry that had an orange-flavored ricotta filling. Despite the sound, it was not overly rich, and was the perfect end to a great meal.

 The staff made us feel like family. Our server was great about making recommendations and checking on us. About midway through our meal, Giuseppe, who moved his family to the area 14 years ago from Sicily, came to check on how we enjoyed our food, sharing with us the story of how margherita pizza got its name. Turns out the colors of the toppings — red, green and white — are the colors of the Italian flag, fashioned to honor the queen of Italy, Margherita. And here we had thought it was named after the drink.

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