Bella’s Kitchen Serves Tasty Mediterranean Food

Bella’s Kitchen may be less than a year old, but the Mediterranean-style spot is already making big waves in Rockland’s restaurant scene. Established in Pearl River by husband-wife team Clara and Roberto Ortega in March 2023 and named after their eldest daughter, the couple chose the location in part due to their deep ties to the community.

“We live right down the street and have been in Pearl River for years,” Clara explained. “I used to work at ShopRite and my kids go to school here…We’re part of the community and we’re happy with all the support from everyone. It’s been great.”

Having cooked Mediterranean food for 10 years and served as the executive chef of a New Jersey restaurant for eight, Roberto is well-versed in the cuisine. Ingredients are sourced everywhere from local farmers to Israel, from where their tahini—a key condiment in Mediterranean cooking made from toasted ground hulled sesame —is imported. Particularly popular dishes for Bella’s Kitchen’s 400 to 500 weekly customers include falafel, chicken shawarma, rosemary lamb shank, and of course, their famous hummus.

“The hummus is our main thing that everyone tries and just loves it,” Clara said. “They’re like, ‘I can’t believe how creamy it is! How fresh it tastes!’ I’ll come and talk to people and they say the best hummus or falafel they had before this was in Israel.”

While Roberto always dreamed of using his experience as a chef to open his own restaurant, Clara is new to the dining business. Having now experienced all the tasks of running a restaurant—from helping her husband in the kitchen to interacting with customers—she is confident that through Bella’s Kitchen, she has found her calling.

“I love customer service,” Clara said, smiling. “I love talking to customers. It’s great to get to know them. They become regulars—they love to learn about you and you love to learn about them. That becomes a part of you…We’re thankful to everyone who supports us.”

Husband-wife team Clara and Roberto Ortega

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