This is indeed "Where the locals eat." DiBella's is a longtime Galveston favorite and we hope that this review will not cause too many visitors to show up and make it too crowded for us!
We arrived on Friday evening with reservations, which is a good idea because you never know when a huge family gathering or other group will take up the entire back room. Coming in to DiBella's is entering another world, a step back in time to when dinner out was more intimate and less corporate. It's almost like going to a family dinner, only better. Wonderful atmosphere, subdued lighting, family pictures all over the walls, Dean Martin on the stereo, friendly staff. As always we were given the fresh vegetable antipasto to snack on while we waited for our appetizer. We selected the Crabmeat au Gratin and were very pleased with the result: fresh crabmeat in a creamy cheese sauce, with hot garlic bread. We also ordered a carafe of the house Cabernet which was quite satisfying.
Most entrees come with soup or salad. We had one of each. The house salad is a colorful combination of vegetables and of course we went for the tangy house Italian dressing which matched it perfectly. The Minestrone was hot, full of vegetables and seasoned wih a rich tomato base.
I felt called by the Steak and Pasta, truly a house specialty. The very generous portion of grilled rib eye was cooked exactly to medium rare and had a delicious sauce. I chose my favorite pasta with garlic butter as an accompaniment (even better if you add a bit of the steak sauce to it). I don't believe there's a better steak in Galveston. Sinfully delicious.
My companion broke tradition (usually it's grilled chicken over angel hair pasta with garlic butter sauce) and ordered the Chicken and Sausage Pasta, in a mélange of fresh vegetables, penne pasta, creamy white sauce, and mozzarella cheese. The meats were delicious and the sauce very light, allowing the flavors to come through. This was also a generous portion and we took some home. Overall a thoroughly satisfying dish.
From the several appealing dessert choices we selected Italian Cream Cake. It was creamy but not heavy, and not too sweet. Despite our protestations that we couldn't eat another bite, we devoured the whole thing.
DiBella's did not disappoint us. They never have in the many years they've been here. You will not leave here hungry or dissatisfied. This is the place to take your out-of-town friends when you want to show them a true local establishment. Bring a big appetite.