Seasonal ingredients are the driving force behind Streamliner Diner’s daytime and evening menus, which change quarterly to reflect the freshest product the area has to offer. Breakfast sticks to classics such as omelettes, biscuits and gravy, and scrambles, but added ingredients like smoked salmon, pesto sour cream, and ginger-marinated tofu elevate them above typical diner fare. The dinner menu takes a truly upscale turn with pan-fried risotto cakes, beef tenderloin with rhubarb red wine sauce, and pastas interwoven with enough fresh veggies and herbs to make a multivitamin squirm. Streamliner Diner also features an extensive wine list showcasing vintages from Washington State.
At Bison Creek Pizza & Pub, the past meets the present in both food and d?cor. Located inside the historic Burien Theatre, the pizzeria serves its gourmet pies from a modern kitchen, but it pours mixed drinks from the theater's original saloon-like bar. A stage has replaced the screen, and free live shows blare music across the expansive room regularly. Bison Creek's menu exemplifies the same juxtaposition of tradition and change, boasting specialty pizzas that it's served since opening in 1975, now with modern twists such as gluten-free crusts, soy cheese, and invisible slices.
Customers can build their own pizza, but the pub is known for its gourmet options such as the 6th Gear?a pizza piled high with chicken, bacon, and artichoke hearts simmering garlic cream sauce with onions and garlic. The menu has expanded as well. Grinder sandwiches filled with tender pulled pork or heaps of salami, bacon, and pepperoni come with a pile of fries, and the kitchen produces pasta dinners with homemade sauces such marinara, alfredo, or pesto cream.
After leaving his hometown of Naples in 1964, Mario Vellotti made his living tossing pizzas in various kitchens across New York City, eventually opening pizzerias in all five boroughs. Now, he’s brought his famous pies to Seattle. In the New York tradition, his slices “are so huge that just one and a beer probably put you over the recommended daily intake of carbohydrates,” according to Seattle Weekly. For those who prefer whole pies, he makes massive 18-inchers to order, topping them with gourmet ingredients such as Italian ham, homemade pesto, and gorgonzola cheese.
Big Mario’s maintains its laid-back vibe with the help of a full bar, the star of which is a collection of 40-fluid-ounce cans of Olde English 800. There’s even Jägermeister on tap for diners who are in the market for something harder or who are looking to do a post-pizza shot.
As if giant slices and shots weren’t appealing enough to party-loving crowds, Big Mario’s also keeps late-night hours. It stays open until 2 a.m. on weekdays and until 4 a.m. on weekends. After bars begin closing, regulars here start lining up at the walk-up window for a final slice, which they can chow down on while sitting at the bar or just standing on the sidewalk.
Over the course of his pizza-making career, Lance Brough has helped open restaurants from Little Star Pizza in San Francisco to Pi in St. Louis. Many of these have achieved acclaim—President Obama loved the meal he ate at Pi so much that he had its owners come make pizza at the White House, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.
Today, Lance dishes up both thick and thin pies at Kylie's Chicago Pizza—named after his business partner's daughter Kylie. "It's kind of a West Coast version of a Chicago-style pizza," he says of the eatery's signature dish. Though "it's not the heavy, greasy gut bomb" that diners might expect, it does have a deep-dish cornmeal crust, as well as the seasoned, chunky tomato sauce found on Chicago's famous pies. And just as in Chicago, the deep-dish creations take about 30 minutes to bake under an indigenous Midwestern dragon's scorching mouth fires. Piping pies arrive at tables clad in custom toppings or specialty combinations, including the Chicago Classic, which hosts Illinois sausage spiced with sweet fennel, as well as onions, green peppers, and mushrooms.
The staff keeps three local beers on tap at all times, including Fremont Brewing's Interurban IPA and Georgetown Brewing's Manny's pale ale. They also pour area wines, including Pacific Rim's riesling, which Lance says is consistently praised as one of the state's top wines. As they sip, guests can admire local artwork, which is swapped out every two or three months to thwart slow-moving art thieves.
The first thing a visitor to La Fontana Siciliana sees is a wrought-iron pergola and gate. Sequestered just off the street and behind the gate is a courtyard filled with cozy seating, a bubbling fountain, and the entrance to the first of La Fontana's three intimate dining rooms. A single light illuminates each antique table, and waiters stroll through the rooms carrying one of the many traditional Sicilian dishes found on La Fontana's menu.
Dinners often start with appetizers such as marinated calamari or garlic bread, followed by pastas such as wild mushroom fettuccine and smoked salmon on linguine. The chef prepares four risottos nightly, and his signature dish of lamb tenderloin with figs, imported olive oil, and marsala-wine sauce can always be seen on tables. A wine list has been carefully cultivated to complement the menu's dishes, and every waiter is well versed in the best pairings.
A piano room in the back of the restaurant is constantly filled with the sound of ivories singing. The history of La Fontana Siciliana's owners lines the walls, with heirlooms from their homeland and souvenirs from their journey to America, such as a violin or the customary party hat given to immigrants on Ellis Island.
Although La Vita E Bella Cafe is physically distant from its Italian roots, it preserves one of the most important parts of home: the coast. Seafood infuses its menu—from appetizers of garlic-marinated octopus to the Siciliana pizza, topped with tuna, onions, kalamata olives, and capers. The kitchen's emphasis on freshness persists beyond its sautéed prawns, though. Owner Giuseppe Forte heads out multiple times a week to purchase groceries for his chefs, ensuring that their bruschetta and pollo cacciatora contain crisp veggies and fresh herbs. Then there’s the crepes—three kinds enveloping such Old-World ingredients as champignon mushrooms and prosciutto di parma.
Yet it’s pizzas that form the base of the menu. More than 20 specialty-topping combinations include the salsiccia, which boasts sausage and broccoli, and the gorgonzola, which mixes its namesake cheese with walnuts. As diners match their slices to a selection from the sprawling wine list, they can tune in to the lilt of live accordion music, which evokes the ambiance of Italy's streets and keeps dates from trying to fill conversational pauses by reciting their favorite Matlock plotlines.