Bella's is a riverside bistro in the Thousand Islands region of New York. Enjoy breakfast or lunch with a gorgeous view of the St. Lawrence River!
By: Alisha Trenalone
A number of years ago, my family enjoyed vacationing in the Thousand Islands region of New York.
Gorgeous riverside scenery, a castle or two, wineries galore, and adorable villages — we found so much to love!
One of our favorite discoveries was on the last morning of our trip. As we were getting ready to head for home, we stopped at a restaurant called Bella's in Clayton, New York.
Looking for more things to do in western New York? Check out Burrville Cider Mill in nearby Watertown or Tin Pan Galley in Sackets Harbor. A little further south are the waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park!
Dining on the River
Bella's sits by itself on the southwestern end of a riverside road, and it commands a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River, with plenty of outdoor seating.
It was a chilly autumn morning the first time we went, but we couldn't resist sitting out on the deck and watching the river go by. Fortunately at that time of year the deck was covered so as to keep some warmth in!
With warm cups of coffee steaming in our hands, we could settle back in the chairs and just relax.
We've always remembered that experience, which was why it was on our must-do list when we returned to the Thousand Islands area more recently.
Visiting Bella's for Lunch
Bella's has set hours for breakfast and lunch, and it's not open year-round. This area of New York tends to get the most traffic in summer, and many places simply aren't open once winter weather starts to threaten.
You can check out Bella's hours and menu on the website before you go.
In the height of the summer tourist season, Bella's was rather more busy than what we remembered, but it wasn't too much of a wait to get a table and place our order.
There are actually three levels of outdoor seating at the restaurant. And it's easy to see why.
With such a view, who would want to stay inside?
It's not to say that the inside of the restaurant isn't appealing, too. The bright, cheerful colors (and the pastry case full of goodies at the entrance) make you want to linger.
There's even a couple of shelves' worth of souvenir items! (We bought one of their beautiful deep blue mugs last time, and the marvelous view of the St. Lawrence River springs to mind whenever we use it.)
The menu at Bella's is composed of some standing favorites, but they also advertise their current specialty items on chalkboards around the dining area.
For lunch, I opted to split an order of fish tacos with a friend.
The only problem was, it turned out to be so delicious I could have eaten the whole order!
The cod was so tender and flaky, and the pickled red onions — and the southwest sauce, whatever it was made of — combined to produce one of the most satisfying tastes ever.
I would definitely order it again. And again.
The rest of our party ordered salads: Bella's Boathouse Beet Salad and the Southwest Cobb Salad.
The beet salad was beautifully layered with greens, roasted beets, goat cheese, candied walnuts, and a sweet poppy dressing. And some toasted bread on the side!
The Cobb salad featured all kinds of can't-go-wrong ingredients, like bacon, avocado, sweet corn, grilled chicken, and a southwest chipotle Ranch dressing.
We worked our way through our entrées and looked out at the massive river beyond. In a busy day of sightseeing, lunch at Bella's gave us something to slow down for. Something to savor!
If you're traveling in upstate New York or planning to explore the Thousand Islands area, a trip to town of Clayton and a meal at Bella's will be well worth your time!
About Alisha Trenalone
I’m Alisha and I live in eastern Kentucky. Discovering good food is one of my joys in life, but you will also find me doing lots of reading and dreaming of travel. Having worked at a local newspaper for several years, I’m avidly interested in the written word and the art of sharing stories. Now I help Sarah out in various ways here at Champagne Tastes!