Seattle >Food & Dining > Volterra
5411 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA | Directions 9810747.667752 -122.385188
Sat 9am-2pm, 5pm-1am
Sun 9am-2pm, 5pm-9pm
Neighborhoods: Ballard, Adams
Don Curtis and his team turn out contemporary Italian fare in this Ballard outpost. Order the buckwheat pancakes, lamb meatballs or crab ravioli.
The drawing room is perfect for special events such as film screenings.
Oustanding All Around – Best meal I've had in Seattle. Outstanding food, service, ambiance. The real highlight was the Wild Boar Tenderloin with Gorgonzola sauce. But, we were greeted warmly at the door by 2 cute hostesses, our server was well informed about the menu and led us down a very tasty path, and the room is really beautiful and sophisticated. I am in love with the alabaster light fixtures which the server told me came from the city of Volterra and were designed by the owner. WIll be back soon.
Insulting attitude – I asked if the sturgeon on the menu was the endangered kind. The waitress asked the chef and returned with the message that it was and that I should read "The Zen of Fish" to get over my concerns about endangered fish. I ordered the wild boar. The waitress asked how I wanted it cooked, saying they served it medium rare. I requested medium well. She said it was served with a lot of sauce so that I would not see the bloody juices if it were cooked medium rare, which is in fact how it came. Though the food was excellent the overall impression was that the guest was not what mattered to them (exception being the hostesses who were very warm and helpful). We will not eat there again.
Ordinary Food and Overcharged Bill – This place was not as I imagined. The decoration is pretty general, no special at all. The food is pretty good, but just regular. The service is not bad but they charged for cake cutting (I brought birthday cake from outside). I have never get any charge for cutting cake at any restaurants, even the cheap restaurant. If the charge is 5 dollar for one table, it is fine. But they charged $3 each person. Crazy. I will never ever come back here. There is much better italian food in Seattle. I do not recommend to come here, especially for birthday!!!
What's not to like? – We love this place! One of the best places anywhere for a special occasion or celebration. It is utterly reliable. Never had a bad meal or a "kitchen nightmare" at Volterra. I love everything they do AND the way they do it. Their Chestnut Pancakes from the brunch menu -- ummmm! Their original cocktails (by Kathy Casey) are fresh and fine.
A meal at Volterra is pricey, but you will get plenty of it -- not like some places that serve pretty plates with teeny portions and charge you for a full sized meal. We splurge for Volterra about 2 or 3 times per year. Consistently excellent every time -- if you can get a table.
I would suggest they consider a change in housekeeping. Volterra is much too fine to seat patrons in corners festooned with cobwebs or bring out glass/dinnerware with lip-prints or crusty food still apparent thereon. Recently, I was invited to be seated on a banquette that had spilled food smeared all over it.
And then there is the striking young busser who circles the dining room silently and continuously, dressed all in black and scanning each table in sequence. He is nice, he is cute, and he clears your table promptly, but what's up with that constant circling? As a diver, I felt exactly the same as if i were down on the reef with a large black tip shark circling constantly overhead.
These are minor considerations that have no impact on the flavor and efficiency of the meal, just the overall dining experience.
Rude service and nasty bathroom – If you believe you'll learn all you need to know about a restaurant by visiting its restrooms, stay away from Volterra! The ladies' room was nasty and unhygienic. 'Nuff said. Plus our server was snotty and had the "I'm doing you a favor by doing my job" attitude I see all too often in Seattle. The food is very yummy, but for the price, there are plenty of other places in Seattle that will treat you with more respect, dignity, and kindness.
Impressive all around – This is a real Italian restaurant. Not an Americanized version. The menu is what you would find if you were in Italy. It's very well rounded and the meat dishes are outstanding. I loved the rabbit leg wrapped in prosciutto and my friends Veal Chop had me drooling. Service was good and the ambiance was hip.
Revolterra – This has got to be one of the biggest jokes in town. I went after reading all these great reviews. the service is flat out terrible. The food is hardly better and parking is impossible!!!! No reason to go back. Just an all around horrible experience.
You can't go wrong with Volterra – My family and I went to Volterra?s to celebrate my husband?s birthday after being away for a year and a half, and the food and service was just as great as ever. We have been going to Volterra?s since the beginning and have never had a bad meal or service. It is consistently way above the norm and that is the reason we have been steady customers. Our cordial server, Stephen, instinctively knew when we needed him and has been our server for as long as I can remember. Additionally, David, the wine steward, is so pleasant and knowledgeable of how the wines compliment the food, that you know you will always get a good recommendation for the wines. It will always be our special place and we will continue to recommend it highly. Thank you Volterra for another fabulous and unforgettable evening.
Dolores and Robert Brittingham
Bad service, claustrophobic dining and food bad – I went here once with friends and sat outside on a day that wasn't too busy and my experience was ok - not remarkable but OK.
The second time I went was with my gf and we sat inside. The tables are so close together that it is impossible to have a private conversation of any kind - in fact you are almost literally brushing shoulders with the other guests. The smoked chicken pasta was tasteless with dry chewy chicken and the lamb polenta was more like lamb soup (The polenta could not be eaten with the forks they provided to eat it with because it was too runny!!!). You will find the staff churlish and they rarely visit your table. The manner of the staff and the taste of the food certainly did not seem authentic in any way to the many experiences I have had in Italy. The owners' attitude seem to be of the opinion 'like it or leave it', and I would happily recommend everyone leave it - it really is not very good, and it really is not worth the risk of going there and having the experience myself and my gf had. I can honestly say that this is one of the worst dining experiences I have had anywhere.
Best in town – Volterra has been on my list of places to try for ages. My friends rave about this place and so we went for my boyfriends birthday and it was the perfect choice. I asked the hostess for a romantic table and I think they gave us the best table in the house. It was in the corner of the banqette and so we were able to sit side by side and watch the hustle and bustle of the dining room and Ballard Ave. The place was hopping and filled with great energy.
Great cocktail list. I loved the Michelle Cosmo and the Limoncello Rosemary Drop. BF had the Fennel Crush and the Manhattan with the slight hint of Hazelnut. Big wine list at all prices. We had the house wine which was great and only $32. Wine guy was cool and didn't make us feel like schmucks for ordering the house wine.
The food was the highlight. Chef's Antipasti which was a bunch of Italian style tapas. All were very tasty. Polenta Custard with oozy cheese and mushroom and truffle ragu- YUM. Grilled Scallops with a dollop of garlic aioli- fresh and delicious. Crab and Mascarpone Raviioli in a spicy tomato cream sauce - sinful. Wild Boar with Gorgonzola and Mustard Sauce -dreamy. They brought us a suprise tiramisu with a candle and we also ordered the pistachio cake with lemon gelato. Both were great.
Service was also great. Our waiter was there when we needed him but didn't encroach on our romantic night. We told him we wanted to take it slow and so he paced our meal just right.
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