227 Water Street, Excelsior, MN | Directions 5533144.903005 -93.566716
Mon-Thu 5pm-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm
Awesome little place – I couldn't believe this place was in Minnesota! When my group arrived we were not only greeted by the owner but two other employees welcomed us. I never had that happen. First of all the decor is not only historic by utterly charming. The place was buzzing in a nice way and it was a Monday! We had a drink at the bar at which the bartender was friendly and professional! He really knew his wines and liquors. He suggested the Marktini invented by the owner. If you like Cosmo's you'll LOVE this drink! Everyone we talked to at the bar was either a local or a regular. They couldn't stop raving of this little find. We finally sat down and our server Angus was also professional and attentive. He was from Scotland and actually was one of the Queen's servers at one time. I loved his accent. I think my husband was jealous. The food was perfect. I had the mussel appetizer and the Manhattan Fillet. For $23 it was a steal. You would pay double that downtown for JUST the steak. We had trouble picking a dessert as the server told us ALL were homemade. When we left we were thanked by our server and the owner personally thanked us himself. Even David the bartender thanked us and held the door for me on the way out. Now that was class. This place is as good as you'd find in Boston, New York or San Francisco. I'll be back and will probably become a regular as well!
Not great – The birthday dinner mentioned in the last review was my first and probably last dining experience at Biella. Might go back for the tiramisu but that's it. The food was ok but cold and nothing special.
It was nice that the manager gave my niece a price break but she (and the chef) could have solved the problem from the very beginning of the evening. They were friendly people but all demonstrated lack of customer service (obviously part of the culture). She told them what was promised by the boss. All they had to do was make it happen.... and they didn't. The requests should have been doable even on the fly. It's not like the place was really busy!
This review was from the same party as below and I'm sure they were encouraged by the below guest to write this. Please see my response below. Thank you.
"We would like to apologize for our boss." – With my mom's 60th birthday approaching, I wanted to plan a special evening. I live and work in the Netherlands but was able to arrange a brief visit to Minnesota. More than a month in advance, I booked a reservation at Biella for Sunday, October 4th at 6pm. I spoke with Biella's proprietor and general manager, Mark, who told me about a number of special options that he could arrange. We decided on a 5-course taster's menu and he said they could make a special tiramisu for seven people and serve it with candles. Mark promised to create the taster's menu and send the details along with a price estimate before the evening of the dinner. I also told him we might take advantage of the happy hour (I understood it ran until 6:30pm on Sundays) and he said fine. After that I never heard back from him, though I tried to call a few times before the big night. However, I'd already sent a number of emails and we'd spoken on the phone twice - I felt sure that he would follow through.
We arrived on Sunday and my dad went to check on the reservation. It was there, though it was listed as a "60th wedding anniversary party." Neither the wait staff nor Raul, the executive chef, had heard about a taster's menu being prepared for our party. They said we could just order off the regular menu. I said we'd like to see what was available for happy hour but were then told it only applied for those sitting at the bar (why didn't Mark mention this to me when I expressed interest?).
The waiter brought wine and poured the glasses too big so he had to open another bottle in order to fill my mom's glass (a bottle which we wouldn't have ordered otherwise, and didn't finish). He also delivered an appetizer we hadn't ordered, and bothered us continually to keep ordering food so the meal could be "timed" right. But the service was really the least of the problems.
Then the tiramisu. The waiter asked me if he should take other dessert orders or just bring out the tiramisu. Of course just the tiramisu - it was for seven people, right? Well, a piece came out with a candle and was placed in front of my mom. We sang, she blew out the candle, and we waited. Ten minutes passed and it became apparent that no seven-person tiramisu was on its way. At this point I went and spoke to the manager for the evening who did provide us with more tiramisu and gave me a discount on the meal. This was the only redeeming part of the evening.
This experience was completely outrageous. Mark has demonstrated an utter lack of interest in his guests and has lost at least seven future customers (my family are locals). Even the staff seem to recognize his incompetence - I was told that "we would like to apologize for our boss." I will never eat at this restaurant again, and urge anyone seeking to create a special occasion to avoid it like the plague.
I tried continuously to reach this customer to finalize the menu but being from the Netherlands she was very hard to reach. She called me from a computer phone and it was hard to understand. I offered to call her back but she said to email her. I sent her the menu by email. I told her to email me if she did not get it. I did not hear from her. We received rave reviews from her and the guests both from the food and the service. I think these guests were upset b/c they could not have Happy Hour at their table in the dining room. I don't know of any restaurants that have Happy Hour in the dining room. As for the wine glasses we use Riedel which are larger to allow the wine to breathe. Since a wine pour is 6 oz. you must use a second bottle to serve 7 guests. I am sorry that this guest was upset and decided to write this bad review of us. It's interesting that this guest told my manager everything was great. I think that ALL of the numerous GREAT reviews below speak for themselves.
Never go there unless you want to be berated!!!! – We had the misfortune to pick this restaurant for our 21st wedding anniversary. Food was bad, undercooked, and inedible. Service was excruciatingly slow when we were in a rush with a play to catch. The server knowing our timeline told us five minutes before we needed to leave that our main entrees were not ready and that she could pack it for us. We said that they knew the timelines we were under and should just remove the cost of those items and we would be leaving without them. The owner yelled at the server and came to confront us. He told us that good food had to be prepared and that we could not realistically expect that it would be prepared in our needed timelines. He did not respond when asked why the server took the order knowing our timelines and the restaurant's inability to meet them. Food was brought out uncooked and we were forced to pay. The server and the owner were extremely rude. The appetizers were not appealing. The owner knew this was our anniversary and did his best to destoy our special evening.
These diners came in with unrealistic expectations. First of all they were 20 minutes late for their 6:30pm reservations. They ordered our THREE course menu and said they needed to be out by 7:30pm which only gave us 40 minutes to grant their request. Our server told them nicely that she did not recommend it because we usually allow at least an hour and a half for that menu. On top of that she noted that every table was filled and that we were very busy. The couple insisted so the server told them we couldn't guarantee it but we would do our best and try. They still insisted. We actually got the food out at 7:25pm and they were upset. The food couldn't have been bad as this couple cleaned their plates completely and didn't even leave a drop of sauce. Also, after the first & second course they told the server everything was very great. We take pride in our food and make it from scratch. We recommend at least an hour and a half for dining especially if you are ordering 3 courses.
we had a wow evening – Fun happy hour, great scallops, amazing pasta, fresh fish and best cheesecake in town. Stags Leap priced great. Service was professional and knowledgeable. We will be back. Oh, cute host.
Best restaurant in Minnesota!!!!!! – Best food in Minnesota!!!!! Amazing chef, excellent atmosphere, terrific service!!!! The bartender made me the best expresso martini I ever had. One of the best restaurants my family has gone to in years. Just want to say thanks, Biella keep up the good work.
Best Italian Restaurant in the Twin Cities!!! – You have to try the "best " Italian restaurant in the Twin Cities. The intimate yet energetic atmosphere is just like being in Tuscany with exposed brick walls, fabulous food and great service. The chicken Ravello is AMAZING!!! Biella deserves 10 stars!!!
Delicious food and a great deal. – Every time I arrive at Biella I am assaulted by wonderful smells and new tasty entree's, my favorite thing about the restaurant is the menu that changes and new dishes that the suburbs have never seen. I went in on Monday and had the asian chicken salad, something you wouldn't usually see in an Italian restaurant, it was amazing. The napa cabbage was fresh and crunchy the salad has more then enough chicken and the housin sauce blended acidity and sweetness to perfection. The best part was Biella offered my friend and I movie tickets to the local theater, every Monday the owner is giving movie tickets to customers in a dinner and a movie promotion. I defiantly will be back often on Mondays and in the future.
Mouth watering food! – Wow! This dining experience was excellent and the food was superb. I was with 3 other people and we all tried each others food - everything was excellent from the creamy artichoke dip appetizer, to the crisp arugula salad (with goat cheese and raisins - I was skeptical about the raisins but they added a great flavor), to the creamy risotto with seafood, to the fish special - swordfish with olive tapenade - to the almond pannacotta with pureed kiwi topping - again skeptical of the combo but it was fantastic! The wine list was extensive. Great customer service as well! We will definitely be going back.
Biella is back - and we're quickly becoming regulars! – We love to find and frequent unique owner/chef run restaurants. Fortunately, the Twin Cities has a lot offer in that category. Still, we live in the western suburbs and have struggled to find a place ?out by us? that we can fall in love with. We tried Biella when it first opened and thought it was good, but it seemed to go through a period where it was less than stellar ? lots of turn-over ? particularly with Chefs. Great News: We gave it another shot and are quickly becoming ?regulars?. The original chef is back, the bar and wait staff are seasoned and personable ? and the food is out-of-this-world. The steak tartar is the best we?ve found and daily pasta specials are unique and always beautiful. Two thumbs up from a couple that has tried them all!
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