The Hours: 3-5 p.m. M-F.
The Digs: What's small, incredibly>"/>
The Place: Queen Margherita, 3111 W. McGraw Pl., 548-4908, MAGNOLIA.
Killer Queen Margherita pizza.
The Hours: 3-5 p.m. M-F.
The Digs: What's small, incredibly adorable, has some of the best pizzas in the city and is totally off the radar? Queen Margherita. The pizzeria sits at the base of McGraw in an old strip-mall and is easily overlooked by many, but certainly not by the locals who flock to it. The shiny new brick oven imported from Italy is the visual stunner nearly outdone, however, by a giant white archway that separates the quaint little bar from the dining room (check out the photo slide-show on Queen Margherita's website). For a quick second, you might think you're about to be greeted by a row of slot machines instead of bar stools, but the facade grows on you pretty quick. The pizzeria isn't garish, but it sure is amusing in a "Where are we?" sort of way. The Queen is owned by the same family who owns La Vita e Bella and the nearby Mondello, but they managed to make Queen Margherita different. It's like the younger sister who is determined to break away from the pack and be the star of the family.
The Deal: A half-dozen appetizers are discounted anywhere from $2-$4. We sampled the bresaola ($6) which came thinly sliced and topped with arugula, a squeeze of lemon and shaved grana padano (hard Italian cheese) followed by a heaping platter of the carta di musica ($4), which is the pizzeria's homemade flat bread drizzled with olive oil, fresh oregano and sea salt and served (in a coffee mug) with a side of tomato sauce for dipping. There's also caprese, salumi and an assortment of marinated olives for the taking. A red and white house wine are offered for $4, as is the beer on tap. But the real deal is the pizzas--some of the best in Seattle. We asked young pizza chef Devin Dukes why his pies are so good and got a modest answer: "Our pizza is good because we love to make pizza. We also use the very best ingredients on the market while keeping an eye out for new wonders."
There are 13 pizza offered for $10 on the happy hour menu, which is basically their regular menu minus the daily specials. We opted for the popular Margherita and the funghi, which was covered with button and portobello mushrooms (the default 'shrooms unless chanterelles or morels are in season), fresh mozzarella, thyme, truffle oil and grana padano. Both delicious, but we preferred the mushrooms which were well seasoned and chewy and just the perfect fit for our mood on a Friday evening.
Bresaola ($6 during happy hour).
The Verdict: Our recommendation? Go hungry and get a couple of pizzas. If you need an appetizer too, you can't lose with any of them, but the bresaola paired with the flat bread is a little slice of makeshift pizza heaven that's hard to resist.