Category Archives: Did You Know

Italian Restaurant in Seattle: More than Just Pizza

What is Italian food all about?

When the first wave of Italian immigrants came onto American shores, there just weren’t olive oil, balsamico, dried porcinis or prosciutto to replicate their dishes back home. And so they made do with what was available around. This resulted in far more meats and sausages in their dishes. You can say that, hence was how American-Italian food came into being.

Produce rather than protein is what Italian food is really all about. How does a typical Italian meal start anyway? First, there’s the antipasti, which is mostly vegetables, like mushrooms, pepperoni, and artichoke hearts, and cured meats, like prosciutto and capicola. Then you are served a small pasta dish, then a light protein, like a leg of lamb. You will find that as your meal progresses, the more simple it gets. Italian ingredients are so intense a small amount goes a long way.

Italian cuisine is made up of basic ingredients dictated by the season and locality. Traditional products are very important players in the flavors of Italian food. Olive oil, for example is an essential in Italian cooking, and so is balsamic vinegar. Cheeses like Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano are fixtures no decent Italian kitchen should do without.

Experience the Real Italy in the heart of Seattle

If it is authentic Italian cooking you are after, come over to our Italian restaurant in Seattle. We bring the flavors of Italy to your table using only local ingredients in season and cooked in only the proper Italian way. We know great Italian food; we’ve been cooking them in the last 30 years. It’s more than just pizza and spaghetti.

Pick a Pepper!

Peppers are a big part of Italian cooking, and a healthy addition to any diet. All pepper varieties are low in calories and high in important nutrients, among which are vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and fiber. A dish that is rich in peppers serves to strengthen your immune system, keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, and ward off the effects of aging.

At our Seattle Italian restaurant, we make use of peppers in many delicious ways. Try a sausage and pepper pizza, a grilled Italian sausage crostini, or a cioppino with a sweet pepper-tomato broth! It’s a healthy and satisfying way to add a bit of spice to your life.

The Many Benefits of Mussels

When it comes to seafood, the mussel is always a good choice. Not only is it recognized as one of the more sustainable forms of seafood, but it’s also rich in a number of important vitamins and minerals. These include lean protein, vitamin C, iron, folate, phosphorus, and several B vitamins. Of particular note is their content of vitamin B12, selenium, and manganese, all three of which are particularly strong in the humble mussel. A single three-ounce serving of mussels gives you well over your daily recommended requirement for all three of these.

There are many good reasons to eat mussels, and our Seattle Italian restaurant gives you even more. Come and try mussels the Italian way in our cioppino, our linguini de mare, and more!

What is Antipasti?

Are you looking for something to snack on while you wait for your meal at our Seattle Italian restaurant? Don’t look for the “appetizers” on our menu! In Italy, the appetite is whetted with antipasti.

The word “antipasti” literally translates to “before the meal”. This represents the hors d’oeuvre course. In Italy, antipasti come in the form of four different categories: the meats, the vegetables, the olives, and the cheese.

  • Meats: Antipasti meats are usually served cold, like sausages, cold cuts, and cured meats.
  • Vegetables: Antipasti vegetables are generally raw or marinated. The most common selections in Italy include mushrooms, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Olives: Olives are important enough for Italian cuisine to get their own category, distinct from the vegetables. You will almost always find olives in an authentic antipasti course. They will often be served either by themselves or stuffed with cheese, garlic, nuts, or peppers.
  • Cheese: Cheeses are another big part of the antipasti course, usually coming in the form of traditional Italian selections. Some cheeses will be served by themselves, some will be wrapped in meat, some will be stuffed into mushrooms, and occasionally you will find a spreadable cheese to accompany bread.

What is Italian Sausage?

If you’re familiar with Italian food, you’re probably aware that the country is known for a variety of different sausages. With that in mind, do you know what to expect when presented with “Italian sausage”, like the sausage that comes with many of the dishes at our Seattle Italian restaurant?

In the United States, the term “Italian sausage” is generally used to describe a single specific kind of sausage. This is a sausage made from pork, red pepper flakes, and fennel. The end result can be anything from mild to hot, and is characteristic of a sweet flavor. It derives its name from the fact that it gets much of its flavor from popular Italian seasonings. However, if you ask for Italian sausage in Italy, your host is not likely to know what you are talking about.

Copper River King Salmon

Wonder why we serve Copper River King Salmon at IL Bistro?

Copper River King SalmonThe Copper River is a special place. The 10th largest river in the United States, this grand waterway consists of thirteen major tributaries and serves to drain 24,000 square miles. The water in this river runs at seven miles per hour, with an average twelve foot drop per mile. It is for this reason that the salmon that live in this river are some of the most highly prized salmon in the world.

A Copper River salmon needs to be a cut above, as it needs to travel three hundred miles through this mighty river just to spawn. To accomplish this, they have developed extra stores of the omega-3 fatty acids that make fish such an important part of your diet. Omega-3 serves to safeguard your circulatory system, protecting you from heart disease. Fish-based omega-3 improves the way the heart works and makes conditions that contribute to heart disease less dangerous. For these reasons, the American Heart and Diabetes Associations and the U.S. Government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that everyone should eat at least two servings of fish every week, especially “fatty” species such as salmon.

For people who already have heart disease or diabetes, the oils in fish are especially important, as they have the power to mitigate your disease and prolong life. Long-chain omega-3s from fish also help to:

copper-river-king-salmon

  • Maintain normal heart rhythms
  • Reduce the chance of stroke
  • Lower chance of having a first heart attack
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve the pattern of lipids in the blood
  • Improve levels of “good” cholesterol, or HDL
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower chance of blood clots
  • Improve heart rate adaptability
  • Stabilize arterial plaques

Enjoy the deliciously crafted Copper River King Salmon dish at our Seattle Italian restaurant.

Italy’s Little Toasts

Crostini at IL Bistro – Seattle Italian Restaurant

“Crostini” is an Italian word for “little toasts”. The dish comes in the form of thinly-sliced bread, most often white, which has been toasted or grilled to achieve a crispy texture. They are often served with drinks, generally with olive oil and salt for flavor. Alternatively, they can serve as the base for many different appetizers or as a topping for soups and salads.

At our Seattle Italian restaurant, you can enjoy our goat cheese crostini with basil, cracked pepper, and roasted garlic, or our bruschetta crostini, with marinated beefsteak, tomatoes, and basil. Try some with a few late night drinks tonight at IL Bistro!

The First Artichoke

The artichoke is a big part of culinary traditions throughout the Mediterranean area. In fact, the ancient Greeks had a myth about the origins of this curious vegetable. And, as is the case with many Greek myths, it starts with one of the gods falling for a mortal.

As the story goes, Zeus became enamored with a beauty by the name of Cynara. He therefore elevated her to godhood and brought her up to Mount Olympus. Unfortunately, the woman was unsatisfied with her deific life, and would frequently sneak back down to visit with her family. Zeus became so infuriated with her that he turned her into the first artichoke.

At our Seattle Italian restaurant, you can enjoy baby artichokes in the form of our carciofi alla romana. This dish is served with garlic, lemon, parmesan, and herbs. Try it tonight at IL Bistro!

Have Some Halibut!

When it comes to fish, halibut is a great choice. At our Seattle Italian restaurant, we make use of quality Alaskan halibut for our halibut picatta, our cioppino, and more. This delicious white fish has a gentle, mild taste that pairs well with Italian-style dishes.

In addition to the benefits that you find in most seafood, including valuable omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein, halibut has a lot of impressive nutrients to offer. In particular, it is one of the best sources of magnesium, which facilitates the flow of blood through your body. It is also a strong source of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, potassium, selenium, niacin, and folic acid. A diet rich in this fish decreases your chances of heart disease, strokes, and certain types of cancer.

The Italian Meal, Course by Course

Do you ever feel overwhelmed trying to decide what to order at our Seattle Italian restaurant? With so many good options to choose from, it may be hard to be satisfied with only one course. This is why a traditional Italian meal generally consists of about six different parts, defined thusly:

  • Antipasti: The appetizers, usually consisting of cold cuts, cheeses, olives, and some cold vegetables.
  • Primo: The first course. This is typically a pasta, soup, or rice dish like risotto.
  • Secondo: The main course. It is at this time that you will usually have your meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Contorni: The side dishes. These often come in the form of vegetables, potatoes, or a salad.
  • Dolce: Dessert.
  • Caffe/Digestivo: The after dinner drink, which may be some sort of coffee or liqueur to enjoy while you digest your meal.