My girlfriend and I stopped by Bottega Italiana in the afternoon to give it another try. We'd last been there about a year ago, soon after it opened, and we were impressed with the flavors but really disappointed in the texture of the gelato--it was generally pretty hard and icy.
I'm happy to say that the texture has gotten significantly better, and I'm really impressed with the quality of their gelato. I don't know if they were just having freezer issues in that first month or what, but nothing was overly icy this time. They still had to scoop it with a scoop instead of a paddle, but so it goes.
We tried watermelon, sour cherry, yogurt, pistachio, and stracciatella. The watermelon was a trifle too sweet but had a very genuine flavor, right down to that sort of celery-ish aroma that a slice of watermelon has when you bite into it. I don't know that I'd order it again, but it impressed me. Sour cherry was good. Yogurt was fantastic, very smooth texture, had a nice tang to it that was perfectly balanced with the sweet, kind of like cheesecake but not as heavy.
Pistachio was some of the best I've had (although I think Mio Gelato in Portland is still the best). It was grayish and tasted very toasty. Stracciatella was fine, but didn't distinguish itself for me amongst the other good flavors.
I'm really excited about how good gelato in Seattle has gotten, even just in the last year. La Dolce Vita has started making a very impressive product--it's very different from anything I ever had in Italy, but who cares, it's tasty as hell. My girlfriend brought home a pint of frutti di bosco from La Dolce Vita a couple of months ago. I had a bite while wearing my gelato snob hat, commented "This doesn't taste like real gelato to me," and then proceeded to immediately eat half the pint.
Bottega Italiana is making legitimately great gelato now too, and Gelatiamo continues to put a smile on my face every time I walk through the door. I feel pretty fortunate to have this many good options in Seattle at this point. I'm going to need to head back to Procopio and see how it is these days.
As a side note, I went on a trip to NYC in May and stopped off at Il Laboratorio di Gelato (on the LES, I think). We went there largely because it had so much buzz on the Chowhound Manhattan boards. Maybe it was the day we went there or something, but it really wasn't very good. They had a really nice cinnamon gelato, but all the rest of the flavors that we tried were either okay or bad, and it was all frozen rock-hard. Pretty disappointing.
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