Last Friday, my fiancée Tiffany and I wanted to try something new for dinner. We both love Italian food, but we ignorantly believed we had tried all of the Italian restaurants in the area. However, we had heard from many different friends, that there was one last Italian restaurant, rumored to be the best in the area. Grazie Ristorante was called a hidden gem in the city of Tukwila; a place where “everything is good.” But if everyone talks about El Dorado, and you’ve never seen the gold, does it even truly exist?

Well, I can assure you, Grazie Ristorante most definitely exists. It’s located only a couple of blocks away from Westfield Southcenter Mall, on Southcenter Parkway, and has been since 1988! It was right in front of our eyes this whole time; we just weren’t looking. We arrived around 5:30pm and were promptly greeted by the friendly hostess. The place seemed quite busy, so it was no surprise that she asked us if we had reservations. I told her that we did not, and she asked if we would like to sit in the little cove of a wine bar. It looked pretty nice and Tiffany wanted to sit there because “it looked so cute,” but I said we would just wait for a table. Within thirty seconds, she told us that she was going to squeeze us in and she sat us at one of the only open tables in the entire restaurant! We were off to a great start. 

The restaurant itself was furnished with quaint decor, which added to the romantic ambiance. It felt like we were eating in a little restaurant in Venice, but in reality, we were about ten minutes away from our apartment. Our hostess turned out to be our waitress, which worked well considering she treated us like Brad and Angelina. The menu was quite impressive, so it took me some time to make my final decision. While we looked over the menu, our waitress brought us some delicious bread and spiced olive oil for dipping. It didn’t take us long to finish the entire basket of bread, but fear not, our waitress brought us more as soon as we were done with the first batch. 

Another waitress walking by saw the decision-making process on my face and she stopped by to give me some recommendations. This lady had expensive taste! She also assured me that “everything is good here,” which I could accept as fact, given that I had heard the same thing from multiple, unbiased sources.

We finally made our decisions and I ordered a classic, chicken parmesan. Tiffany ordered the spaghettini al fungi, a pasta dish with prosciutto, veggies, goat cheese and a white wine stock. We ordered the house side salad with our meals, both of which arrived within a few minutes. I must say, the salad was delicious! I’m usually the soup guy at Italian restaurants, or most restaurants for that matter, but this salad was one of the best I’ve had in years. Just as we finished our salads, it was time for the main course.

Now, I love chicken parmesan almost as much as Peyton Manning, and this one was very good; but I was just as impressed with the side dishes: zesty rice and seasoned vegetables. I wasn’t used to having rice with my chicken parmesan, but it complemented the dish well. I also had the pleasure of trying Tiffany’s meal (after a few shameful minutes of begging) which was delicious, as well as unique. 

The portions were large and it took us some time to finish. In the meantime, we watched as waitresses picked up a large platter of desserts, and showed them to the customers that were finished with dinner. I appreciated the marketing tactic, and it worked on me, but alas, we were too full when we finished our meals.

Overall, I would have to agree that Grazie Ristorante is one of the best Italian restaurants in the area. Not only is the food delicious and the atmosphere authentic, but the service was perfect. The staff is genuinely friendly and they are mindful and attentive throughout the entire meal. I would highly recommend this fine establishment to any visitors to Seattle Southside. I’m already hearing of a few other great Italian restaurants in the area, so until next time…