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seattle italian

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A smaller Italian restaurant, Mercato Stellina, opened December 1st less than a block from the north end of Pike Place Market. It creates a diverse compliment to its neighbors in the same building: the long-established and fine seafood restaurant Cutters Crabhouse, and Mercato Stellina’s also newly-opened sister restaurant Chavez, which serves Mexican food.

Mercato Stellina has an intimate feel: the narrow galley shape of the space, low lighting, sophisticated high-end music, and the combination of tables and counters, some at which you can directly watch chefs/cooks as they prepare your dish. Seated at another counter, you can sometimes glimpse head pasta maker Joe Obaya creating fresh pasta for the restaurant through a glass pane. He has worked extensively in the restaurant business, doing his internship at the Herb Farm after culinary school years ago and now exclusively forms pasta for both Mercato Stellina as well as Cantinetta’s two locations. Last summer, Joe spent time in different areas of Italy researching and shopping for good Italian pasta-making machines and also studying techniques used by generations of pasta makers in the little town of Lecco.

Mercato Stellina’s Tagliatelle and also Sausage Pizza.   All photos:  Alethea Myers

Some of the ingredients on the menu are somewhat adventurous, such as utilizing unusual seeds grown at Steel Wheel Farm in Fall City, WA for pickled watermelon pieces (similar to sharp chutney) which accompanies honey on the burrata cheese antipasti. Or giant Alaskan octopus, cracked raw egg, rabbit, and toasted grasshopper, all featured on different pizzas or pasta.

Aspects of the menu will be changing out 4-5 times per year depending on the season, including some cocktails, and eventually may include a special Market Menu that features specials of the day. If you live in this zip code or work in the restaurant industry, you can receive 10% off your bill with their Neighborhood Discount. A 20% service charge is added in lieu of tip.