In addition to the places we visit on each “Death March”, we traditionally try to have a nice dinner outing the evening beforehand. Like finding a place to have breakfast the day of the March, it’s always a bit of a challenge, since it usually involves finding a spot that can handle a reservation for a large group (usually all of the hikers, plus a few spouses, so it’s usually around 20 people), that’s not terribly crowded, and can handle the ephemeral nature of large groups always needing to adjust their exact arrival time and number in their party. However, a check of the usual online resources had indicated that one place in Seattle was particularly good for this: Orfeo.
Located in what’s known as the Army building just north of Downtown, I can immediately see upon arrival one reason Orfeo does well with large groups: it’s a particularly large restaurant, with two floors and quite a large dining room with a rather nice “fine dining” motif, although it was dark enough that I generally didn’t take much photography. Being a rather large group staying at locations spread all over Seattle, our group of 18 trickled in spaced over a 30 minute period, and Orfeo handled it all gracefully (and the inevitable small additions and subtractions involved with one no-show, and two people bringing extras). A large set of tables were set in the main dining room, and quickly reset as needed, with drink and appetizer orders deftly handled (and tracked, for later billing) by the staff.
The menu at Orfeo is basically “Seattle-style Italian”: the primary dinner entrees are from the grill, but they have have an imrpessive array of pastas, wood-fired pizza, salads, and other dishes, primarily representing Italian-American food. For appetizers, most of our end of the table gravitated towards three items: the house-made hearth bread served up with a pleasant tapenade and roasted garlic, arancini served up with a nicely crisp exterior and a smooth, silky rice interior, and a nicely executed plate of fried calamari.
For entrees, most of us actually went for the pork chop, an impressive, inch and a quarter thick bone-in chop served up sliced over a rich bed of creamy polenta and topped with a tart balsamic demi and a nice apple slaw, and this was a seriously enjoyable chop: a good, rich pork, cooked just to a still-juicy-and-only-barely pink interior with a nice crisp to the fat, the demi rounding it out nicely. Other enjoyable dishes included a nicely-done house made farfalle with fennel sausage, and their “Carmen” pizza with fennel sausage, salami, basil, and chile peppers.
Overall, we all enjoyed Orfeo. The food was good, the wine list extensive but reasonably affordable, and the service impeccably good, especially for a large and rowdy group like ours. I’d definitely consider coming back for a dinner even for a simple dinner as a couple.