Restaurant Review: Cicchetti

Mediterranean nibbles in Eastlake
Lorna Yee  |   April 2010   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

Our city’s obsession with small plates won’t die—and Cicchetti (pronounced chi-KET-tee) is one of the latest restaurants to hop on the miniaturized-portion bandwagon. The little-sister restaurant to Serafina in Eastlake is a bustling neighborhood joint that from the outside resembles a modern converted barn. Inside, a blown-glass flowering showpiece of a chandelier hangs overhead, bathing the attractive, 30-something patrons in a flattering glow. If you’ve not had warmed olives before, try them here—they’re delightful little bites, served with chile and mint ($4). They pair wonderfully with any of the well-balanced cocktails on the list, such as the Caravan Spirit, a lovely blend of brandy, Oloroso sherry, citrus and a house-made cardamom/mace tincture ($7). The food is Serafina chef Dylan Giordan’s take on Mediterranean, and you can get a decent meal with some careful ordering. The best dish on the menu is the salt cod fritters ($6)—rich with plenty of flaked fish but little binder, beautifully fried golden brown orbs that surround a little mound of piquillo peppers. (Wish I could say the same for the pallid, limp fries with romesco, $6.) From the wood-burning oven, the chanterelle mushroom and fontina cheese pizza ($13) is good, with a springy, toothsome crust—slightly more substantial than what’s in vogue at the popular Neapolitan pizza joints in town. The Moroccan spiced lamb ($14) came cooked medium-well, yet still tender, with too liberally salted lentils and cold, pale triangles of doughy flatbread—in short, neither bad enough to send back nor good enough to finish if you aren’t very hungry. Cicchetti is the place to go if you’re in search of a lively scene, quaffable cocktails at a good price, and a nibble to offset those cocktails. But if you’re expecting more, you’d do best to head next door.

Dinner, Tue.­–Sat. Eastlake, 121 E Boston St. 206.859.4155 $