I went to Volterra in Fremont on Saturday night for dinner with my wife. The restaurant is situated on the site of the former cajun / creole restaurant Burke's on the old stretch of Ballard Ave in Ballard.
The food is modern Italian with an emphasis on simplicity and fresh seasonal ingredients. Our first reaction was that the menu read like something straight from a Michael Romano, Jamie Oliver or Mario Batali cookbook.
The wine list has a good range of Italian wines at good prices with some interesting by-the-glass selections (our favorite - a rich merlot blend from the Veneto region).
Bread, herbed salt and olive oil made a nice starting touch.
Our starter was a beet salad - it was ok. The greens were "supermarket" fresh and the beets chopped too fine. When you've a farmers market outside your door weekly - as Volterra does - supermarket fresh is below standard.
The main courses were much better - a veal scallopine with fresh morels, rapini and fingerling potatoes with a nice reduction, and a fava bean risotto. The risotto was superb and the veal /morel combination was great - the one letdown being the rapini which was somewhat overdone.
Our deserts included a chestnut honey panna cotta and a tiramisiu, followed by expressos.
The stretch of ballard around the restaurant offers
some good bars for post-dinner live music also.
Overall the food, setting and location were great and we would go back again. We did note a couple of first month glitches - the staff were in too much of a hurry to clear away the plates, coming around three times while we were still eating.
The style of food they are attempting does set a very high bar for freshness - if they can reach that they could be one Seattle's best Italian restaurants.
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