Marcela's Creole Cookery uproots the definitive flavors of authentic New Orleans cuisine and Cajun fare and packs them into a menu brimming with robust seasonings and exotic meats, as mentioned by Seattle Weekly contributor A.J. Tigner. With 30 combined years in the restaurant world, Marcela's owners have created an inviting eatery that pays homage to the Big Easy with vibrant, playful colors showcased in contemporary artwork. Red-clothed tables coddle piping-hot platters of creole delicacies, including muffaletta po boys, hearty gumbos, and fried ocean critters such as shrimp, alligator, and crawfish from Poseidon's personal crustacean collection.
A sidewalk patio with shaded seating flanks Cafe Bengodi's corner façade, appealing to passersby with promises of authentic Italian cuisine and al fresco dining. Chefs deliver on this promise by doling out antipasti rich with cheeses and salamis, then cooking mounds of homemade pastas and fresh Neapolitan pizzas. Espresso, beer, and wine accent the meal and allow patrons to propose toasts as a subtle way to drop a hint that they need a new toaster.
Salumi's house-cured meats "are as good as they get in Seattle (and, arguably, the world)"––at least, according to The Stranger. Of course, co-founder Armandino Batali thinks they're pretty good too. And he should know. Armandino––who also happens to be the father of famed TV chef Mario Batali––comes from a long line of Italians dedicated to preserving the culinary traditions of their homeland, and his grandfather even opened Seattle's first Italian foods store in Seattle, just a block away from where Salumi now sits. Still, you might wonder how Salumi's artisan-cured salami, prosciutto, coppa, and sopressata can compare to–-or even trump–-those made on Italian soil. For starters, there's the state-of-the-art curing facility, which Armandino–-a former process control engineer at Boeing––has custom designed with cutting-edge equipment that allows his business to utilize old world curing techniques without violating strict, modern-day food safety standards. Then, of course, there is the meat. Huge proponents of the slow food movement, the team at Salumi chooses only the best pigs from family farms across the country, including many raised right in the Pacific Northwest. Today, Batali and his wife and co-owner Marilyn share the business with their daughter and son-in law, who have expanded the operation to sell not only sandwiches and goods, but also to provide its quality cured meats to delis, restaurants, and homes everywhere. Besides sliced meats, the storefront also serves up specials such as homemade soups, pastas, and rotating specials, and can provide party platters and sandwich trays for nearly any event, except Charlotte's Web viewing parties.
Growing up in the Italian port town of Brindisi, Luigi DeNunzio frequented the colorful outdoor markets with his father. Surrounded by stalls bursting with local produce, meat, fish, and dairy, Luigi discovered his love of rustic cuisine composed from the freshest regional ingredients. After immigrating to Seattle in 1977, Luigi amassed experience in both cooking and business while working at a handful of the city's Italian restaurants. In 1989, he opened Al Boccalino, where tables covered in white linen host plates of hearty Italian fare. Since then, Luigi has expanded his oeuvre to include cooking classes as well as a second, more casual eatery, Caf? Bengodi.
Burrata: a ball of cheese consisting of a thin shell of mozzarella on the outside, and a rich blend of cheese curd and cream on the the inside. Derived from the Italian for “buttered” or “buttery”.
Tempranillo: a full-bodied, slightly spicy red wine made from Spain's most famous variety of grapes. It pairs best with simple meats and aged cheeses.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Browse eerie tales and puzzling tomes at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop (117 Cherry Street).
After: Sip a cocktail made with Pacific Northwest spirits at The Forge Lounge (65 Marion Street).
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.