Bar Cantinetta Has an Impressive, Everyday Bistro Appeal

Allison Austin Scheff  |   January 2014   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
bar cantinetta madison valley seattle magazine
Steak tartare topped with a quail egg at Madison Valley’s Bar Cantinetta

It’s easy to heap praise on special-occasion restaurants that pamper and impress us. And we love discovering a place that’s cheap, yet makes craveable food. But the depth and breadth of Seattle’s restaurant scene is best judged by the quality of our everyday bistros, our corner eateries, the places we frequent so often we sometimes don’t give them quite enough thought. The new Bar Cantinetta, which opened in Madison Valley in late August—the small sibling of the Cantinettas in Bellevue and Wallingford—is a perfect example; every dish sounds (and, you later find, tastes) so good on the concise Italian menu, the service is expert and easy to engage, the small, cozy room is comfortable and superbly lit, and the price points are in that sweet spot—not cheap, but not expensive. One evening, an excellent version of steak tartare ($13), here aggressively seasoned and topped with a quail egg, arrived first. Then we happily lost ourselves in a shallow bowl of tagliatelle ($14), given the cacio e pepe treatment (cheese and black pepper) but made creamy with an egg yolk and crème fraîche. There were seasonal starters—figs wrapped in speck and then roasted, with fresh mozzarella and arugula ($10.50) in autumn—and a meat or fish entrée on offer, but do leave room for sophisticated, scrumptious sweets by pastry chef Karen Krol, formerly of Ba Bar and recently featured as a 2013 Tastemaker in Seattle magazine’s Best New Restaurants issue. Lunch Tue.–Fri., dinner Tue.–Sun. Madison Valley, 2811 E Madison St.; 206.329.1501; barcantinetta.com 

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