Field Notes

Boca Bakes Up Argentina's Deep-Dish Pizza—and Beautiful Pastries

All-day cafe Boca Argentine Bakery and Pizzeria brings Buenos Aires to Broadway.

By Allecia Vermillion November 7, 2022 Published in the Winter 2022 issue of Seattle Met

Andrea Casas-Beaux oversees a counter where pizzas, pastries, and empanadas beckon throughout the day.

Image: Amber Fouts

A dazzle of pastries greets you at the entrance to Boca Argentine Bakery and Pizzeria: pastelitos, bite-size chipa cheese breads, coconut coquitos, and dainty churros piped with dulce de leche. Beyond these await the medialunas, the pastry that willed this cafe full of plants and swelling violin music into existence.

When pizza stalwart Pagliacci left this space on Broadway, the landlord asked Marco Casas-Beaux, owner of Boca Restobar and Grill just three doors down the block—what would you do with this space? His response was spontaneous, and it involved breakfast.

“The medialuna is what I was missing” from childhood, says Casas-Beaux, in full raconteur mode. “In Argentina, we don’t eat the eggs, we don’t do bacon.” After he emigrated from Italy to a coastal town south of Buenos Aires, childhood mornings (or his midday breaks from school) involved two medialunas and an espresso.

Boca makes fat Argentinian-style pies in a variety of flavors, plus a thinner crust "masa madre" version.

Image: Amber Fouts

These pastries resemble a croissant, subtly sweet and more spiritually aligned with bread than pastry. Molly Harrison (a fellow Argentine and head baker here) makes two versions that live up to Casas-Beaux’s memories, plus a flotilla of other cookies, cakes, pastries, and meringues cultivated from various South American traditions. His daughter, Andrea, runs things. Baking is a brand-new business for a family that’s infused Latin flavors into our region for decades (Casas-Beaux founded the original Cactus). Even the empanadas get baked, rather than fried—and still you can’t help but utter a few admiring expletives upon biting into one.

The all-day cafe is one of the most inviting spaces on Broadway.

Image: Amber Fouts

Once the morning denizens have spent a few hours sipping cafes con leche, the pizza oven gets busy. The fugazzeta is another souvenir from Casas-Beaux’s upbringing. Consider it criminal Seattle had to live this long without our own outpost for Argentina’s signature pizza, born of the country’s Italian ties. Its thick, fermented crust and edges of caramelized cheese date back to the 1890s but are very on point for 2022 pizza culture. On top: oceans of gooey mozzarella italia, olive oil, and the lightest of caramelized onions. That’s it. Maybe a decorative sprig of oregano.

“The pizza weighs like two and a half pounds,” exclaims Casas-Beaux. It also bears a striking resemblance to Detroit-style pies. It’s pizza greatness, best consumed inside Boca’s languid cafe, where the caffeinated hum of a La Marzocco and regulars lingering at cool marble tables reprise Buenos Aires afternoons, even on this unforgiving stretch of Broadway.


Boca Argentine Bakery and Pizzeria 426 Broadway E, Capitol Hill; 206-322-1063

 
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