Welcome to Nosh Pit’s week of unsung heroes, in which we gently remind you of some fine establishments that sometimes get overlooked for newer spots.
Open Since: 1997
Let’s be honest—restaurants that aren’t in Capitol Hill, downtown, Ballard, or Belltown get short shrift. Doubly so when you get south of Interstate 90. But Sicilian-driven La Medusa in Columbia City is a neighborhood restaurant, doing rustic, seasonally driven dishes—just like its newer, buzzier counterparts—and doing them very well.
In the words of our critic, Kathryn Robinson…
The bold, briny flavors and Moorish influences of Sicilian food were unrepresented in this town till La Medusa took a chance on Columbia City. The place is now on its second set of owners (they also own the terrific Columbia City Bakery down the street), but they’ve retained the classics—the salt cod fritters in tomato sauce bright with capers and garlic, the spaghetti con le sarde studded with sardines, raisins, pine nuts, and olives—and even bettered a few things, like crispy-crusted pizzas. In summer, try the prix-fixe Market Dinners when the Columbia City Farmers Market is in full bloom. Though the restaurant can make legitimate claim to culinary pretension, it’s just-folks enough to give the kids a hunk of pizza dough on arrival. It’s small, but uncomfortable chairs keep the waits short.