Went to the brand new Caffe Zaffarano last night. It's so new it still smells like paint, and there's no art yet on the stylishly stuccoed walls.
We'll definitely be back - but with a different strategy. Here's the full report:
A man (whom we immediately named Stanley Tucci) greeted us - and though oddly surly, gave us a booth. The 2-sided menus were handed to us entree side up - it wasn't difficult - but a little strange that we had to turn the menu over to get a full picture of the offerings. The menu was not short (2 pages of apps/salads/pizzas/pastas and entrees) but also not that exciting. The wine list was short and in my Italian loving opinion - great - we had a very nice Dolcetto for under $30.
There were 4 salads, 2 soups, a half dozen appetizers, including clams, white prawns & calamari (grilled I think) but no anchovies or sardines. They offer about 4 each pizzas and pastas - almost all with meat - the pizzas are fired in a wood burning oven. pasta sauces include both a ragu and bolognese. Entrees range from a plate of grilled veggies (why does that annoy me?) to several cuts of meats to a couple of fish dishes.
We spilt a nice spinach and radicchio salad with gorgonzola, candied walnuts and orange segments. the spinach was crisp, the dressing light and not overpowering, and the salad was huge, but we wished there had been a better (larger) goodies to greens ratio. we then split a special pizza - billed as fontina, arugula & olive, finished with lemon zest. i don't know why but i was expecting a white pizza. i was also expecting a thinner crust (a la cafe lago or la medusa) the pizza was ok - but the fontina was not noticable, the sauce a little thick and the crust a little chewy too. the arugula was delicious - it's so good when just allowed to wilt on something hot. the lemon - when well distributed was a nice touch.
The last dish we shared was a special pasta - tagliatelle with giant oyster and chantrelle mushrooms. This dish was so good - thyme and diced tomatoes finished it - there may have been veal stock in there - I didn't ask but it was amazing.
Portions are huge - we boxed half the pizza up - if it had been thinner...
Finally we split dessert - cold frangelico zabaglione. not at all what I expected, but wonderful - very light with just the barest hint of hazelnut. With that we asked our waitress if they had any dessert wines. Stanley Tucci appeared out of thin air with a split of Moscato D'Asti that was out of this world good. He was genial, Italian, and expressed delight with his first few days in the neighborhood. I was charmed and vowed to return immediately.
Finally - a classy place in WS that's a little bigger and hipper than Ovio. We'd tried to go on monday but they were closed. We went next door to Angelina's (despite numerous mediocre meals) vowing that if it was the same, it would be our last visit. It was as predictably Olive Garden as ever - and cost only $10 less than Zaffarano.
Hooray to Seattle for demanding more - and Hooray to restaurant owners who heed the call!!