Featured: Barolo Ristorante
There's a restaurant in downtown Seattle that sits between overgrown sidewalk trees and a skyscraper with reflective, purple glass. It stays open late, illuminating the city streets with its neon sign, and serves french fries that could give your grandmother an orgasm. But, you probably already know that about McDonald's.
So, if you're not in the mood to get super-sized on mysterious trans fats and questionable moral practices, you should consider the Italian joint across the street called Barolo Ristorante. I've recommended this place more often than any other restaurant in Seattle in the year that I've lived here. I'm still discovering new favorites in the city, but this is one I always come back to.
I first became aware of Barolo when I moved to Seattle in the winter of 2016. I'd just come back to my home state of Washington after 11 years in Los Angeles. Growing up in rural Seabeck, I'd never gotten to know the city outside of annual shopping jaunts and scammy "career training" at the Barbizon School of Modeling and Acting. I was looking for somewhere to celebrate my birthday, and I was missing the ambiance of the many candlelit restaurants I'd come to love in LA. Seattle is brimming with colorful dive bars and places you'd be almost encouraged to graffiti your name in the bathroom walls. While that can have its own brand of charm, I was hoping for something with a bit more linen and a bit less permanent marker. I'd been Googling restaurants, and the elegant photos of Barolo suggested it might be just the ticket.
I called to make a reservation, and I mentioned that it was my birthday. When my family and I showed up for dinner, we were directed to a beautiful private dining nook hidden in sheer curtains. A chandelier sat over our table, and six menus were already placed where we were to sit. It took us a few minutes of perusing the selection to realize that the paper menus had been customized for the evening. Typed at the top of each was a personalized birthday message for me. They even spelled my name correctly, which is a rare feat in and of itself. This was the moment, if I could pinpoint it, that I fell in love with Barolo.
This was before I discovered their happy hour. Since then, I’ve spent many (many) happy hours there, enjoying five dollar glasses of wine and half off a bar menu that boasts such dishes as handmade spinach ravioli, fresh mozzarella caprese, and a sizable portion of cheesy eggplant parmigiana. Bottles of Italian red, white, and rose wine start at just 18 dollars. Happy hour is twice daily, from 3-6pm and then a reverse HH from 10-close. Sundays host happy hour from 3-close. Basically, what I'm saying is that you should consider wearing loose clothing--maybe a drawstring--because you'll be diving face first into a feed bag of reasonably priced, delicious Italian food. Bear in mind that this feeding ground is not recommended if you're planning on fitting into your skinny jeans the next day. Unless you're prepared for them to become your destroyed jeans, I'd steer clear of happy hour--that is, unless you have any self control. If so, feel free to disregard this warning and enjoy a meal in moderation. They even have salads there.
However you want to do Barolo, get it done. With or without their impressive happy hour smorgasbord, Barolo is a must for anyone visiting or living in Seattle.