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Italian Restaurant Recommendation for Birthday Dinner

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My son will be turning 17 in a few weeks and has asked to celebrate with dinner at a "real" Italian restaurant (not a chain) with excellent food. Sadly, in the 4 years we've lived in Washington, our family dinners have mostly been on the Eastside (Issaquah/Bellevue area). It's a special occasion so budget and location not really an issue. While I want it to feel special - with two teens in tow I think a casual/lively atmosphere versus a formal/date night type setting would be best, and somewhere that takes reservations would be even better. Any recommendations on places to look into would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. How about Bizzarro Italian Cafe in Wallingford (http://www.bizzarroitaliancafe.com/)? It is lively and casual. I had the elk bolognese there last week and it was spectacular. It's esp great this time of year becase it is relatively open-air dining. One drawback, it is a little bit loud.
    For something a little mor traditional, I always recommend Salvatore's n Roosevelt. I don't think they take reservations for parties of less than 6 but they are very family friendly so I bet if you called and told them it was your son's birthday they would work it out. Order anything off their specials board and you will be happy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bourbongal

      +1 on Bizzarro. Funky, (bizzarro) decor feeds the eye and mind and delicious food feeds the soul. Parking is on the street, so depending upon the day, you may want to get there early rather than later.

      1. re: firecracker

        +2. Perfect pick for a 17 year old.

    2. Cascina Spinasse. Not "red sauce" Italian, but Piedmontese inspired. You won't regret it.

      1. I think La Spiga should be in the running, too. Good food, great space, and a cool Capitol Hill vibe that I think would be right for the occasion.

        1. These are all good answers. Can't beat Spinasse for high-end pastas, Bizzarro for fundkadelic and tasty creative. Salvatore is a hidden Gem and I agree that whatever Salvatore has on Special will be somewhere between very good and transcendent (and it feels like the set of a mob movie).

          1. My favorite Italian in the Seattle area has to be La Medusa. They offer Sicilian inspired pastas and mains, with deep, uncomplicated flavors that lend themselves to comfort eating.

            1. It doesn't get much love on the board, but you might consider Tulio downtown. I've only been for lunch, but they've been great lunches! They have a "private" room upstairs, if that's something that would make your kid feel special. I also love Travolata in Belltown.

              1. I think Barolo would fit that bill nicely. The food is good (solid) and has a vibe-y atmosphere.

                Another suggestion is Cafe Lago but that might be too neighborhood-y.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Lauren

                  Good call on Barolo. Excellent food and nice atmosphere.

                2. Our most favorite place in Kirkland is http://www.ristoranteparadiso.com/
                  Ask for the corner table.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wwahl

                    Way too sedate for a kid turning 17. I like Paradiso too, but not a happening place for a kid turning 17.

                  2. I think for what your looking for, Bizzaro would be a great hit with the teens, the food, the atmo, and the staff interaction.

                    Call them and talk about it, and book a table as Al Fresco as you can get... Eat the specials. You will not regret it!

                    1. IsabelF,

                      Let us know what you eventually pick, and I hope the teens have a really fun evening.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Gizmo56

                        I second Gizmo's sentiment, IsabelF. Hope his birthday is wonderful!

                        1. re: firecracker

                          third