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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Belana’s familiarity serves Cali-bistro style

Fig Garden has a fresh new restaurant called Belana and sells itself as an upscale, casual restaurant that caters to all ages. Belana opened Nov. 19.

Sonya Gage, owner of Belana and Slates, decided to open an upside, casual dining eatery complete with a high-end feel. The different dynamics of lighting, decorative cement flooring and many colored woods throughout the restaurant help set an eccentric mood. The tan and pasty green walls surround a bronze palm tree and an open kitchen where the chef cooks.

The three flat-screened TVs and glass wine cellar in the middle of the restaurant, which can hold up to 300-400 bottles, add to an eclectic feel.

The food is particularly good; Belana is already known for tasty pizza and excellent macaroni and cheese; the restaurant will serve to all ages. This is a comfort food experience for the whole family.

As I sat down I noticed the detail in every aspect of the restaurant; even the napkins had an interesting tribal design on them.

While pondering the menu, I came across some of my childhood favorites such as macaroni and cheese ($6.95), as well as my ultimate: sweet potatoes fries ($5.95).

I arrived with a party of five. For the most part, my dining experience was rather enjoyable. My only complaint was the salads, which came on a small shiny white plate scantly dressed with vinaigrette. But to the staff’s credit, we asked for more, and were promptly attended to. The salad had only a few pieces of lettuce, a couple tomatoes, onions and a few croutons. It was clearly not worth the money spent ($5.95).

My party of five ordered two pizzas, two mac and cheeses (each $7.95), and a bistro garlic chicken dish. The waiter said this dish was one of two they are becoming known for (the other being their pot roast). The chicken was served with sweet potatoes fries and veggies ($15.95). It was plenty of food; yet so appetizing we could have had seconds.

I was discussing with the executive chef, Dave Rymon, how ordinary and simple the choice of food was compared to what one would think a typical expensive restaurant would serve. He said they took easy-to-make dishes and added their very own twist to them, creating something more upper class: a mixture of comfort foods with high-class ingredients.

He said the staff all sat down and collaborated on the menu. They all wanted a Cali-bistro dining experience; the menu needed to represent the ?melting pot? of the U.S. Belana was meant to be an everyday hangout, Rymon said.

Dinner entrees range from $13-$35 while lunches range from $6-$17.

This restaurant has personalized some dishes on the menu including the name, Belana, which was named after two of the investor?s mothers: Bella and Anna.

The restaurant has a modern twist of class. The tables are scattered, in the center of the restaurant there is a bar overlooking other tables and the beverage bar.

A back room can hold up to 16-20 people. There are two tables that are a brown cherry wood, with bronzed hairs. The tan walls have mirrored walls along the side of it. It had a sink in the back of the room, making the aura of the small quarters more of a homey feel.

The ?back room? is a quaint room complete with a flat-screened TV. The room is sound-proof and would be good for a dinner party or football haven.

With crowd-pleasing food and good atmosphere, people will want to return for more. Belana is located in the Fig Garden Village Shopping Center on Palm and Shaw Ave. Belana is open 6:30 A.M.-12 P.M. (Sun-Wed.) and 6:30 A.M.-2 A.M. (Thurs-Sat).

Breakfast is served from 6:30-11 A.M., lunch from 11 A.M.-5 P.M, dinner 5-10 P.M. and late night hours 10-12 P.M., when the cook will only serve pizzas and a few sandwiches. Call (559) 230-2352 for more information.

At 10 P.M. all the tables are cleared out and the restaurant turns into a dance floor and disco. The chef said, ?We call it the DJ nest,? commenting about where the DJ plays behind a beaded curtain, located above the beverage bar.

I wouldn?t recommend taking young children to dine past 6 P.M.

For more information, read Joan Obra’s Nov. 15, 2007, Fresno Bee article, Belana opens at Fig Garden Village.

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