First things first: This place makes the best margherita pizza in Seattle. Its chewy crust is spread with a luscious, almost creamy tomato sauce and milky-soft mozzarella melting softly on top, with basil strewn about ($9).
It’s really no mystery when you know the back story: Chef Jerry Corso built a pizza oven in his Beacon Hill backyard and spent a year perfecting his crusts, working out the kinks and hosting fundraisers so that one day, he and partner Gina Tollentino Corso could make their dream restaurant a reality on Beacon Hill, not exactly a destination for Italian food.
Or rather, it didn’t used to be.
Now, lines flow out the door and onto the sidewalk: young families, groups of friends, neighbors too tired to cook and hungry for the gooey-cheese-centered fried risotto balls ($5), or daily specials like the char-grilled octopus on firm borlotti beans ($9) in a pool of the outstanding tomato sauce drizzled with grassy olive oil (bonus: the leftover sauce is ideal for dipping pizza crust).
Small plates, such as the tender meatballs ($7) and the sautéed clams ($7.50), are remarkably good in their own right, but the pizza here is supremely good. That margherita is hard to pass by ($9), but a perfect puttanesca pizza hits all the salty-spicy high notes ($12.50).
Yet even more than the pizza, it’s the feel of the place—the room-spanning bar, where regulars pop in for pizza and a beer, the high ceilings, the wood-framed picture windows, but mostly the particularly delicious flavor of neighborliness that happens when a great restaurant opens in an underserved neighborhood—that’s such a triumph for the neighborhood. Eat there and you’ll take a little of that “happy” home with you. I know I did.
Dinner Tue.–Sat. Beacon Hill, 3057 Beacon Ave. S; 206.395.2069; bardelcorso.com $$