Populating an ever-changing menu with seasonally dictated fare, Four Swallows crafts cuisine with ingredients sourced from local farms and seafood harvested by sustainable methods. Prepare snapping jaws for sustainable snacking with a starter of Mediterranean mussels, partnered with smoke paprika, Spanish sherry, tomatoes, cream, and bruschetta ($14), before sating deep-dwelling hunger with an entree such as the salmon, with caramelized fennel, cara cara oranges, roasted fingerling potatoes, and taggiasca olives ($26). Handmade pastas feature traditional Italian accents, such as the fazzoletti, with thick bolognese ragu and parmigiano cheese ($19).
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.
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.
There was once a pair of friends who shared the same name. These friends—the Gregs—also shared the belief that even casual food should be fresh. So they put their heads together to found Zaw Artisan Pizza, where seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients top carefully crafted take-and-bake pies. Diners can watch over the counter as pizza artistes decorate white, whole wheat, or gluten-free crusts with toppings such as free-range chicken breast, hearty spinach, and fresh artisan cheeses. Each pie leaves the shop unfrozen—as evidenced by the lack of freezers in all six stores—to be baked to a golden crisp inside the customer's oven or backyard iron forge. To further their commitment to quality, the Gregs strive to source local ingredients from neighborhood farmers' markets whenever possible, and craft each batch of dough with Bob's Red Mill flours.
Housemade Italian Cuisine | Quirky Decor | Artistic Staff | Sunday Pasta Special
The Vibe: The Stranger boils Bizzarro Italian Cafe’s interior design down to this: "weird-stuff-all-over-the-place decor." Within this eclectic space, which used to be an auto workshop, Seattle Met has spotted "gilt-framed everything" and flea-market chandeliers, while Seattle magazine noticed a bicycle hanging from the ceiling.
When to Go: If you're craving a comforting plate of spaghetti and meatballs, plan to visit on Sunday, which is the only day Bizzarro serves it.
Get ready for some singing. Kathleen, an early Bizzarro waitress, frequently improvised operatic tunes about her customers, and today's servers—often artists themselves—are also known to croon from time to time.
Gremolata: an Italian condiment that typically consists of finely chopped garlic, parsley, and lemon.
Bolognese: an Italian meat sauce, typically made from onion, celery, carrots, wine, tomatoes, and meat. Though many places traditionally use beef or pork, Bizzarro favors a rarer game: elk.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Where to Sit: In addition to the dining room, there are two outdoor seating areas. If you're a people watcher, ask if there's a table available on the front sidewalk. If you're looking for more privacy (and shade), request to sit in the courtyard under the tree.
About Chef Celinda Norton
Affogato: a sweet drink made by topping gelato or ice cream with a shot of hot espresso. The Italian name translates to “drowned,” referring to the slowly melting ice cream.
Gnocchi: Italian dumplings made of potato, flour, or semolina. They’re often accompanied by sauce, meat, and/or vegetables.