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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Seattle
Food
Feel
Price
6.5
7.0
$40
Italian, Middle Eastern
Upmarket restaurant

Hours
Tue–Thu 5:00pm–midnight
Fri–Sun 5:00pm–1:00am

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

Website

Eastlake
121 E. Boston St.
Seattle, WA
(206) 859-4155
Cicchetti
Better for drinks with a view on the city than meals with a view on pan-Med fusion

At least Cicchetti puts it right out there—the name basically translates to “small plates.” Constructing a full or coherent meal can be even more difficult here than it often is at other small-plates eateries. Influences from around the Mediterranean—perhaps too far around—show up in dishes from octopus with salsa verde and chickpeas to Moroccan-spiced shredded lamb with harissa-spiked yogurt (the former is recommended, the latter is not). The more ordinary dishes tend to be more consistent, with salt cod fritters and simple pizzas making for a pretty satisfying meal. The one must, at press time, was a vaguely Sicilian dish on the dessert menu: ricotta fritters with huckleberry sauce.

Cicchetti clearly harbors a desire to be taken extremely seriously as a restaurant, but the city already seems to have decided otherwise. The place is popular, but most people drop in just to drink. And for good reason: the bar’s contribution is exceptional, with strong specialty cocktails that are inventive (the Visigoth has wolfberry whiskey, dry sherry, Italian vermouth, lemon, and bitters), but well balanced, and not too pricey. As for wine, there’s a medium-sized list with an obvious focus on Italy and the food: most pairings work quite nicely.

The multi-floor mother-in-law-style building is modern and hip, with city views, but its Eastlake location keeps it from being too full of scenesters. Cicchetti is owned by the same folks who run Serafina, but the two restaurants have very different foci and feels.

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