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Editor's Explorations - Bizzarro

  • Written by Kristen Hamilton

During a recently aired episode of the popular Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, longtime host Guy Fieri visited Seattle and presented an interesting segment on the Bizzarro Italian Café.  Our neighbors, big fans of the show, suggested that we give the establishment a try. 

IMG 0479In the show, Fieri regularly features “funky joints” and in this episode highlights the eclectic and whimsical atmosphere that is Bizzarro---housed in a former auto workshop.  Fieri samples a few specialties including the Elk Bolognese and described it as being “monster tender” and not gamy at all.  Since it’s only a short drive to the Wallingford neighborhood, we thought it was time to check it out with our friends Brad and Pam.

Long before the Food Network feature, Bizzarro has been a Seattle favorite since 1986.  There is always a crowd clamoring to get in to enjoy delicious scratch made pasta, check out the funky décor, and become fast friends with entertaining and very capable wait staff.  In checking out their website post visit, I realized that Jaedra James, who was our server, happened also to be a co-owner!

When we arrived we were told the wait would be 45 minutes (they only take reservations for groups of six or more) so we gave our number and went next door to the Blue Star Café and Bar for a drink.  Bizzarro does have beer and wine but there is no bar or other seating area inside.  The gal at Blue Star was great, and we discovered immediately that many people followed this routine.  Turns out we only had to wait about 25 minutes, and the phone rang.  As we paid our bill at Blue Star our waitress encouraged us to come back for a nightcap or dessert (she said they were stellar). 

Back at Bizzarro, we were seated and immediately loved the place.  The décor was awesome and included unique and varied forms of lighting as well as tons of interesting photos, art and Americana.  It is a lively (and loud) but fun setting.  We shared the Arancini (risotto balls stuffed with cheese then breaded and fried) appetizer, and the sauce was so delicious we mopped the plate clean with our focaccia bread.

For the main courses we all tried a different entrée and everyone was pleased with their choices.  My husband Bob ordered the Elk Bolognese and loved it while I selected the Sugar Snap Pea Carbonara.  It was so flavorful, light and delicious!  We want to come back and try a couple of the more uniquely named dishes including “I Gnocchi What You Did Last Summer,” “The Forest Floor Frenzy,” and of course, the Sunday specialty known as “Sunday Night Meatball.”  Based on what we’ve sampled so far, I am sure they will be tasty! It certainly is easy to see and taste why the Food Network crew featured Bizzarro.  And yes, we did walk around the corner to the Blue Star Café for a nightcap and a delectable bit of dessert, which made for a perfect ending to a great meal and evening.  http://www.bizzarroitaliancafe.com

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