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Seattle newcomers?

I'm looking for someplace special to take my sweetie on his birthday. Both of us want to go somewhere we haven't tried. Anyone have any new local faves? We'd prefer a restaurant that's fairly intimate to a large establishment. All cuisines considered, but I have a feeling he's hankering for Italian.

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  1. Have you been to Barolo? Spaghetti with crab, osso buco are both good.

    1. I was just looking at their website but couldn't get a feel for the restaurant, although the menu looks lovely. Tell me more.

      5 Replies
      1. re: ssusu

        swanky, romantic, sophisticated (as opposed to rustic or "charming" or minimalist/trendy), reserve one of the soft L-shaped banquettes if possible (with tall candle). Has sort of a Canlis-feel to it...

        1. re: ssusu

          Barolo was reviewed recently in either the Times or PI if you want more info.

          I'd suggest Osteria La Spiga-it's a new menu and new location. BUT, it isn't tiny anymore, and has big lofty ceilings, so that might not fit your definition of intimate.

          1. re: christy319

            It's definitely changed a lot since it moved; I haven't been to the new location yet, mainly because it's in my neighborhood so I figure there's no hurry. How do you like the new menu compared to the old one?

            1. re: ssusu

              Still love it, though I think I encountered some new-restaurant type gliches when I went. I wrote a review in the La Spiga thread-it should just be a few days down.

          2. re: ssusu

            Barolo - I thought it was OK, and would give it another try to see if they get the kinks worked out. We had the same problems the PI reviewer had - oversalted entrees. Both a sea bass entree and lobster risotto were too salty. Not to the point of inedible for us, but then I like things salty to begin with.

            The service was great as was the ambiance - I agree with barleywino that the space is swank and sophisticated (as was the crowd there that night, if that adds or detracts from your experience...)

          3. I'd suggest Asteroid. Granted, I haven't been in the new space yet (the old one was a tiny little house with a large "asteroid" on top in Wallingford). Italian food, very local, very Seattle. I really liked the owner; dymanic and socially-conscious guy. Every meal I've had there has felt special. Went there last Valentine's Day and it was just the right choice.


            1 Reply
            1. re: seattledebs

              I took my loving wife there for her birthday (our first time despite years of intention) and we enjoyed it altogether. Atmosphere was dark and mellow, even in a space far larger than the Wallingford place. Echo the observation that "every meal felt special," as ours surely did. Every single bite showed attention and perfected intention. The service was informed, unobtrusive, but attentive every moment. Craft, indeed. A treasure.

            2. The first place that popped to my mind is La Rustica in West Seattle, it's very intimate and every meal I've had here has been wonderful.


              1. One of my favorite intimate restaurants is Cafe Campagne in the market. It's french, but really makes a great date spot.

                1. Try Chez Shea. http://www.chezshea.com/ The most romantic restaurant in Seattle across from Matt's In The Market http://www.mattsinthemarket.com/ another foodie's favorite. Most foodies know these places, especially Matt's. You can drive by them, so you have to know about them by reputation.

                  Matt's is great for lunch.

                  Your sweetie will love Chez Shea (prix-fixe). Cafe Campagne (Below the formal Campagne) is like Shea's Lounge (part of Chez Shea but with a la carte) but entirely different experiences.

                  It can be a challenge to find, but I'd make a surprise of it. He'll wonder wear you are taking him as you walk through the labrynth of stairs and hallways to the restaurant with romantic view of the market & Puget Sound with the arched windows & candlelight. Make a reservation, it's a small restaurant.

                  1. Chez Shea is a great choice, can't go wrong. Matt's in the Market is also great, but it's closed until mid-March while they knock out a wall and expand...

                    1. A group of us had a fabulous meal at Coupage in late December. It's French/Korean fusion so it doesn't fit the italian requirement but the dining room is intimate and the service is outstanding.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Lauren

                        These are all great recs, thank you. Italian is by no means a requirement, so Coupage is a wonderful suggestion. I think we've narrowed it down to: Boat Street, Asteroid (I've been to the old locations of both of these but not the new) or Coupage. What say you?

                        1. re: ssusu

                          I'm not a fan of Asteroid so, if it were me, I'd go to Boat Street or Coupage.

                          1. re: Lauren

                            Lauren, have you been to the Fremont location?

                            1. re: mrnelso

                              No, I haven't. I'll have to give it a try, but it will be hard to drag my husband there. He really doesn't like the place. He thinks the pasta is overcooked and the sauces are boring. I guess I've spoiled him with my bolagnese!

                          2. re: ssusu

                            Coupage also does a tasting menu by advance request although they do not list it on their menu. We tried it out and it was mostly items which were not on their regular menu, and quite good. Desserts have definitely improved. PS. bring a sweater to wear in the restaurant if it is cold outside.

                        2. I had a very good meal at Volterra about a week or two ago. Very nice atmosphere and very good food especially the boar. Another option is cremant, for french, which has an amazing pork belly dish and the fries are wonderful as well (I think they are fried in duck fat). My last recomendation would be lark. I had probably the best fish dish I have ever had when I went there last week. It was John Dori served with a very flavourful lobster broth.

                          1. I second the Volterra rec. The space is warm and the menu is fun. For a special, we were served a swordfish carpaccio with our own bottle of peppery olive oil that you can take home. The fennel salt served with your bread/olive oil is addicting.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: TacoBusHound

                              I had no idea I could take home the bottle of olive oil, damn. I guess I will have to suck it up and go back.

                            2. If you want Italian, the Volterra is quite good. A place that we really like is Sostanza Trattoria in Madison Park. Very cozy and romantic, especially if you request a table by the fireplace. The food and wine are quite good too.

                              1. Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. We went to Boat Street and feasted on pork belly. A lovely evening.

                                1. I've been meaning to hit Boat Street. What did you have?

                                  And, I will also vote for Volterra and Sostanza. La Rustica is pretty good, too.