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The Classics

Three Seattle restaurants that have never changed (and never should)—plus a few tips for discovering something new about an old favorite.


Ristorante Machiavelli
As far as cozy neighborhood joints go, there’s no beating Capitol Hill’s Machiavelli. Aside from daily specials, its menu has been the same for decades—two pages of exactly the right Italian basics: pitch-perfect bolognese, gut-bomb carbonara (in the best way), light and lemony picatta, veal saltimbocca, a tuna carpaccio appetizer and olive bread that’s so delicious it disappears before 8 p.m. every night. Machiavelli is family-owned by Tom and Linda McElroy—and Linda even does the cooking at least once a week.

TRY THIS Linda’s pumpkin cheesecake. It’s seasonal, and it’s reason enough to drop in and sidle up to the regulars shooting the shit in the bar.

Jack’s Fish Spot

Lunch and counters go together like fresh fish and Pike Place Market. Jack’s Fish Spot brings it all together: Steamed clams and mussels, creamy chowders and pungent cioppino, and hearty fish and chips are served in a no-frills setting amidst the market’s bustle. Lifelong fisherman Jack Mathers has run the joint—which doubles as a seafood retailer less expensive than the haddock-hurling Pike Place Fish across the way—for almost 30 years.

TRY THIS Talk to Mathers about his band. When he’s not selling salmon, the Seattle-born-and-bred fishmonger makes kickass classic rock.

Tempero do Brasil
Antonio and Graça Ribeiro came to Seattle from Bahia, Brazil—a tropical paradise of sandy beaches and cultural fusions—and their restaurant reflects the flavors, traditions and low-key atmosphere of their roots. Graça is the chef and Antonio works the tables, taking the occasional break to jam with local musicians playing Samba and Bossa nova on Thursday and Saturdays. Tempero do Brasil makes its home in Ravenna inside an unassuming house with an enclosed porch. The staff converse in Portuguese and serve wicked caipirinhas.

TRY THIS The feijoada, a sumptuously slow-cooked stew of black beans, beef, smoked pork and bacon that is Brazil’s national dish.

Illustration by Tom Dougherty

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See more in the November 2011 issue   →