8.3
SEA

Anchovies & Olives

Perfect For: Date Night Dinner with the Parents First/Early in the Game Dates Small Plates
PHOTOS: Nate Watters

Writing thank-you notes as an adult is a practice that takes time and attention. And it’s not as fun when you’re thanking people for a set of salad forks instead of a Razor scooter. But if you can do it, you’ll come across as someone who has things in their life under control. Other things that make you seem like a put-together human being: wearing peacoats, drinking negronis, and exercising before 8 am. Also, eating dinner at Anchovies & Olives.

This seafood-focused Italian restaurant is sophisticated without feeling like it’s trying too hard. You can walk in here with your best friend, a blind date, or your aunt and uncle from out of town, and they’ll all be equally impressed by your good taste. It also happens to be from the people behind Bar Cotto, our favorite pizza restaurant in Seattle, and these pastas and small plates are nearly as good as Bar Cotto’s pies.

Your game plan is to get a bunch of things and share them over many rounds of cocktails. Seafood is the theme here, but the menu covers a lot of ground. If they have any variation of potato gnocchi on the menu when you go, you’ll want to get that, and the spaghetti with pork meatballs is another highlight. Our absolute favorite dish, though, is the broccoli appetizer - it’s tart, salty, spicy, and overall way better than a broccoli dish has any right to be.

Anchovies & Olives is a restaurant that generally makes you feel like you have your sh*t together - which makes it a place we’ll always send you for a date. Just prepare for a not-insignificant bill. Much like getting your act together to thank Nana for the coasters, it’s worth it every time.

Food Rundown

Grilled Focaccia

This grilled focaccia with tapenade is a very good decision for your table.

Baby Greens

Easily one of our favorite appetizer salads in the city. This comes with goat cheese, hazelnuts, and a not-too-spicy Calabrian chile vinaigrette.

Smoked Fish Crostini

This should be on your table. The fish is smokey, there’s just the right amount of aioli, and the crusty bread is a perfect base.

Hamachi Crudo

The accompaniments to this crudo rotate, but the version we got had melon, chili, and mint. The flavor was excellent, but the fish itself was weirdly chewy. A safer bet is some fresh oysters instead.

Charred Broccoli

This broccoli is a ridiculous display of how to make a vegetable taste incredibly good. It has Calabrian chile, anchovy, and lime. If you’re not into anchovies, you’ll still be into this - they add saltiness, but there’s no fishy taste.

Grilled Alaskan Sockeye

The grilled salmon here isn’t mindblowing, but it’s a nice piece of fish and a good idea if you’re trying to stick to protein.

Spaghetti

It’s tough to find a good red sauce in this city, but Anchovies & Olives gets this right. It’s spicy and sweet, and the pork meatballs are moist and seasoned really well. Our only complaint is that sometimes the pasta itself is slightly undercooked.

Rigatoni

The bolognese here is really hearty and packed with fresh mint - which on paper sounds a little weird for a bolognese. But the flavor combinations work. What doesn’t work is the pile of chives on top where grated cheese should be. We need that cheese.

Potato Gnocchi

You’re ordering the gnocchi no matter what variation they have. We’ve seen it with Dungeness crab/orange/fennel as well as artichoke/garlic/breadcrumbs, and both were delicious.

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