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noryglory Aug 25th, 2005 04:53 PM

nice seattle italian restaurant with mature kid
Hi everyone, I have been reading previous posts about Seattle restaurants and I'm just getting pulled in different directions.

Want a downtown Italian restaurant that is elegant enough for rich Grandma but not too fancy for five-year-old. He's very mature and does NOT like to dine in a noisy restaurant, but could do with a kid-friendly menu (not "child's menu," necesarily, just basic items like spaghetti and meatballs would be helpful).

I'm searching on other sites and so many seemingly decent places get slammed for poor service and/or subpar entrees, I really don't know what to think. Lots of restaurants get dinged for being noisy also, but I don't want to go so quiet that it's too "romantic" lest we ruin the scene with a small child (albeit well behaved).

Anything fit for us out there? Again we're trying to go Italian in the downtown area. Restaurants I've seen info on include Assaggio, Pink Door, Vivanda, Troiani, La Fontana, any others? I'm not limited to the previous list, these are just the restaurants I've been looking into and feel lost. Thanks for any tips!

mms Aug 25th, 2005 05:15 PM

I have not been to the other restaurants you mentioned, but we have been to Assaggio and love it. We have taken our children, and it was fine. I do not remember a childrens menu, but the regular menu was not a problem at all for us. It is a very nice restaurant and I think it would fit your situation nicely.

suze Aug 25th, 2005 05:49 PM

Assagio's would be my choice. It's a lovely restaurant. Truly reminds me of Europe. Some more sophisticated food but also the classics (like spaghetti and meatballs). They have a website, have you seen it?

La Fontana is also very very nice too but more formal less cheerful atmosphere.

Pink Door I think of as a fun place to drink at the bar on the patio (not the best match for a rich Grandma).

Not to confuse things but I'll toss in Il Bistro in the Pike Place Market as another possibility.

Sorry am not familiar with Vivanda or Troiani.

sgorces Aug 25th, 2005 05:49 PM

Salute near Safeco Field on First Avenue. Salute is an old Seattle standby and this is its new location.

dsquared Aug 25th, 2005 06:01 PM

I love the Pink Door, but I wouldn't refer to it as elegant. How about Il Fornaio?

happytrailstoyou Aug 25th, 2005 07:04 PM

Whether we are entertaing friends, business associates, or children, we go to Il Fornaio for the up-scale atmosphere, excellent food, professional service, and sensible prices.

Your five-year-old will like the noise level, and he will find many dining options, but not spaghetti and meat balls.

seattlesue Aug 26th, 2005 08:12 AM

I will second the recommendation for Il Fornaio. The food is great and the setting is very nice. Grandma might even enjoy shopping at some of the shops at Pacific Place.
By the way, didn't Vivanda close recently or am I thinking of someplace else?

stormygirl Aug 26th, 2005 09:08 AM

I don't really like Il Forniao but that is just because it's a chain and I like to try to do the Seattle restaurant thing. My top 2 Italian places would be Tulio on 5th, fantastic restaurant- service- ambiance- etc. The chef Walter Pisano is fabulous. Il Terrazzo Carmine on 1st in Pioneer Square would be my 2nd, beautiful and elegant with to do for food, service can be a bit more aloof here.

I've been to Troiani is completely overpriced and the food has slid since Rick Troiani has been forced out of the company.

Assagio is good but I don't consider it elegant at all. It is casual and loud and there are lots of red sauces!

Vivande is closed I think????? hmmmm, why do I think that? darn, can't remember.

Il Bistro has been nice in the past, I haven't been in about 5 years but I,m not sure why.

if you were not set on just downtown I would suggest my absolute favorite Serafina on Eastlake.

christy1 Aug 26th, 2005 09:16 AM

Vivanda is closed. I think Il Fornaio
isn't terrible, just very forgettable, certainly not great or authentic Italian food. BUT, with a 5 year old, I imagine authenticity isn't your highest concern.
If you have a car, Cafe Lago is a well loved neighborhood (Montlake) restaurant that has very good Italian food AND tons of people bring their (well-behaved) kids there.

happytrailstoyou Aug 26th, 2005 11:17 AM

Il Fornaio has a children's menu with a a good range of choices priced from $2.95 to $5.50, and you will not forget your meal there is if choose the calarmari, the antipasto, and the Pizza Christina.

And, norygolry, beware of those who denigrate the suggestions of others.

BTilke Aug 26th, 2005 11:27 AM

We used to go to the Il Fornaio branch (now closed) in Portland and while the setting was terrific, agree that the food was neither terrible nor memorable.
FYI, Seattle Fodorites, is Palomino's still in business (it was near the Sheraton)? I used to have some nice (but casual) meals there. (It's not a "rich Grandma" place though, whether or not the food is still any good)

suze Aug 26th, 2005 11:33 AM

Well... I also don't care much for Il Fornaio either (no one's denigrating anyone for goodness sakes just expressing a different opinion).

I agree that Assagio's food will not live on in memory, but for what ever reason overall I like it very much. I consider it a solid place where I have enjoyed any meal I had.

I loved Serafina but haven't been in a couple years (don't know why).

Same with Il Bistro, while I am who mentioned it above since it seemed to fit the original request, my many visits there are awhile back now.

Il Terrazzo Carmine is a good addition to the list. Also in Pioneer Square how about AL Bocalino?

p.s. I thought of this post when I saw a tourist family heading in to La Fontana on my way home last evening.

happytrailstoyou Aug 26th, 2005 11:43 AM

Yes, Palomino is still there, but it's a chain (that started in Seattle). Tulio's is part of the Kimpton chain. Il Terrazzo Carmine is not child friendly, in the least. Il Bistro is a dark little place--good place for a tryst.

Tutta Bella Pizza is a very good neighborhood place.

Serafina has the best garden dining.

The best Italian restaurant is Café Juanita, in Kirkland.

The fact that a restaurant is locally owned doesn't make it good any more than the fact that a restaurant is a chain (which doesn't exclude local ownership or operation) makes it bad.

stormygirl Aug 26th, 2005 11:55 AM

Just to clarify- I didn't say a chain was bad, I said that I preferred some other places in Seattle. :)

I've only eaten in the bar at Palomino and thought it was very good, I totally forgot.

Cafe Juanita is a LONG way from downtown seattle. Funny I love that place too but all my friends hate it! I think I'm a sucker for any place that lays out chunks of parm for you to nibble on! haha!

happytrailstoyou Aug 26th, 2005 12:04 PM

Cafe Juanita is a 13.5 mile drive from downtown; it takes less that one-half hour if you don't go during evening rush. It includes crossing a floating bridge on Lake Washington with a great view of Mt. Rainier on a clear day and a drive along an appealing stretch of the Lake Washington shore line and through the town of Kirkland (where I used to go to pick strawberries in the summer).

noryglory Aug 26th, 2005 12:19 PM

Thanks for everyone's opinion. I think we will avoid Il Fornaio just because we've 'been there done that' in other cities; it's not a bad place, but I do agree with the sentiment to pick a local Seattle joint. So let's get back to Assaggio's. From those who have been, how "casual and loud" is it? Would smartly-dressed dad and son taking grandma out to dinner look out of place there, that is, is it a jeans and tees crowd?

And, regarding the noise: we went to Buca di Beppo on our July 4 vacation and my son HATED every minute of it. All he wanted to do was leave the entire time due to the extremely loud environment. Basically I can't trust "this restaurant is good for kids" statements because I think "good for kids" is a secret code for "your noisy child won't be heard over the din" and that doesn't work for us. Assaggio is not Buca-loud, is it?

suze Aug 26th, 2005 12:26 PM

No, it's not that kind of loud. I have only been there at lunch (many times) since I work nearby. It has two large high ceilinged rooms and the tables are close together. So in that way it can be noisy. No, it is not a tshirt and jeans kind of a place IMO.

suze Aug 26th, 2005 12:30 PM

unfortunately it's mostly photos of the smiling owner (i was hoping they'd show the dining rooms) but you can see a menu anyway.

mms Aug 26th, 2005 12:34 PM

Suze described it very well. We have been there for dinner several times and while it is not a dressy establishment, smart casual is perfect. I know exactly what you are saying about "child friendly" restaurants, lol! I think this would be a perfect spot for you based on our experiences there.

magiccarpet Aug 26th, 2005 01:02 PM

What a whacky hen party! I'm glad you're only shopping for meat balls and not for something that reallly matters. Leave the important stuff to somebody else.

Let the kid make the choice. He seems to be the one with good sense, from what I read.

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