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Sep 29, 2006 05:15 AM

Wine bars around Seattle


I just came back from Impromptu wine bar in Madison Park. The wine was good but the food left something to be desired. I guess it was a Spain-influenced menu. I ordered the shrimp and octopus salad followed by short ribs with polenta and fried avocado. The shrimp and octopus salad was way over-salted. The shrimp was touch and sad. The short ribs came with a really lovely sauce..but the short ribs were so fatty, every bite I took had large pockets of fat...the fried avocado (which sounded intriguing to be on the menu) was basically cut pieces of avocado..."Was it fried?", I asked myself as it wasn't even warm...I couldn't tell. The polenta was very good with the sauce. So this lead me to ask, are there any other wine bars around town that has good wine and food? I've heard about Portalis (sp?). Is it worth a try? Are there any others in the Seattle area?

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  1. I've been to Impromptu a couple of times. I always felt like calling it a wine bar was strange as the emphasis didn't seem to be on the wine.

    I've liked Portalis the few times I've been (although I haven't been since they moved). The menu was small but the food was very well prepared. There is a new wine bar in Wallingford that I'm liking very much. It's called Smash and it's right on 45th, a couple of doors West of the new restaurant Tilth. I love the "tater tots"!

    Oh, and if you want to try a fantastic dish of fried avocado, try it at 94 Stewart.

    1. Bricco, on top of Queen Anne, is excellent. Great wine selection, with a "by the glass" selection that changes daily. I haven't had a lot of their food, but it's Italian/Mediterranean influenced. The Greek salad is fantastic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dandelion

        Yes, go to Bricco. Of course my taste in wine leans heavily -- very heavily -- toward French and Italian, so I would say that, but still. Aside from the dated electronica background music, there's nothing about the place I don't like. Above average cheese and charcuterie selection, very well-chosen wines by the glass (and an even better bottle list), non-outrageous prices.

      2. The guys behind La Vita e Bella in Belltown have just opened a wine bar in the old Portalis location. I believe it is called Di Vino. So far I have only been on their opening night which was an absolute zoo - so it is too early to comment. I can say that the physical transformation is pretty wild. They went ultra modern and it doesn't look at all like it did when Portalis was there. I'd say it is definitely worth checking out.

        1. Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely give Bricco a try in the near future.

          1 Reply
          1. re: karen2006

            Definitely get to Bricco. I love love love having a glass of wine with one of their "snack toasts" (I go for goat cheese and carmelized onion and one of my friends always goes for the smoked salmon), these HUGE pieces of broiled french bread with toppings. They're also very helpful in guiding your wine selection and the service is fabulous. Enjoy!

          2. And I'll second Smash . . . we've been going since they opened, and it's a fun place. They have bottles & glasses of wine, but we always do the wine flights--3 wines grouped around a theme (maybe the same variatal from different places, or same place with different variatals, you get the gist). One thing I like is they always have a couple of high-end flights--3 different Betz wines, for example, or 3 different Walla Walla wines. Gives me a good chance to taste some wines before either spending $$$ for a bottle at a restaurant (or for the cellar!)

            We enjoy their food as well--the kitchen has gotten somewhat mixed reviews, but I swear it gets better every time we go. I agree with Lauren, the tater tots are good, as is the fennel salad and the truffle mac & cheese.

            There's another new one in Wallingford (that I haven't' been to yet but got a decent review here) called Perche' No, which is the wine bar sibiling of Perche' No restaurant in Queen Anne.