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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Tue–Sat 5:30pm–10:00pm

Features Good wines, outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Not accepted

4212 Fremont Ave. N.
Seattle, WA
(206) 633-4057
Brad’s Swingside Café
A Fremont institution known for its laid-back quirkitude and simple Northern Italian

Out of all the Italian places in Seattle trying to create authentic hominess, Brad’s gets closest to the mark—it’s a shack (excuse us, cottage), with creaky floors and screen doors. Dining here feels like being a kid playing “restaurant” in your friend’s garage. There’s even baseball memorabilia on the walls.

No, you don’t understand: it really feels like dining with your family—one panelist saw the chef burn the Bolognese and throw it out, all the while cursing and talking about it loud enough for the entire dining room to hear.

Even the most grown-up parts of the menu have a hominess to them: hearty dishes like wild boar and venison pasta in a light tomato cream sauce, or seasonal seafood farfalle with baby fennel root and wild mushrooms, are much like haute versions of meals once shrouded in the innocuous comfort of childhood: they’re rich and tasty, if short of spectacular.

Although the wine list is extensive on paper, you never know what they’ll actually have in stock. Generally speaking, you’ll find good, rustic Northern Italian wines without any bells or whistles. But that too is fitting—if anything were too polished here, it would feel out of place.

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