Via Rosa 11
If you've ever taken the ferry over to Bainbridge Island, you probably know that a ton of buzzy restaurants are located on Winslow, a.k.a. the main drag. At peak times, it's hard to find parking, it's hard to grab a last-minute table, and it's hard to actually relax, which is precisely what you dipped out of the city to do in the first place.
But breeze right past all of those, then past the gift shops selling sea salt-scented soap, and after 10 minutes cruising north, you'll hit a little market called Via Rosa 11. Pull over immediately, because this counter happens to serve the best Italian food on Bainbridge.
Via Rosa 11 is exactly the location you likely had in mind when you felt the urge to board a commercial watercraft and sail away from Seattle. It’s a place to take a breather as you're fed exemplary pasta and pizza by genuine, warm people who pronounce “marinara” with D’s instead of R’s. It's a place to pop open a bottle of prosecco to wash down a porchetta panini. It's a place to haul along a cooler bag so you can stock up on housemade sausage and tubs of pesto to bring home.
There are plenty of pizzas and sandwiches to be had here, as well as mix-and-match pasta-and-sauce combinations—but the best course of action is to order the burrata and speck pie. Between the smoky cured meat, pops of burst cherry tomato, and cold burrata melting on contact with a charred crust like a sun-drunk snowball, we can definitively say that this pizza is the best in the Seattle area. Pair it with springy fusilli tossed in vodka sauce out on their string light-lined patio, and it should become clear: this is why you got on that boat.
photo credit: Nate Watters
Burrata & Speck Pizza
This pie has everything going for it—the crust is crispy, chewy on the ends, and cracker-like in the middle, topped with dollops of burrata and bundles of speck. There’s a kick from red pepper flakes, herbaceous crunch from flash-fried basil, and a drizzle of really good olive oil. This is the pizza that you’d gladly blow off a third date for. Or better yet, share it with your date.
Via Rosa's outstanding vodka sauce is tangy and sweet, with just enough cream to transform the tomato into a vivid orange. It'd taste excellent on any pasta shape under the sun, but we're partial to the way it clings between twists of fusilli.
Meatballs In Marinara
There are clearly some red sauce specialists in the building, judging from this simply-seasoned marinara. The san marzanos shine here, so choose a complemetary pasta, like classic spaghetti, or ravioli with a spinach-to-ricotta ratio so perfectly balanced that the filling is bright green. And don't forget a couple of tender meatballs.
You didn't come all this way on a huge boat to turn down a crackly cannoli shell piped with sweet fluffy mascarpone and little baby chocolate chips.