Dinner at Barolo, Belltown

Our first visit here was due to an opentable dining voucher we got after making (and fulfilling) 20 reservations on opentable. This is an excellent Italian restaurant! There aren’t that many in Seattle; most of them are American-Italian and serve all kinds of ridiculous un-Italian things on the menu. We LOVED this place, plus it’s really near to West Elm so it’s nice for a spot of shopping afterward.

We started with the Antipasti platter, which is the chef’s selection of cold cuts and cheese as well as some nicely marinated and grilled vegetables. The broiled garlic bulb and the shiitake mushrooms were especially nice! I’m always more impressed by perfectly grilled vegetables with nice charring than with nicely sourced prosciutto/gorgonzola. This is definitely one of the top ten antipasti platters I’ve had in my life (the first time I had it was at Banfi’s at the Cornell hotel school, and that was also one of the best times)

They usually serve some excellent, oily, house focaccia with a savoury tapenade which we always finish. And I don’t even like olives. But so many places serve tapenade with the starter bread that it’s growing on me. The focaccia is also so good one usually winds up finishing the entire plate without intending to.

Z had the chicken in marsala sauce, sorta like a saltimbocca but chicken instead of veal, and no prosciutto wrapping. The baked potatoes with rosemary at the side went really nicely with it and had a great crust! I shall not think about how much oil they had to be coated with to achieve that kind of crust in the oven/cast iron pan.

I ordered the King crab pasta with a sherry sauce, and it was divine. The crab flavor permeated the sauce and the noodles had a great bite and great width. The crab was very fresh and there was quite a lot of it too! Will definitely order this again; it’s a little similar to an aglio olio but with a more water based sauce than oil based. The fresh grape tomatoes and parsley and garlic slices really complemented the crab.

For dessert, Z ordered a poached pear with hazelnut gelato – he really loves his wine poached pears. I wonder what pears they use for this – we had the creamiest tasting “christmas” pears from the metropolitan market last december – basically comice pears, but fresher than the ones at QFC, and local.

My chocolate fondant was tiny! Maybe 2 inches in diameter. Sure, it was melty in the middle, had juicy blackberries atop and creme anglaise swooshed around the plate, but it was still really tiny.

I like the execution here a lot. The place is otherwise dark, noisy (the bar adjoins the dining area and they do not bother turning the music down), and even if you make a reservation you may have to wait for your table. But I will gladly overlook all of that for their amazing food.


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