Apart from serious gluten and grape allergies, there aren’t too many good reasons not to eat pasta and drink wine by yourself every so often. However mundane or celebratory the occasion, taking a solo pasta-and-wine break will never make you ask, “Hmm, should I have done that wonderful thing I just did?” Still, when you’re looking for the perfect place, there are some factors that guarantee success: a relaxed atmosphere, a nice bar where you can sit (or at least a cozy corner), and, of course, great pastas and wines by the glass. Stick to the spots on our guide, and you’ll wish you could do this every night.
Finding a bar seat at Spinasse can be tough, but that’s the price you pay for trying to walk-in to the best pasta restaurant in the city. Just next door, however, is Artusi, Spinasse’s sister bar. There you’ll find different pastas, like cavatelli with bacon or maltagliati with rabbit, and they’re just as delicious. If you get a spot at the counter, you can also get a nice contact-high from the boiling pasta water steam, which is cheaper than a trip to the spa (even if you get two glasses of prosecco).
If you don’t want to deal with a full-service restaurant, go to Esters. It’s a counter-service wine bar in Fremont that serves affordable bowls of carbonara and bolognese that feel luxurious. It’s never too busy in this casual little spot, so you could bring a book and stay as long as you want.
While the dining room at Serafina is full of fancy people and white table cloths, the bar is chill enough for you to pop in wearing jeans and a flannel. This is Seattle, after all, so no need to be ashamed of your Herschel beanie while you sit back and eat bucatini all’amatriciana or some cacio e pepe cavatelli chased with Chardonnay.
Of all the places on this list, Grappa is your best bet if you’re hoping to meet someone at the bar. It’s small, dark, and quiet - perfect for having a meaningful conversation with a mysterious stranger about poetry or tax season. But more importantly, you’ll meet some lovely pastas. The gnocchi with pesto is our favorite.
Even though it’s hard to leave the couch and endless loop of MSNBC behind, San Fermo is just as warm and comforting as your own living room. It’s an Italian spot inside of a rickety old house with a tiny little bar and pasta worth traveling for, especially the saffron spaghetti with bolognese sauce. Don’t be shy on the wine - Rachel Maddow will still be there asking hypothetical questions and tapping her pen on the newsdesk when you get back home.
If today’s the day you discovered that your ex is doing just fine, have dinner at Vendemmia. It’s a quiet Madrona getaway where you won’t run into your ex who’s doing just fine. Order something from the wine list and then decide between the classic spaghetti with tomato and hot pepper or the agnolotti stuffed with taleggio. If you’re really still thinking about that ex (who, by the way, is doing just fine), don’t rule out ordering both. They’re that good.
Staple & Fancy is probably the closest you’ll ever come to eating pasta in a classy brick shipping warehouse, even if that’s not on your bucket list. Have a nice seat at the bar next to your own personal lamp and order a glass of red and the pappardelle bolognese topped with ricotta and orange.
The kitchen counter at Le Messe is practically designed for solo dinners. There’s something relaxing about watching other people swirl pasta in pans on your behalf, mostly because it feels like Thanksgiving when you were a kid and didn’t feel guilty about not helping out with the cooking. We’re all for feeling that way as an adult, too - especially when it results in gemelli with braised pork and a small mountain of grated parmesan.
Eating at List is kind of like eating in a closet with your phone screen as the only light source - it’s nearly impossible to see your hand in front of you, and you won’t have a ton of elbow room, but the result is somehow a very cozy restaurant. While this Belltown spot is practically date night headquarters, the bar has the best seats in the house if you want some wine and ricotta gnocchi. The only two sauces are spicy tomato cream and truffle cream, but we’ll give you a subtle hint. Get the truffle cream. OK, that wasn’t very subtle, but neither is the truffle cream.
If you work in South Lake Union, we’re going to guess that you put in too many hours for a company that rhymes with glamazon. And if your project is carrying you through dinner, there’s no reason to whip up a weird office meal involving string cheese, Sun Chips, and cashews. Sneak out for a little while and grab a barstool at 2120, a Southwestern restaurant that serves a lot of pappardelle. Whether it comes topped with spicy tomato and clams or oxtail and lemon cream, it’s perfect to eat with a colleague at the counter. And by colleague, we definitely mean your laptop.