I have never figured out how this place got its supposedly stellar reputation. I have lived in this neighborhood for a quarter century, and frequented Lago probably five times. Each time I hope to have a better experience, but each time I come away shaking my head. The food is really quite ordinary, just as the prices are extraordinary. Service is perfunctory unless you buy a lot of their overpriced table wine. I have had far better pizza in several locations in Seattle. Far better.
Pros: CLOSE TO MY HOUSE
Cons: AVERAGE FOOD, POOR SERVICE, HIGH PRICES
The pizzas are simple but elegant, never over done or "decorated". They make their pasta everyday and you can tell. The staff is a blast. All the sauces are delicate and satisfying.Signature drinks invented in house.
I recommend it without reservation.
Pros: great drinks, fresh pasta, great pizza
Cons: Hard to parlk sometimes
Not many people outside of the neighborhood know about this place and it definitely has a neighborhood restaurant feel. But, my wife and I will drive from West Seattle to eat here. The pizza is how pizza should be. Fired on stone, minimal toppings, thin, crispy and with a crust that's like eating the perfect breadstick at the end of every slice. The fresh made pastas are also really good. The meatballs, that I hear come from an old family recipe, are some of the best I've ever had. Plenty of flavor and herbs but balanced without that overdone dry "italian seasoning" taste that so many affordable italian places fall prey to.
Cafe Lago has great Italian cuisine nailed! Plus, the service is impeccable. The pizza reminds me of Italy. All carmelized and crispy from the wood fired oven. Delish! The ingredients and menu selections are fresh plus the pasta is so delicate and delicious! This is not a cheap Americanized Italian joint. It may cost a bit more but you always get what you pay for. Great wine selection, great food and wonderful homemade tiramisu for dessert. Don't forget to have the Blue Cheese Salad too! Great spot for family get togethers or dine at one of the booths by the bar for a more intimate setting for two.
Pros: Great Food and Great Service
Despite the good over all critics and a suggestion from a friend, our friday night out at the cafe lago left us non totally satisfied. We made reservations so I have to say that we were prompty seated and got the table close to the window as requested. The service was quite good and polite, checking on us every now and then without becoming annoying. We got the bruschette with the goat cheese that were preety good, but not I-would-order-them-again good. The pizza actually was the big disapointment of the evening: thin crust does not mean cracker crunchy and that what it was. The tomato sauce seemed awfully lot as taken out of a can and frankly offering only 4-5 pizzas with no custom-made option is a major draw back(if you want to call your self an Italian restaurant and want to charge $18-20 for a pizza). The menu seemed pretty short, which contrasted with the fairly selected wine list. I appreciated the presence if imported Italian beer, although moretti isn't the best there is. I would exactly recomend the place, but if you do go, don't miss the panna cotta: super par to say the least.
Pros: nice ambience, good service
Cons: short menu, bad pizza
I heard of Cafe Lago as a great authentic italian restaurant. I finally tried it and was not that impressed. First they were out of two main dishes out of six they offer. The bad about it is that they wait for you to spend 15 min choosing your dish to say, sorry we are out of.... That makes a lousy service, I think.
The food was good but probably not worth the price. Dessert wise, same things they wait until you choose to say we are out of such or such, and barely apologize for it.
Overall I was quite disappointed.
We "found" Cafe Lago several years ago and it fresh pasta and excellent preparations have brought us back over and over throughout the years. However, during the last year or so we've realized that the prices of their items have gotten rather high. We once viewed Cafe Lago as a great value and just a quick ride over the 520 bridge, but now, it's a pretty pricey choice and is leaving us searching for an option on the East Side that is a little less expensive. Setting aside the price issue, here are my favorite items: ravioli; imple romaine/blue cheese salad (with balsamic reduction); stuffed bell peppers (very rarely on the menu, if ever anymore). My daughter favors the caesar salad, while my wife has in the past favored the mixed salad (but has leaned to the blue cheese just recently due to issues with the materials in the mixed green. Cafe Lago prepares its pasta in house and does a great job. Its limited menu generally ensure good consistency. I'm sure we'll be back, but will probably resort to splitting salads and main dishes to save on costs.
You don?t find restaurants that make homemade noodles that are as light and fluffy as Cafe Lago. I have eaten at many restaurants claiming to be Italian, and what I really get is pasta that I could have cooked at home. Cafe Lago is far more than your average Italian restaurant. For this I am confused by the complaints that have been made at the cost of Cafe Lago?s entrees. I have eaten at cafe Lago for years and have never had anything but the best food for my value, and service to boot. Last night what grabbed me was how reasonable their wine list was. With a $20 entree my date and I shared a $32 bottle of wine that was as good as I have had. So in closing, yes you will spend money at Cafe Lago. But it is worth every penny. Probably more.
Pros: Great wine list for reasonable price. Hand made pasta. Wood fire pizza and steak. Takes reservations.
Cons: Parking. Ambience could try to match the cost.
We used to love this restaurant and just visited it last night after a few months. Wow! The prices were out of this world. As the previous reviewer stated, $20 for lasagne...without even a salad with it? You've got to be kidding me? I could make a whole pan for less at home. My boyfriend stated that a restaurant is more than just good food, you are also paying for the service. But last night, it was awful too. One busboy tried to take away our appetizer as I was putting my fork into it. Then, the waitress served our beer like we were at the local pub-slapping them down on the table. At least if they are going to jack up the prices, there should be some justification for it. There is not.
We will NEVER return to one of our once favorite spots. Forget it. Not worth the price.
Pros: Good space for large groups and kids
Cons: Prices are too high, service is less than mediocre.
This used to be one of my favorite restaurants in our neighborhood, but it has been headed downhill lately. The prices skyrocketed, the serving sizes are decreasing, and the staff is not what they used to be. We used to love this place because of the neighborhood feel and wonderful food, but now it is just not worth it!! Just stay home and cook your own pasta
Pros: great lasagna
Cons: expensive, expensive, expensive!
Great casual neighborhood hangout that is perfect for to take the family or for an evening out. The best thing on the menu is the lasagne. The satiny layers of fresh pasta and bechemel sauce is outstanding. Pizza's are delicious as well! Nice selection of wines by the glass and prices are reasonable!
We were impressed with the unsalted bread and olive oil. It reminded me of our recent trip to Italy. I had the lasagna which they sell as "unlike any you have had before." This is true! It was layers of fresh pasta and beschemel sauce - it literally metled in your mouth. My husband had the spiral sausage and pasta. We did not hear the specials and wish we had - we wanted to have the ravioli that had been reccomended rather than the okay sausage and pasta. Wine selection by the glass was nice and the blue cheese salad with the basalmic reduction was delicious!
Pros: Great food, wine and atmosphere
I think the food is great here, but for some reason the price of the food increased about $5 a plate from last month. It used to be on the high end of reasonable, but bearable given the quality of the food. Now - $18 for an individual entree pizza? $20 for lasagna? Forget it. I won't be going back.
Pros: Good Food
Cons: Way Overpriced
I have always liked this place, even when they've run out of food I have still come back. We were in last week and noticed the price increase; the food is very good, but I think $20 for lasagna and spaghetti is a bit much. I will not be going back any time soon and I will be letting others know about the price increases.
Pros: Food is good, but not that creative
We went to Cafe Lago for my mothers birthday. I made reservations a week in advance. Despite that, we still had to wait for a table in a VERY hot restaurant. After being seated at a tiny table, we waited over an hour to receive our food. They were also out of one of the main dishes on the menu. The restaurant did not seem to care about the patrons. They barely acknowledged how long it took to get food, the fact that each person did not get their meal at the same time, and that the food showed up luke warm. This place is also very noisy, so don't expect to have a great conversation. All-in-all, I was very disappointed and will not return. Having lived here all my life, I have had much better Italian elsewhere. Dont bother, walk on by.
Cons: Parking, Slow Service, Limited Pasta Menu
I have eaten at Lago at least 30 times and it is always stellar. Their pizzas are my favorite and their pasta is the best in town. Service is always top notch. Some people seem to complain that their prices are too high but I don't think 14 bucks is too much money to spend on the best pizza in Seattle. My only complaint is that they never seem to have any seafood on the menu. The Antipasto rules.
Pros: Great Pasta, Great Pizza, Great Service
Cons: No Seafood
The food here is terrific. If you want cheap Italian, go somewhere else, or stay at home and boil it yourself. This is expensive because no one else can make it this good. Only one downside - the atmosphere is lacking. It's not romantic or cozy at all. Come here for the food, it's worth it.
Pros: Great food
Cons: Inpersonal atmosphere
Lovely, pillowy ribbons of housemade pasta, creamy, rich sauce & oh so good. Very nice neighborhood place- good for families, dates, and any get together. Casual atmosphere. Delicious pizza.
As someone who doesn't live in Seattle but visits frequently, Cafe Lago serves as my home away from home when I'm in the Emerald City. In addition to having absolutely the best pizza in town, the pasta and gnocchi -- and lemon tart I might add -- represent the epitome of Italian country comfort food. I also frequently eat the steak, which is absolutely delicious. Each time I eat at Lago, I'm treated to a great meal and find the service extremely pleasant.
(A bit about the price, which seems to be somwhat of an issue among other reviewers: For a place that makes it's own pasta every day, Cafe Lago is actually priced lower than other restaurants I've been too. Moreover, each bottle on Cafe Lago's small but satisfying wine list is marked up less than it would be in other restaurant. I think the prices are very reasonable.)
Pros: Pizza, Pasta, Service
Cons: Limited Menu
Cafe Lago has been around for years and they make amazing neapolitan pizza. They create inventive specials and use the best ingredients to make everything taste fresh. I love Lago and will never have a slice of pizza at any of those other places.
What a rip off! And the cook needs to study up on what gnochi is supposed to taste like. Not soggy potato golf balls last time I checked.
Pros: Attentive Service
Cons: Ridiculously Expensiv, Lousy Gnochi, Lousy Pesto
I've never had such awesome Italian food before, especially in Seattle. I've also never had to pay so much money for so little food before, and to have that small amount of food served lukewarm upon arrival. Everything at Cafe Lago is made from scratch, and it shows in the unique and delicious flavors they come up with, but it also shows in the limited menu and overcharging people. The wait staff also all hang around in one part of the restaurant hovering for you to finish your meal so they can take your plate away. It was rather uncomfortable. Good food if you have lots of money, but there's certainly better and cheaper places elsewhere.
Pros: Great food, Good atmosphere, Made from scratch
Cons: Expensive, Tiny portions, Hovering staff
Incredible lasagne and pizza. Some of the best lasagne I've had in a while. Pizza was yummy with a super thin crust. Gnochhi was flavorful. Tomato/goat cheese/bread app. was good but a rip off for $8. Truffle cake dessert was the best value @ $5 for a generous slice. Service here is very friendly and efficient. Nice, cute, happy waitstaff here.
Only downer was the price. $16/EACH for lasagne and pizza is a little steep. I put down $95 for 3 people which seemed like a lot for such a casual setting wth above average food. Oh well at least I crossed this place off my list. I would love to go back. Maybe if someone else was paying
Pros: the FOOD, personable service
Cons: price, lack of parking, portions (tad small)
The food is very good across the board. Clearly the best lasagne in town...hands down.
Pros: homemade pasta
Our big family goes out to dinner at least three times
a week. I know restaurants. I love this mom and pop shop.
Carla Leonardi and company have a great place with superb
food. To those who say it's boring or expensive please remember
this. A good meal isn't cheap and a cheap meal isn't any good.
Pros: great gnocchi, good atmosphere
Cons: tables to close
Our party enjoyed a delicious Valentine's Day dinner at Cafe Lago. Good thing we weren't shooting for maximum romance, as the dining room layout is not conducive to an initimate dinner experience. Nevertheless, the food is superb...this was actually my second time at the restaurant, and I believe it's only improved. Excellent recommendations from the wait staff, and fantabulous desserts!
Pros: Superior food, exquisite desserts, Helpful staff
Cons: A bit noisy, Slightly crowded
It has a great location and very good service. The wait staff is rather timid, but quite nice and timely. I liked the decor. The food was very bland. It was VERY small portions for the price. I can find many other romantic dining spots that actually have GOOD italian fare.
Pros: Ambience, Service, Location
Cons: Food, Value
Cafe Lago isn't as cozy and perhaps a little less friendly than it used to be; but it has tripled in size. I still find the lasagna the best anywhere. I love the marinara sauce, very simple, light flavourings so the tomato goodness comes through. The lasagna portions are generous, the pizza fantastic, the antipasto appetizer just amazing and the ravioli portions not bad. I have been lucky enough to have their eggplant lasagna, which was heaven- ask for it, maybe they will bring it back. They also had wonderful home made sausage I wish they had more often. I like that the menu is short and uncomplicated but thoroughly good; I do understand the desire to rotate a few things in and out. Again, ask if they will ever make their eggplant lasagna again, (or pre-lent lasagna with eggs, etc). You won't be disappointed.
Pros: excellent food, fresh ingredients, simple atmosphere
Cons: parking, more rotation of food
The tapenade appetizer and gnocchi entree were fantastic. It's a nice atmosphere too.
I was at Cafe Lago for the first time on Halloween 2001. While talking with our server she informed us of their seasonal special appetizer, butternut squash ravioli. We indulged, and what a wonderful treat it was. Our entrees were just as delicious. We had woodfire pizzas. We have been back three or four times since then, and would return more frequently if we could afford it. It is a little pricey, but I always feel like it's money well spent when I dine there.
Pros: Great food, Friendly servers, Good specials
Cons: a little pricey
We frequent this restaurant and the food has always been very good (great pasta and pizza!), but they never seem to change their menu. The menu is small to begin with, so the lack of change is making the place rather boring. Also, they keep raising their prices and it is now at least $16 or $17 for all of their pasta dishes. We've never had a problem with service until recently, it seems to have gone downhill. Combining all these factors we will likely be dining elsewhere in the future.
Cafe Lago is a scrumptious Italian restaurant. The staff can be a little haughty, but I personally think they are justified because this restaurant is so incredibly DELISH.
Pros: quick, great food, good for vegetarians
The chef at Cafe Lago cooks the way a very good Italian cook would when presented with ingredients available in Seattle. All the pastas and pizzas in this restaurant are made with care and influenced by a knowledgable food palate. This is a rare restaurant staffed with caring people.
Pros: Great value, Attentive staff, Good winelist
Yes remarkable how much they can charge for so little. A small bowl of gnocchi for $15.95? Give me a break. And it was mushy and mediocre. Also had a pizza which was uninspired and overpriced. What is happening to Seattle that people are willing to pay so much for very mediocre food?