If Cafe Pettirosso sounds familiar, it's because the newly opened spot is actually a newly reopened spot. It's been under construction for nearly a year--until its opening last week--undergoing more than $100,000 in renovations under new owners Miki and Yuki Sodos (of Belltown's Bang Bang Cafe). The cafe occupies a piece of prime Capitol Hill real estate near the corner of 11th Avenue and E. Pike Street but is the very definition of hidden gem. Even if you know Capitol Hill, chances are you've walked by without noticing. I have.
And though I'd heard Pettirosso mentioned before and have been eyeing the progress on the remodel, I clearly hadn't been paying close enough attention. See, I heard "cafe" and planned to find the sort of coffee-centric cafe that dots nearly every street corner in the city. Instead, I found a cafe that actually reads more like a bistro, where the coffee is great but plays second fiddle to the impressive array of edible options, here available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.If you want a serious cup of coffee, you can find that at Pettirosso: Lighthouse Roasters is brewed and the folks behind the espresso machine know how to make a proper cappuccino. There's a tiny walk-up counter right when you enter where you can pick up a to-go cup and something from the pastry case, which offers a stunning assortment of buttery goodies--and even a few vegan ones--like cinnamon-swirled banana bread, miniature pumpkin pies with brûléed marshmallows, chocolate-covered eclairs, and biscotti. In this way, Pettirosso is very like the cafe I expected.
But look beyond the espresso machine and pastry case and you'll see a full bar--the kind with alcohol!--and a beautifully, though sparsely, decorated dining room. Choose to stay and order off the menu and you'll get table service and a top-notch meal. The food is vaguely European with a few Asian influences, and what we tried was lovely. It was even better with a cup of that fine coffee.
This is a place that succeeded before and will blossom even further, I think, under this new ownership and with such aesthetically striking modifications made. The ambiance reminded me of Ballard's Fat Hen, which is always packed. As soon as people catch on that Pettirosso has reopened, I'm sure they'll flock here, too.