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Despite the common complaint that quality Italian food is hard to come by in Seattle, owner-operator Michelle Quisenberry and her co-owner/executive chef husband, Don Curtiss, have been packing crowds in since the doors on their Ballard Avenue space opened in 2005. The perpetually evolving selection of "little bites" ($10 per person) is always a delightful, seasonally inspired tour of whatever the kitchen is jazzed about at the moment. Rotating pasta specials are often alluring, but it's always the gusto and grace with which they approach their signature wild-boar tenderloin-typically served with gorgonzola cream sauce-that completes the Tuscan seduction. The cocktail menu and wine list are exceptional too. Drinks are modestly priced (the Volterra Sky house cocktail rings in at $6.50), and the spacious dining room opens to a low-lit expansive bar with rustic wood interiors-perfect conditions to linger away an evening over house-made pasta and a bottle of red.
For Italian, I love Volterra. It's in my neighborhood (Ballard). If it's on the menu, they have great wild boar. And I love their appetizer that's like a polenta volcano filled with delicious cheese and topped with wild mushrooms. The two owners are friends of mine (Michelle Quisenberry and Don Curtiss) and they met through me, which is fun - so we were in their wedding in Volterra.
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