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Monday, July 15, 2013

On Italian Food in Burien

Posted by on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Vince and Ada of Vince's in Milan, 1954.
  • Vince and Ada of Vince's in Milan, 1954.

A reader writes on Italian dining in Burien:

There are twelve such restaurants in town including pizza places, and they are surprisingly good, each in its own way. My favorite is the cheapest and least pretentious plate service and tablecloth place, Vince's. Great food, fair prices, no hassles.

In particular, I would like to recommend Arcadia, at 17642 1st Ave. S, We went there on Friday night; the specials were seafood ciopinno (spelling? Italian bouillabaisse) and blackened halibut, which latter I found quite tasty and the former, quite appetizing by sight and perfume from afar. In the $20 per person range before drinks. Good service, Patsy Cline, Eartha Kitt, et al jazz in the background.

The owner has... has made an heroic effort to upgrade her establishment. The restaurant, tucked away in a nondescript strip mall, has been remodeled and the menu upgraded. My meal tasted better to me this time, though my wife found the gyro plate as good as the one she had during two earlier visits a year ago. Tatziki sauce particularly fine; fresh brewed iced tea of the best kind. Far as I can tell, she (the owner, not my wife) deserves a fair review from you and corresponding boost to her clientele. The place was two-thirds empty on a Friday night; what a waste. As if Seattle had enough first-rate, reasonably-priced restaurants to leave any of them unattended.

Now, if we could only get a good breakfast place or two within a short walk of High Point (plus a neighborhood grocery store and/or retail mall closer than the California Ave train wreck of them, the promise of which unfulfilled leaves a mixed neighborhood on the ragged edge of being a slum), life would be good. CountrySide Café in Burien is by far the best, and still too far away.

For what it's worth. Ciao, chow and bon appetit, Ms. N.

Vince's in South Seattle was great, and there was much sorrow when it closed; good to hear a positive report on the Burien branch. Pretty much everybody who's ever been raves wildly about Bistro Baffi in Burien, named after the chef/owner's facial hair ("baffi" means mustache in Italian).

Anyone, any more intel on Italian in Burien?


Comments (21) RSS

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loopback 1
I'm sorry, but Vince's is NOT good food. It's craptabulous plastic red-checkered tablecloth breadsticks-in-a-plastic-sack level italian food. With Bistro Baffi just a short drive away, there's no good reason to go to Vince's.

Seriously, someone saying that Vince's is "good food" tells me that they have no ability to discern good Italian food from drek.
Posted by loopback on July 15, 2013 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Filiberto's is good. Had a better location in SeaTac, but same great food.

Hey Paison! also good-- Italian-American sub shop. The guy who runs it will call you a "paison" the whole time you're there. Allegedly not an insult.

You can get very good Italian at 909, too. Try the rigatoni, it's excellent.
Posted by tacky on July 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM · Report this
FWIW the Vince's location in Renton is just as good as the Renton Ave location was, in my experience. Not in Burien, but just giving more props to Vince's.
Posted by pbelamy on July 15, 2013 at 10:57 AM · Report this
@2: Oh yeah, Hey Paison! We've written about that guy before:…
Posted by Bethany Jean Clement on July 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 5
I *love* Hey Paison! They are the closest I've had to classic old-school East coast Italian subs out here. Super, super authentic. I grew up eating these.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on July 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
Akbar Fazil 6
Unfortunately, Hey Paison! closed down a few months ago. So sad.
Posted by Akbar Fazil on July 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 7
@1, it's all about different styles for different moods. I like both types of places - Baffi's is all "compose my plate, dammit", while Vince's is all "let me spew chopped garlic all over this for you". Life is a smorgasbord.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on July 15, 2013 at 11:22 AM · Report this

I used a GroupOn for Bison Creek Pizza in Burien which was a neat rock bar and pizza place and noticed along the way there were at least 4 other pizza-Italian places (including Vince's who are great).

Sitting outside at Bison Creek, it reminded me of the good ol' days in Ballard before most of you were born or moved here. No high rise condos. Just an open air deck and reasonably priced food with no arrogance.

Downtown Burien has some suburban-TOD development but it's also still nice because it kept all the independent small town stores there. There are many Italian/Pizza places there as well!

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 15, 2013 at 11:37 AM · Report this

craptabulous plastic red-checkered tablecloth breadsticks-in-a-plastic-sack level italian food.

Ah, not from the East Coast...where every basic Eye-Tie place is like that...good Sicilian and Neapolitan places.

And Baffi sounds good as well, looks more like the Tuscan foodstuffs I ate while working on a farm just outside Florence.

Italy is many places in one, friend.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 15, 2013 at 11:40 AM · Report this
disintegrator 10
I have to speak up on this one: Osteria da Primo is a fantastic little Italian restaurant in Burien. The owner/chef's name is Carlo Guida; he's Calabrian by origin (I think), and an absolutely fantastic chef. His wood-fired pizzas are phenomenal. The wine list is impeccable.

Seriously. Go there.
Posted by disintegrator on July 15, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Report this

If any of you ever feel like putting the pedal to the metal and venturing deep into the 47th district, there's Isabella's in Covington...very good:

And for the real Black Diamond, Mama Passarelli:

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 15, 2013 at 11:56 AM · Report this
@6: Really?! Any idea why?
Posted by Bethany Jean Clement on July 15, 2013 at 12:03 PM · Report this
disintegrator 13
@11: Isabella sucks. The owner, Moe, is a nut job. I've seen him rip into his servers in front of patrons for imagined slights. Anyone who goes there should fear for their lives.
Posted by disintegrator on July 15, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Osteria da Primo, Vince's, Angelo's and Bistro Baffi. All worth checking out.

Bistro Baffi is far and away the 'best', but you pay for it. Fresh everything, great service, excellent food. Off the main stretch of 152nd which makes it a great find. Better than any Italian south of Pioneer Square (including West Seattle).

Angelo's is very old school. The bar is great too.

For Italian and Mexican, Burien pretty much rules.

And yeah, The Countryside is a great diner. Close by is Meander's Kitchen which is also very cool, and has a vibe much of downtown Seattle has lost.
Posted by Meinert on July 15, 2013 at 12:17 PM · Report this

Great review...from a guy who doesn't know what a regular Italian restaurant looks like...I suppose where you come from they don't have wine bottles in wicker holders and houses don't have a donkey with a cart that has flowers in it either.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 15, 2013 at 12:38 PM · Report this
disintegrator 16
@15: I... Whaaaaaa...?
Posted by disintegrator on July 15, 2013 at 1:38 PM · Report this
I also like Vince's very much--miss the Rainier Valley location. Good old school Italian---love the meat sauce and the sausages. Will check out Baffi and Osteria.

As far as Burien, for one in West Seattle, its the closest neighborhood for really good American Chinese---Lucy's Kitchen.
Posted by neo-realist on July 15, 2013 at 2:29 PM · Report this
I second "tacky's" recommendation about Filiberto's. At their former location closer to SeaTac, they even had an outdoor bocce ball playing area.
Posted by cineaste on July 15, 2013 at 3:11 PM · Report this
@1. Agreed.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on July 15, 2013 at 3:59 PM · Report this
@6 I had no idea. Been out of B-Town for a little while now. Very sad indeed. That guy seemed like he really loved running that little shop.
Posted by tacky on July 16, 2013 at 6:40 AM · Report this
Arcadia is just like eating in Greece! Their french fries with Gyro are without a doubt the best ever. The lemon soup is a daily staple and defies description,, You could miss the place when driving by but it would be your loss. Nike.... Just Do It
Posted by Justagreatdoc on July 16, 2013 at 11:00 AM · Report this

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