4918 Rainier Avenue South
Seattle WA 98118
Pizza served up the traditional way.
By: Steve G
Colombia City has started to undergo a transformation over the last few years. In a place that was synonymous with crime, the area is slowly being cleaned up on the heels of the new light rail station construction. New businesses and restaurants have started sprouting up as a sign of the times that change is coming. Adding a new fresh look to the area serving up wood-fired Neapolitan style pizza, Tutta Bella is one of those places that makes a great addition to the neighborhood.
The Colombia City location is not Tutta Bella’s only location (four locations in the Western Washington Area), but it still maintains a classy charm and casual appeal that makes it a great spot to grab some food. Tutta Bella proclaims itself as the first authentic Neapolitan pizza restaurant and with good cause. In 2004, Tutta Bella’s owner became certified as a pizzaioli. A pizzaioli is the title that is given to those professionally trained to make authentic pizzas. In Naples, the birthplace of pizza, pizza making is held with great care to keep the tradition running for several years. In fact, there’s a association that is tasked with training young padawans into becoming Master Pizzaiolis, The Verace Pizza Napoletana Association. Stressing the importance of care to every aspect of its creation, the VPN holds the credo of protecting and ensuring that all Neapolitan pizzas are made according to the old traditions and customs. Wood baked, simple and delicious, Pizzaiolis are known to make pizzas right in front of there customers.
The menu is a pretty basic for a pizzeria. For the most complete meal, it's best to order a pizza with a salad. For a couple, one pizza and a salad is the best way to go. Groups of three or four might want to order up two pizzas with a salad to feel really satisfied. Tutta Bella offers up thirteen different types of pizza that incorporate a variety of ingredients such as prosciutto, olives, olive oil, etc. Salads are also offered and highly recommended to make a meal truly complete.
As you walk through the door, you truly get a strong sense of the Italian influence in style and design. Very lofty with a open air feel to the environment with wide view to the kitchen and the wood fired oven. The seating is partitioned into three separate areas: Main dining area, upstairs seating, and an espresso bar. Stone and wood work accents accompany the walls and surfaces creating a real industrial and contemporary look.
The Insalata di Napoli was a smorgasbord of ingredients. With Genoa salami, chicken breast, pancetta, carrots, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives and gorgonzola, the salad was a spectacle of tastes and aroma. Topped with a Caesar and vinaigrette dressing it made for a great starter with lots of sharp and tangy taste.
The Tutta Bella Pizza is a more traditional type of pizza. Made with onions, mushrooms, cheese, sausage and special San Marazano tomatoes, the pizza is very thin on the crust, but that’s how authentic pizzas are made in Italy. The sauce was very light, almost to the point of puree and it made the pizza a little soggy, but still taste very zesty and fresh. You should have your knife and fork readily available as it may be a little hard to hold the pizza slices.
Where the Tutta Bella pizza was a love affair with meat, the Ciro pizza depends heavily on its herbs and spices. With a dash of virgin oil, the Ciro has an explosion of flavor from the oregano and the basil. Refreshing and flowery, it is a great option for those who tend to shy away from meat.
After your meal, be sure to check out the espresso bar for a quick sip of espresso. During the mornings, the bar also serves up pastries that are great for a morning pick me up. Unfortunately we don't have that luxury, working so far from Columbia City, but for locals it's definitely good option to try for breakfast.
The staff seemed friendly and fast at Tutta Bella's, but they seem to be in a little rush. During the lunch hour, the place was jammed packed with servers constantly twisting and winding around tables to deliver food and take orders. While the staff was on a frantic pace, it didn't affect the overall experience for the most part as water was topped off regularly and the staff was quick to chime in their recommendations for the table.
If you’re a fan of pizza and want to taste a true Italian pizza, Tutta Bella’s is a good spot for you to check out. Great for a casual lunch or dinner, Tutta Bella will not disappoint.