Fremont is a pretty big area with disappointingly few options when it comes to Italian food. For a long time, there were only two sit-down restaurants to choose from. Or four, if you count that hostel with the terrible Detroit-style pizza and the billiards hall slinging mediocre slices. But we don’t.
Then Swel came along, with its slightly-upscale-trattoria situation. And while it doesn’t serve the best Italian food in the world, it is a good addition to the Fremont scene. And your life, if you’re a pizza fan.
Swel stands for “stuff we like to eat,” and for the most part, we agree. The menu has a mix of pastas, pizzas, salads, and small plates, as well as some non-Italian dishes like jalapeño hummus and carne asada. The pizzas, served with a delicious spicy chili oil, are definitely our favorites. They’re actually more like diamond-shaped flatbreads, with a crispy, thin crust, and fresh toppings that work really well, whether you get a simple margherita or something more involved. The salads and other entrees—like the overly garlicky caesar, the creamy but inconsistently seasoned sausage pasta, and the slightly tough French cut pork chop—are just a little bit above average. But it’s worth it to come for the pizzas alone.
The space feels like something out of Pottery Barn’s summer catalogue, and would be great for a weekend night when you want to hang with friends over pizza and cocktails, rather than go out at Nectar Lounge or Ballroom and end up eating Pagliacci’s on your bathroom floor. Service is friendly, and there’s a nice back patio with picnic tables for when the weather’s warm—we could see ourselves out there with some small plates and a bottle of wine in the summertime.
If you asked us to point you toward the best Italian food in Seattle, there are certainly other places we’d send you first. But if you’re in Fremont and want some tasty, upscale pizza, by all means, Swel will have stuff you like to eat, too.
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This salad checks off many of the caesar boxes: ice-cold romaine, plenty of freshly-grated parmesan cheese, a great lettuce-to-dressing ratio, and well-salted crunchy croutons. However, you could ward off a vampire with the amount of raw garlic in this thing.
Pizza With Fresh Mozzarella, Pepperoni, And Fresh Basil
The basil here adds a freshness you don’t normally get from a pepperoni pie. The pepperoni itself has a good crispiness to it, and the crust is tasty and crunchy, too. Douse it in the homemade chili oil and you’ll be very happy.
Pizza With Smoked Mozzarella, Pancetta, Red Onion, And Sweet Spicy Peppers
Definitely worth ordering. The flavors here are great, and the smoked mozzarella is an interesting addition that works well with the pancetta.
Rigatoni With Local Italian Sausage, Marinara, Garlic, And Cream
This has that comforting quality a rich pasta should have, but it’s inconsistent. One time we came here, the noodles were slightly overcooked, and another time, the sauce had way too much oregano.
French Cut Pork Chop
A well-seasoned bone-in pork chop with a good sear to it - but it’s the tiniest bit too tough around the edges. The yukon gold mashed potatoes with a creamy marsala sauce, on the other hand, are perfect.