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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Mon 5:00pm–10:00pm
Tue–Thu 5:00pm–11:00pm
Fri–Sat 5:00pm–midnight
Sun 4:00pm–10:00pm

Features Good wines
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


2429 2nd Ave.
Seattle, WA
(206) 728-5181
Creative Italian in a space with just the right amount of Belltown glitz

Branzino had barely collected its first round of fawning reviews when original chef Ashley Merriman answered the siren’s call of Top Chef. That was a bummer, but her replacement, Quinton Stewart, who worked at Tilth and also under Merriman, has plenty of experience following the tenets of local, seasonal cooking. The quality has remained consistent and high.

The name isn’t a misnomer: seafood is Branzino’s strong suit, with the namesake fish sharing the menu with local catches like halibut. Homemade pastas are also strong, and the best of them often showcase seasonal treats like wild mushrooms. The wine list is concise and careful, with bottles that will match well with this food.

Branzino is like an amuse-bouche for Belltown. The space is hip, but not chilly, oddly themed, or too ‘80s or ‘90s. The high-backed wooden booths are attractive, if not terribly comfortable, and offer a bit of privacy in a small space that often gets packed and loud. On weekends, there’s eye candy galore, but during the week, this is a cozy local spot where everyone knows each other. Or at least that’s how it feels.

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