Owner Mike Salimi mans the counter at Nova Restaurant most days, opening and closing the cash-register drawer and handing over pizzas, homestyle burgers, sandwiches, and seafood to hungry customers. He has finely tuned his pizza recipe throughout the past 20 years, using trial and error to arrive at his current series of steps: hand-making pizza dough, homemade sauce, and toppings that are purchased each day. He also whips together an array of seafood dishes, including oysters, prawns, and Irish-style fish 'n' chips made with halibut or cod and coated in a specialty batter. He hangs colorful abstract paintings on the eatery's yellow walls, which is the closest humankind will ever get to decorating the sun.
Bella Vita offers a menu of authentic Italian entrees, traditional weekend brunch, and an expansive, international wine list set amid an inviting interior spotted with low-hanging lights and sleek marble accents. Once the green-napkin flag has been waved, diners are free to tear around the entree track, crashing into Arista alla Milanese, featuring braised pork shoulder stewed in white wine and sage, topped with a sausage-and-bacon sauce, and served snuggled with potatoes ($18). Smoked stacks of salmon fettuccini alfredo will impress even the most critical mermaid dates ($19), as will antipasti dishes such as the olive-oiled caprese ($10) and the gamberi rossi, featuring sautéed prawns with shallots and fresh tomatoes in a white-wine sauce ($12).
At Lucia, the signature spaghetti comes with white truffle-oil fondue, homemade meatballs, pink sauce—and a minimalist backdrop. The restaurant's split-level dining room is a study in simple black and white, brightened by a smattering of red throw pillows and candles. The space's clean lines shift the focus to the culinary team's upscale versions of Italian classics, which have been featured in The Food magazine. Entrees, for example, range from chicken parmigiana with béchamel sauce to grilled wild salmon in a saffron reduction. Pizzas, meanwhile, come crowned with gourmet toppings such as basil pesto, crimini mushrooms, and prosciutto.
Preservation's plates of Pacific Northwest cuisine change with the season. Start with a plate to share such as buttermilk-tempura-battered calamari ($9), onion gnocchi ($8), or duck leg confit ($12). Main courses from the sample menu include an all-natural roasted pork loin perched atop a ziggurat of risotto made with apples, leeks, and hazelnut ($25), and the ling cod tronchonette: pan-seared Bruce Gore cod with sautéed parsnips and leeks and sourdough crouton in a citrus broth ($21). Preservation's dishes use locally grown, organic produce and sustainably-raised meats and wild fish whenever possible (click here to see a list of its local producers). Pair your meal with Preservation's wines from smaller wineries throughout the Northwest to make a deliciously local dinner. Or stop by for soup ($6 for the soup of the day), salad ($8 for a salad with baby spinach and cranberries), a sandwich ($13 for a smoked duck sandwich), or Benedicted eggs ($10–$12) and gravied buttermilk biscuits ($8–$9) during brunch on the weekends.
Hailing from the Italian island of Sardinia, Fabrizio Loi graduated with honors from Italy's national culinary college. He's put that experience to good use as the owner and head chef at Ristorante Paradiso. There, Fabrizio orchestrates a menu of classic Italian dishes. But instead of strictly adhering to traditional recipes or reading the instructions embedded into every lasagna noodle, Fabrizio puts his own spin on things. Diners reap the benefits of Fabrizio's culinary creativity when they sit down for gourmet pizzas at lunch, or dinner dishes such as cannelloni gratinati—pasta crepes stuffed with ground veal, chicken, and mozzarella and enhanced with a tomato and besciamelle sauce.
Antlers, wooden beer barrels, and exposed stone walls line The Lodge Sports Grille’s interior, where a bar crafted from rough-hewn wood shines like a showpiece. Behind it, custom wooden shelves stocked with top-shelf liquor and more than 70 beer taps drilled into stripped logs tempt thirsty patrons. The decidedly lodge-like feel of the restaurant spills over into the menu, which features hearty fare such as half-pound burgers, beer-battered halibut, and steaks aged for 28 days or placed in a time machine and sent 28 days into the future. Along its 40-foot solid maple bar top, patrons lounge sipping fresh, housemade sangria while viewing 60-inch flat-screen televisions which can be viewed from all angles of the house. Those eager to unwind in more natural surroundings may admire the roaring flames of The Lodge's double-sided stone fireplace during daily happy hour sessions and beyond.