A decade after arriving, Nostrana remains reliably excellent. Cathy Whims brings Northwest sensibilities to Italian cuisine, using local ingredients in worldly dishes such as bistecca alla Fiorentina—2 pounds of Florentine-style rib steak from Yakima ($75). It's the type of dish that got Nostrana nominated for a James Beard Award six of the past seven years.
On a recent visit, a pappardelle slathered with goat cheese and served with braised lobster mushrooms and cherry tomatoes ($18) enchanted three generations at my table.
A crowd-pleasing margherita pizza with house mozzarella ($12) offered additional bread for sopping up the juicy salsa verde atop the oven-roasted Idaho trout ($26), which came with wonderful sauteed kale.
The drink menu showcases Oregon and Italian wines, as well as inventive cocktails. On a hot July night, the Prosecco with strawberry puree was sweet, cold and bubbly in exactly the right proportions. And the housemade ginger soda earned thumbs up from a teen at our table, who declared it "the most gingery ginger ale" she'd ever had.
Pro tip: If you can't get a reservation during the warmer months, try your luck snagging one of the outside tables, which are set aside for walk-ins. The bar is first come, first served all year.
GO: 1401 SE Morrison St., 234-2427, nostrana.com. 11:30 am-2 pm Monday-Friday, 5-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday. $$$.