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Port Angeles 2009

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crcowden Jan 19, 2009 10:26 AM

Just made a trip to Olympic National Park and Port Angeles. On the recommendation of chowhounders, went to Bella Italia and C'est Si Bon.

Bella Italia was a home run hit! Great food, great atmosphere, attentive service. Our duck was excellent and the calamari (not the usual preparation) was also notable. Terrific wine list, not just for a small town but even a big city. We ordered off the "by the glass" list, which is usually just ordinary, but here was excellent. When we said we'd like some cheese to go with our left over wine, the kitchen prepared a cheese plate, even though it wasn't on the menu. We were stuffed and sated. At one point all the tables were full (it was a Friday night), so they seem to have a following. The atmosphere is somewhere between bistro and fine dining. The noise level was high enough to be fun but without being intrusive.

The next night we went to C'est Si Bon, which is OK, but suffered by comparison. It's the soft music and soft conversation kind of place. Even though it was a Sat. it wasn't that busy. The food and the decor look like they were set 25 years ago and haven't changed. Our lamb tenderloin was excellent and the wine list decent and well-priced. However, the food took forever (amazing for a restaurant that wasn't that busy) and there were other quirks. For instance, we were given different wine glasses even though we were drinking the same wine. (For winos, we were drinking a Rhone, and I was given a Bordeaux glass and my partner given something like a chardonnay glass). I commented on this but wasn't given an explanation or better glasses. The potatoes au gratin were cold and the green beans were lame (they look like ones the kind I have at home when they are twice left over). The salad was tasty but was simply butter lettuce with a couple of very thin tomato slices. This restaurant isn't bad, but it isn't reaching its potential, nor is it the high end place it presents itself to be. Half of what they're doing is right, but being both pretentious and slapdash is not the way to earn repeat customers.

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