Bella Vita North is the Next Stop on the Chicken Parm Train

Bella Vita

Sometimes I think my endless quest for the best chicken parm sub in Midtown is exactly that. Endless. I don’t even know what chicken parm perfection would be. Obviously being cheap is an important quality. Good cheese… that’s good too. I can’t decide if I like the chicken pounded thin or left thick, but either way is fine- as long as it’s not dried out. I don’t like too much sauce, but I know some people do. And of course the bread has to be good.

I don’t know if I can pick a favorite, but the there have been decent versions from La Belleza III/La Belleca, Lazzarra’s (38th btw. 7+8th), the Tuscany Catering place on 55th btw. 5+6th, Mondelo (37th btw. Mad+5th), and Little Italy (45th btw. 5+6th). I tried the one at Park Italian (across the street from Little Italy) and remember the bread being bad. But I should probably give it another shot.

With the exception of Lazzarra’s, which is more of a sit down restaurant than a quick take out place, none of the places listed above make their chicken parm to order. Bella Vita (on 58th btw. 6+7th) bucks the trend, giving you a made to order chicken parm, in a take out setting. (No relation to the sit down restaurant on 43rd St.)

Bella Vita

Getting a sandwich made to order is not always a great thing. There is the waiting… and at Bella Vita it takes at least 10 minutes to get your sandwich, so it’s better to call ahead if you can. The coolest thing about their version is they cook the breaded chicken in the same brick oven where they make the pizzas. It’s thin, and covered in olive oil, so dryness is not an issue with this sub.

Bella Vita

I liked the olive oil and fresh mozzarella aspect of the sub, but I could have used a second layer of the thin chicken, and the whole thing lacked salt and pepper (a huge no no). The good thing is, you can add salt and pepper to a fresh made chicken parm that has with good cheese. You can’t add quality to well seasoned dud. Not the best by any stretch (and the bread wasn’t memorable), but there was a lot to like about the Bella Vita chicken parm, and at $6 the price is right for the size.

Bella Vita

Couldn’t leave without trying a slice of their brick oven pizza. Sauce, fine. Fresh mozzarella, always nice to see. My piece got “reheated” a little too long, so the crust was too crunchy, and not that good. Once again, you could do a lot worse… but you could also do a lot better. Isn’t that the way it is with everything in Midtown?

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Chicken parm is made fresh to order
  • Cooked in the brick oven, with plenty of olive oil
  • Not drenched in sauce
  • Fresh mozzarella is always a good thing (both on the pizza and on the sandwich)

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Since it’s made to order, it takes awhile (you’re better off ordering it ahead if you can)
  • Sandwich could be seasoned much better
  • Not enough sauce! (An easily fixable problem, I guess)
  • Not enough seating… and it gets pretty full during the lunch. The place is tiny!

Bella Vita, 158 W 58th St (btw. 6+7th), 212-664-7670


  • Their regular slices are just ok. You should have tried their sicilian (loaded with fresh mozzerella) and their bruschetta focaccia…both are off the charts. Although I’ve haven’t yet tried their pasta dishes, they look delicious from what I’ve seen on the tables.

  • $6 chicken parm sounds good to my pocket book. Lazzara’s sub is at the other end of the price spectrum. I wonder what’s a good price point for these things…

  • Cafe Duke makes a chicken parm at the flat bread sandwich station that is really tasty. I think its roughly $7 and, while its really thin flat-bread, there is a ton of chicken and the mozzerlla and parm are good. Worth a try.

  • La Bellezza’s chicken parm is in fact made to order, and as fine an example as I have encountered in midtown.

  • Zach, my good man, you owe it to yourself to sample what ‘chicken parmagian perfection’ is before you die from one too many shitty lunches. Perfection on the taste/execution level anyway – not on price. And amazingly enough, it is in midtown. Bond 45. Huh you say? That tourist trap? Tut tut, sir, theirs is outstanding despite the $26 tag, beaten only by their VEAL parm, which has to be seen to be believed. (look in your email for a photo of that). Next time some media suck-ass takes you out on the Amex black, check it out. Get the burrata to start. yummmmmmm

  • My favorite midtown chicken parm comes from a good old school deli – H&C at 150 W47th (btwn 6th & 7th). Very reasonable, too.

  • I need Zach to get excited about a Midtown Lunch. It seems lately that everything has been so-so, similar to the tone of this posting. C’mon Zach, you can do it!

  • I was surprised to read that your chicken parm lacked sauce, but it is pretty clear from the picture. I have to say that has not been my experience at Bella Vita. It can be pretty crazy in there at peak times and i do agree that the whole sandwich could use a bit more seasoning. I’ve been known to add some hot sauce to mine to rectify the situation.

  • Way out of bounds, but Caliente, a spanish place on 10th btw 56&57th has ok chicken parms for $5. They’re pretty big too.

  • Thanks for checking this out, Zach. But I’m sticking with Tuscany for now!

  • If you’re on the UWS and fail at the lines at Shake Shack, go to Andy’s Deli on 81st and Columbus. Best.CHicken.Parm! Why, you ask? The fry it up fresh when you order it. Really crispy, hot, tons of chicken, juicy.

  • I happen to really like Bella Vita’s plain slices – they are nice and light, easy on the cheese, so it’s a perfect lunch for those of us who require way less calories than Zach to feel full.

  • Try Mariallas (sp?) on 3rd ave and 16th or 17th. Their CPH is AWESOME!!

  • I went the other day and the guy was out of hero rolls. He had one of the guys run over to the corner store to buy them, while I waited. HUH?

    I ordered eggplant parm and some pizza. He packed the pizza on top of each other, so when I got back the nice warm cheese of my colleague’s pizza was nicely melded onto my slice. Good for me, sucked for colleague. And the hero…it was a chicken parm. Now, I know I ordered eggplant, because I asked him if he had it on for that day, since I figured he would be all about chicken since this write up.

    Well, he made good and sent over an eggplant parm and a slice for my sucker colleague.

    They just need to get their act together. Lord knows this ain’t the only pizza joint in town.
    Was it worth the 15 minute walk there and then 15 minutes back? No.

    The food was tasty. The pizza was the star, though.

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