June 22, 2004 > Cafè Bellisimo
Around the back of the Safeway shopping center at the corner of Alvarado-Niles Road and Decoto Road sits the Union City BART station. The station is dedicated to easing travel around the Bay Area. On the opposite side of Union Square Street, a small cafè can take you much farther in less time. Cafè Bellisimo, an island of pleasure amid the bustle of commuters and shoppers, will quickly transport diners to a gastronomic paradise compelling connoisseurs of fine dining to become frequent visitors by car, BART, bicycle, foot or whatever conveyance will get them there.
The pure joy of creative cooking is reflected in the eyes of Executive Chef, Federico Rodriguez and his brother, Sommelier, Kiko Rodriguez. The bright-eyed duo's excitement soon spreads to diners as they experience the ambience of the tasteful cafè and the artistry of their craft. Anticipation is heightened by watching Federico perform in the intimate quarters while savoring a delightful aperitif from a broad selection of wines and champagnes offered by Kiko.
It is often said that big things come from small packages. At Cafè Bellisimo, this is not only proof of the saying, but the platinum standard by which it can be measured. A masterful presentation of unique and superb dishes is preceded by the savory fragrances of fresh ingredients, including fine wines, cooked to sensory delight. Seasonal produce is purchased from farmers markets to maximize freshness and flavor. All senses are engaged rivaling an Iron Chef presentation.
Just about everything at Cafè Bellisimo is made from scratch and each dish is prepared individually when ordered, including sauces. From the freshly baked bread to red cabbage prepared with honey and raspberry champagne through main courses and beyond to heavenly desserts, this culinary heaven will not disappoint. Those who share the experience will see delight and contentment fill their companion's eyes and an expression of complete satisfaction dominate as the meal progresses.
None of this comes by chance. Federico and Kiko were both trained by internationally acclaimed chef Mario Zorreto, Executive Chef to Aristotle Onassis and Vatican Chef to the Pope. These two have helped open six restaurants throughout the United States and have now brought their talents to Union City. Federico and his wife Bonnie opened Caf#232; Bellisimo March 19, 2003 enlisting the talents of brother Kiko and sister Ysglee and niece Liliana. This is Federico's second pilgrimage to this small restaurant. Previously, he and his sister Ysa opened the restaurant as Chef's Cellar, but Federico was called out-of-town and his sister began a family. Bonnie and Federico purchased the business and decided to transform the space and with a bit of decorating magic courtesy of Bonnie, Cafè Bellisimo became, well...bellisimo! The small cafè has been resurrected as a dining gem.
Whether ordering the Cocoanut Shrimp served amidst a savory mixture of strawberries and mangos or a Rack of Lamb seasoned with Rosemary and balsamic vinegar surrounded by scalloped potatoes and zucchini or a pasta creation using freshly made pasta, the intricate ballet of flavor and presentation are breathtaking. For those with special requests such as vegetarians, your wish is Federico's command. As a master of epicurean requests, he can adjust meals to fit almost any wish.
Kiko is on hand to guide diners through a globe trotting selection of fine wines that include not only different labels, but encompass different wine "body" as well. A large selection of red wines, white wines and champagnes as well as dessert wines is available to compliment any meal. There is just the right vintage, body and grape for each entrèe.
For those who would like a full exploration of the talents of these brothers, Caf#232; Bellisimo will present a signature dining event on June 27th at 7 p.m. A five course dinner has been selected to accompany a hand-picked medley of fine wines for the enjoyment of a few lucky diners. Reservations for the Wine Party are required as seating is limited. For all of those unable to attend, take heart, Cafè Bellisimo is open every day but Monday from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. for dinner. Private business lunches can be accommodated by prior reservation.
The serenity of fine dining in an intimate atmosphere listening to soft music and savoring the ambiance is at Cafè Bellisimo. Whether inside, watching a master chef working his magic or outside on the heated patio surrounded by flowers under the stars, this Tri-City gem has it all. Reservations are not required at this time, but soon they may be the only way to sample the hospitality of this Tri-City treasure.
1688 Decoto Road, Union City
(cafè fronts on Union Square)
Tuesday - Sunday
5 p.m. - 9 p.m.