The 14 Best Italian Restaurants in Seattle
For the tastiest pasta dishes and wood-fired pizzas in Seattle, look no further than these dining rooms.
While Seattle isn’t necessarily known for its expertise in Italian food, our collective approach to cuisine makes us incredibly well suited for the job. Think about it: We’re surrounded by some of the most fertile farmland in the country, meaning our produce is impossibly fresh, and, in the last decade or so, we’ve become a bonafide culinary destination. Our chefs are James Beard award-winning, and their food is on point. All that to say: Head to one of these Italian joints in Seattle for your next dinner date, and you won’t be disappointed.
When Il Corvo shut down in 2020, Seattle went into a collective state of mourning for the best pasta to ever grace Pioneer Square. Luckily that pasta—plus the pizza, rib-eye, kale salad, etcetera—now lives on at Il Nido, with chef Mike Easton still at the helm, obviously, a new “aperitivo hour” from 4 - 5 pm, and no reservations required (though they are, unsurprisingly, recommended).
Bar del Corso
Bar del Corso has been the spot for Italian in Beacon Hill since 2011, and it’s easy to see why: Think wood-fired pizza, seasonal specialities, homemade bread, Italian small plates, and a curated wine list, all of which keep us coming back for more. If Neapolitan-style pizza is your thing, this is your restaurant.
Founded by Susan Kaufman way back in 1991, Serafina is something of an institution in Eastlake, where it offers dishes like a bucatini featuring foraged mushrooms and black truffle butter, a orecchiette with fennel sausage and rapini, plus ahi tuna, eggplant involtini, and a bunch of other stuff. Top that off with an affogato, tiramisu éclair, or crostata, and you’ve got the perfect Italian meal.
La Medusa’s nightly rotating pastas add a dose of the unexpected to classic Italian dishes, and often feature local, seasonal ingredients like roasted leeks, broccoli rabe, and radicchio (which should come as no surprise, given that co-owner Meredith Molli also owns Goose and Gander Farm). They’ve also recently opened a sister operation, Persephone, which is right next door and stocked with everything you need for your next picnic, plus a bar that opens at 3 pm.
Ristorante Machiavelli is an ultra old-school Italian joint that’s been slinging pizzas, pastas, and il diplomatico (ladyfingers dipped in espresso and rum, layered with chocolate mousse and whipped cream) since 1988. It’s unfussy, always comfortable, never too expensive, and, thus, an all-around favorite for classic Italian food done right.
Its success has led to a second location in Bellevue, and the smaller, more wine-focused Bar Cantinetta in Madison Valley. And it's easy to see why when you step into this sepia toned space on a quiet corner between Lake Union and 45th street, where they're serving Tuscan inspired handmade pastas like cappellini with peavines, pancetta & a farm egg, and cavatelli with roasted tomato, fennel sausage & mint, plus things like burrata & heirloom tomato, or flank steak with Parmesan butter.
Nestled in a little white house on Ballard Avenue, this impossibly charming restaurant offers rich yet refined takes on Italian American classics ranging from saffron spaghetti bolognese with pork, veal, rosemary, fennel & Parmigiano, to smoked rockfish cioppino with manilla clams, penn cove mussels, gulf shrimp, and a grilled baguette, all elevated by seasonal Northwest ingredients.
Staple & Fancy
It's called Staple & Fancy for a few reasons: 1) Their staple a la carte offerings as well as their chef's tasting menu, and 2) from the original eponymous hand-painted signs found behind a plaster wall. What was once a machine/mercantile shop is now the most interesting of local chef Ethan Stowell's various Italian-inspired ventures, especially when you let the chef feed you his own choice of apps, mains, desserts, etc.
Perhaps inspired by the restrained Italian food infused with Northwest ingredients of his past employer (Ethan Stowell), the chef at this establishment manages to keep both the menu and the space small and simple... but still classy as hell. Look for hand-made pastas, fresh and seasonal vegetables, and a spot at the chef’s counter for a completely up-close-and-personal experience you won't find elsewhere.
The Pink Door
Warmly lit and intimate, this Pike Place Market destination is great to slip into on a rainy night and enjoy a pasta dinner for two, or on a sunny day so you can laze away the afternoon on their rooftop patio with stunning views of Elliott Bay.
Cinque Terre Ristorante
This sleek establishment from the crew behind local mainstays Barolo and Mamma Melina brings a daily taste of the Riviera—courtesy of a rotating seafood-focused menu, an oyster bar, and even Neapolitan-style pizza—to Amazon's Doppler Building. And your stomach, obviously.
Il Terrazzo Carmine & Intermezzo Carmine
This famously sophisticated restaurant boasts meals like the Ravioli di Capriolo filled with venison and wild mushroom sauce, or a pepper-crusted New York steak with shoestring potatoes, plus an adjacent space called Intermezzo Carmine that serves up some satiating cocktails, small plates, and happy hour deals—and also happens to be one of the most beautiful bars in the city.
Despite losing noted local chef Jason Stratton a few years ago, this elegant restaurant located near the corner of 14th and Pine didn’t skip a beat, and still boasts a picturesque interior wrapped around an open kitchen. We recommend the fine hand-cut egg pasta like the tajarin al ragu o burro e salvia, which you could get a small serving of, but why would you when it also comes in large?
Helmed by a husband and wife team who met crushing Deluxes at nearby Dick's, this showy spot boasts seasonal food like a Salish Sea halibut and Ellensburg lamb rack with braised neck, fried ribs, marinated olives, polenta, and orange. But don't worry about those; instead, get the chef’s tasting menu, which will set you back well over a hundred bucks, but gets you five main plates, plus small bites and snacks in between.
Bradley Foster is a former Thrillist editor.