With Michelangelo-inspired décor, the place is a buzz with welcoming chatter. You may just meet owner Mauro Golmarvi there, he's known to travel from table to table ensuring each diner's satisfaction. The carefully composed menu of central and northern Italian cuisine has received praise since Assaggio first opened its doors. Choose from pasta, chicken, veal, and seafood entrees.
2. Café Juanita
Café Juanita is named for the creek it sits beside, and is influenced by true Italian cuisine, not the red sauce-and-cheese kind. Featuring smooth foie gras, sweetbreads in marsala sauce, perfectly seared yellowfin tuna, and bacon-wrapped roasted rabbit. The excellent wine list offers choices for a perfect pairing.
You know you’ve found the restaurant when you see the metal pink door in the Post Alley of Pike Place Market. Call ahead for reservations; this place gets booked, but it’s worth it. Enjoy a martini on the rooftop overlooking Elliott Bay, or have a cozy dinner indoors in an Italian atmosphere.
4. SerafinaEastlake, 2043 Eastlake Ave. E.
The lush heated outdoor garden in the back is the place to be. If you want a seat there, you must make a reservation. Otherwise, you can view the bustling traffic of Eastlake out front while you dine. Either way, you'll find the antipasti heavenly.
5. Café Lago2305 24th Ave E.
There is always a line for the cuisine at Café Lago. It's been a local favorite for many years. Their homemade lasagna has diners coming back for more. And their wood-fired pizzas with crisp crusts and savory toppings are top notch. Pastas are house-made.
Nestled in historic Pioneer Square, the romantic atmosphere here is surely enhanced by the musical guitar. The aroma of authentic Italian dishes wafts your way as you enter. The menu includes a plethora of pastas and antipasti, along with roasted duck, rack of lamb, beef tenderloin, and fresh fish. There is complimentary valet parking after 5 p.m. Outdoor seating is seasonal.
Known as an upbeat city restaurant and winner of “Best Downtown Lunch” by Seattle magazine, it is popular for its location and combination of Mediterranean and Northwest fare. Try the paella, fire-roasted garlic chicken, or poached seafood ravioli. They also offer traditional and exotic pizzas.
This is a great place for comfort food. You can enjoy views of Lake Washington from the waterside patio, or keep warm next to the dining room’s fireplace. The Northern Italian dishes include the house specialty of pappardelle with ground veal and Portobello mushrooms in a light wine sauce. For seafood lovers order the bow-tie pasta with salmon and artichoke hearts.
The open kitchen creating wonderful food is guaranteed to lift your mood. Tulio is well-known for its unique cuisine and excellent service. The menu includes Washington lamb sirloin, salmon ravioli, and sweet-potato gnocchi. You can enjoy your meal upstairs or downstairs. And keep your eyes open as celebrities have even been known to dine here.
10. Volterra5411 Ballard Ave NW.
Volterra is named after the Tuscan town where the owner/chefs met; they brought a fine slice of Italy to the Pacific Northwest. On the menu are truffles, homemade pasta, beef tenderloin, and lamb ragu. Don’t be intimidated by the large wine selection let the knowledgeable staff narrow it down for you.