Tavolàta

Editor’s Pick

$$$ Italian

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Belltown’s hottest spot is so coolly Italian it practically has a Vespa parked out front. Wait—that is a Vespa parked out front, owner Ethan Stowell’s, for zipping between here and his other restaurants (How to Cook a Wolf, Anchovies and Olives, etc.) Few chefs comprehend exactly what it takes to wow a palate like Stowell does. Here, he wows with fresh housemade pastas, tossed simply with elegant enhancements like veal brains and brown butter, or short ribs and parsley. Truth be told, we prefer the main dishes—richly braised meats like lamb shank with eggplant; a masterful plate of branzino—since the short-order mandate of the pastas can get the better of its bustling open kitchen when the place gets slammed. And here we should note that we’ve never seen this concrete-and-wood lofted urban hot spot with the windows that open onto the sidewalk not slammed: The big communal table in the center fills up fast, and the energy is irresistible.

Last updated: 10/22/2013