Disclaimer: No compensation or free food was given. This is just my honest opinion.

Oh I just love running across these surprise local hot spots in East Texas. I love it especially when it turns out to be as "delizioso" as Bella Italian Cafe in Flint, just south of Tyler on Old Jacksonville Highway. It's a cozy location, and even offers some outdoor seating, which will be nice this time of year. I found it to be very welcoming and the bread they bring out to you is almost worth a trip itself.

Owned by Chef "Benny" Shala and his family, they've put together an incredible menu including the Italian dishes you always crave from Pizza and Lasagna to more adventurous options like Shrimp Cognac and Calamari.

101.5 KNUE logo
Get our free mobile app

I always order a Caesar salad at Italian restaurants, and most of the time it's...fine. But this one at Bella was really quite good. Like I actually smiled because it was one of the best I'd had in awhile. They also offer Subs if you want to pop in for a sandwich for lunch and offer a variety of desserts from cheesecake to tiramisu. Check out their menu here.

This most recent visit I ordered the Frutti de Mare, which is sauteed shrimp, scallops, and clams, sauteed with garlic and basil and served over linguine. Two thumbs up. Will order again. I've also heard raves over the Baked Ziti and the Lobster Ravioli. So far, all the entrees having tic'd the boxes. Recommend.

It's BYOB, so feel free to bring in a bottle of wine, if you'd like. Enjoy. ;)

Tara Holley
Tara Holley

LOOK: Here are the 25 best places to live in Texas

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Texas using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from realtor.com.

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

More From 101.5 KNUE