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Mar 1, 2013 05:53 PM

Moderately Priced Italian

Yes, Spinasse is wonderful, but what are your favorite neighborhood Italian places that don't break the bank? I'm a native East Coaster spoiled by the excellent American Italian and Regional Italian options I had there. Here I'm a bit more skeptical.

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  1. Don't mean to hijack your thread but Spinasse was a spot which we were thinking of going for our anniversary when we visit Seattle for the first time in May.

    Apart from price which I can get from their menu, any other comments?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Mac

      There are many on this board if you do a search. Do go. Get the tajarin with butter and sage. End of hijack. :)

    2. Hi, CMSeattle:

      In Ballard, I enjoy Pasta Bella. In upper Fremont, I favor Swingside.


      1. You're right to be skeptical. Most of what's cheaper than Spinasse is not great. The two places that I think of as defining "Nabe Italian" here would be Bizzarro (in Wallingford) and Machiavelli (Pike/Pine) both of which I rate "okay but not worth a schlep."

        There are other good Italian options in outlying neighborhoods - La Rustica in West Seattle - but they aren't cheaper than Spinasse (much less Altura)

        I moved here from Brooklyn in 2005. Suffice to say, my own red gravy is much better now than when I left NYC.

        1. How is Branzino, or Ethan Stowell's restaurants? I haven't eaten at any of them, but they look like the first places I'd want to try.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Jay F

            Hi, Jay:

            I had my birthday dinner this year at Branzino, and I liked it a lot. Great food (get the grilled octopus), check. Small, classy joint, check. Great service, check. Worked out really well, and did not feel like it was in a Stalinesque mixed-use highrise.

            To me, pricewise it seemed like it was perched halfway between a neighborhood joint and the high rent district.

            Please Phil, bring back Lofurno's!


            1. re: kaleokahu

              Good to know. I used to live near the Market, and I ate at just about every restaurant in Belltown, but it's all changed so much in 30 years.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                I had totally forgotten about Lofurno's. Thanks for the memory.

            2. About 10 years ago I had a delicious meal at a family owned Italian dive on Lake City Way near 15th (i think), back when I was still a student.

              I went searching on google maps, and I am saddened that it appears they have closed.

              3 Replies
              1. re: alarash

                it was GASPARE'S and was, indeed, wonderful and affordable. after a truck drove into the front door, they moved to phinney ridge but then they sold it, the quality slipped and they have sinced folded.

                i enjoy IL BISTRO in the market but it is at the upper end of "affordable". terrific food and really charming ambiance but mid-range rather than inexpensive.

                1. re: howard 1st

                  I lived in Seattle 30 years ago, and ate at Il Bistro all the time. Loved it. Who imagined it would still be open.

                  1. re: howard 1st

                    Hi howard 1st,


                    It was definitely Gaspare's. I went with 5 other guys, all in our mid 20's. we sat around a large table, the server was the owners daughter. I remember feeling bad for them as the place was empty on that particular weeknight.

                    I wasn't optimistic for the food. Ordered the most expensive thing on the menu ($17), a mixed seafood pasta. It was delicious. I would have considered it a bargain at $25.

                    I ordered a similar dish at every Italian place I've dined at since, and have never been as satisfied.

                    I hope the owners family is doing well, and hope their fortunes have turned for the better. The one night I spent in their company was a memorable one, and I'm grateful to them for it.