Certain things will always make us happy. The view from the top of Gasworks Park. Walking around Green Lake in late May when the cherry blossoms have just finished blooming. No line for the bathroom at Reuben’s. And most of all, a big sit-down dinner at Bar Del Corso.
The excellent Neapolitan pizza and small plates make this Italian spot on Beacon Hill a perpetually-crowded classic - Bar Del Corso will always be one of our happy places, and it should be one of yours, too.
The incredible pizza here is in direct contrast to the floppy pies you see at other spots in the city, like Via Tribunali or Tutta Bella, but that’s a good thing - the charred crust has more of a light crispness throughout the bottom, which can stand up even better to all the toppings. It’s hard to choose which blistered bubble-covered pie is the best, but the margherita with buffalo mozzarella and the corno di capra with homemade sausage and pickled goathorn peppers are the two standouts.
If you only load up your table with pizza and a round of cocktails, you’ll miss out on the supporting cast of small plates, which are just as outstanding. The suppli al telefono, filled with tomato-infused arborio rice and mozzarella that stretches like saltwater taffy, is a phenomenal pre-pie snack. So is the grilled octopus with white beans and spicy n’duja, or braised pork ragu with parsnip puree. Without the pizzas, we’d be content coming here for just a few of these little plates and a glass of wine. But being able to have the whole family together, deliciously-charred pies and all, that’s when things really get warm and fuzzy.
It’s helpful to note that you can’t just barge into Bar Del Corso, sit down, and immediately eat amazing things. The restaurant is walk-in-only, so you’re looking at a 30- to 45-minute wait most of the time - clearly we’re not the only ones who are ecstatic about this pizza. But for some of the best Italian food you can find in Seattle, all you have to do is wait the same amount of time it takes to watch an episode of Bones (without the commercials). And that should make you very happy.
Quite a few Italian restaurants in town serve a version of these crispy fried risotto balls stuffed with fresh mozzarella. But make no mistake - Bar Del Corso’s are the best. The crunchy shells lock in the tomato-y and al dente arborio rice, the melted cheese is perfectly molten, and the price is right at $7 for three of them.
Having three different bitter greens together on one plate sounds like a recipe for disaster, but they really work in this salad. A soft-cooked egg and garlicky anchovy dressing tone down the bitterness while shaved parmesan adds some salt. If you’re into caesars, you’ll like this a lot.
Our favorite non-pizza thing at Bar Del Corso is the octopus. It’s grilled and comes with slow-cooked white beans, spicy n’duja, and olive oil in a delicious tomato broth that’s begging for some bread to soak it up.
Every part of this dish is insanely delicious - tender braised pork, a potato and parsnip puree, and pecorino cheese.
You won’t find a better margherita in town. The crust has an incredible char, and you should always shell out the extra $3.50 to upgrade to buffalo mozzarella.
No matter what, your table should have one margherita and one corno di capra. This delicious pie is topped with homemade sausage, pickled goathorn peppers, garlic, mozzarella, and grana padano. It’s a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and the cheeses make the whole pizza saucy despite the lack of tomato.
The homemade gelato isn’t available every night, but when it is, a scoop topped with hot espresso is the best way to cap off a meal here. Mascarpone is their best flavor, and makes the whole thing taste like a tiramisu latte.