Destinations/ Food Porn/ North America/ Restaurants/ United States/ Washington

Altura – February 12, 2019

A savory beet sponge cake from the Stuzzichini flight


It’s a tough call but I think Altura is my favorite restaurant in Seattle. This was my fourth time back and every meal has been exceptional. Chef Nathan Lockwood opened this cozy spot at the end of Broadway on Capitol Hill in 2011. You’ll see Nathan nominated for Best Chef, Best Fine Dining Restaurant, Best New Restaurant, Restaurant of the Year, but somehow this place keeps flying under the radar of my foodie friends. Which is fine by me because I enjoy being able to get a table.

For the food alone, Altura tops my list. Precise attention to detail without being fussy or tortured. Delicious. Creative approaches to local ingredients. This easy comfortable genius. A willingness to try new things, to avoid the ruts of past laurels. This procession of moans and “Fuck this is good”s. But that’s just the start. It’s all of the small things that I appreciate. The pottery by Akiko. The choice of knife. The small wooden serving blocks. The eclectic environment, the artfully assembled hodge-podge of chairs and benches and tables, the clever use of space, the magical odds and ends on the walls, cloth towels in the bathroom. A great soundtrack. And the atmosphere. A very calm and welcoming vibe. The cooks often bring their own dishes to your table woven seamlessly with the server and the somm. A genuine happiness. A love for what they’re doing. I always feel at home at Altura. Free from artifice and pretense. Even though the dishes can be quite refined.

I consider an epic meal like this a symphony. A procession of notes and movements that weave together an experience. With every dish there is a balance and harmony. It’s rare to have such a meal without a single note out of place. Maybe I’m just lucky but every time I go here my experience has been perfect. And leave not only full and satisfied, but happy. I guess that’s what it boils down to, this place makes me happy.



Stuzzichini is Italian for appetizer, snack, nibble, or finger food. The meal begins with a flight of amuse-bouche style bites in quick succession. These have been different every time I’ve come.

Spicy blood orange and parsley soda


Fennel and walnut panna cotta, lobster knuckle, caviar


Beet sponge cake, maitake mushroom, white truffle snow


Grassfed beef crudo, parmesan fondutta, quail egg yolk


Smoke sturgeon frittelle, steelhead roe, cultured cream


Savory cannoli, local sea urchin, parsley root, pine


Fennel cured lardo, watermelon radish; Buckwheat crostata, stinging nettle, guinciale; Red wine cured bresaola, house vinegar, purple potato


Fermented potato, black butter, bottarga mugine


Mortadella smoked in a duck’s neck, duck fat focaccia


Celebration of winter shellfish

Oyster and Ramp, clam and caper leaf, mussel and pancetta, crab and chili


Buccino nero

Razor clam, almond, garlic


Cartoccio (not pictured)

Darrel’s bread, wild onion butter with preserved Sorrento lemon

Satsuma and sea buckthorn sorbetto

Moscato granite


Sea breeze farm guinea hen

Sausage stuffed leg, braised wing, fennel, cabbage



Infused with winter herbs and pine branches


Bourbon caramel semifreddo

Grapefruit, chicory, mint


Affogato (not pictured)

Mascarpone gelato, amaro Montenegro
Aerated hot chocolate
Baba au rhum
Grappa soaked luxardo cherries


Birthday extras!

Grappa soaked cake with candied orange peel.


The sommelier slipped me an extra glass of grappa and the birthday plate came with a candle.


Coffee and port

I saw this at the bar and had to have a glass. A 1937 Kopke colheita. This port has been aging in the barrel for over 80 years.



Inside the restaurant

One of the reasons Altura is my favorite Seattle restaurant is its cozy and casual atmosphere. I always feel at home here. You are served courses by the chef who constructed them. And I never find myself worrying about fancy restaurant protocol. Great food, friendly faces, creative attention to detail.






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