Bar Cotto

Cozy Italian on Capitol Hill

By Seattle Mag July 30, 2013


This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Bar Cotto (1546 15th Ave.; 206.838.8081; is the latest outpost in Ethan Stowell’s growing culinary empire (Tavolàta, How to Cook a Wolf, Staple & Fancy, Rione XIII, Anchovies & Olives). Its snug confines are a tasty paean to Italian cured meats and other treats inspired by “the boot.”

Mood Lighting and Amaro
Next door to (and sharing bathrooms with) Anchovies & Olives, Bar Cotto has a more intimate and sparse atmosphere, with urbane metal tables and bar, candles and the now-inescapable dim Edison lightbulbs. While the wine list is manageable and full of interesting Italian choices and a few choice Northwest numbers, start with one of the cocktails that highlight an Italian amaro (the herbal digestif Italians adore). A delicious example is the Old Loathsome Bastard ($11), with Old Overholt rye and Averna amaro aged in oak casks and combined with the beautiful saffron-hued Italian liqueur Strega, Pür blood orange liqueur and peach bitters. Its depth and interlaced layers of herbal, bitter and orange accents coalesce to serve as an ideal start to a meal.

Sliced Meats
The open kitchen is highlighted by a white-tiled pizza oven and a shining red, commercial meat slicer. There’s also a chalkboard listing the more than 15 Italian salumi available ($7 each, three for $18, five for $25), including treasures such as mortadella and speck. I suggest getting the torta fritta ($3) with the meat—they’re hot little bread puffs you wrap the sliced salumi around, making a scrumptious meat doughnut of sorts. The menu also features vegetable delights (the escarole with hazelnuts, $8, is a crisp pick) and an array of pizzas, including a woodsy Funghi ($15) with roasted mushrooms, fior di latte, thyme and truffle oil.


Join The Must List

Sign up and get Seattle's best events delivered to your inbox every week.

Follow Us

Sorry, we couldn't find any posts. Please try a different search.