Green star Ristorante Machiavelli (Capitol Hill)

1215 Pine St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 621-7941

Fancier, higher-concept Italian restaurants come and go, amazing or disappointing or whatever; Machiavelli's a reliable friend. The lasagna, baked to order (allow 20 minutes) with spinach noodles and chicken livers, is the kind of thing you think about suddenly for no apparent reason—then you must have it for dinner that night, or the next night, or some night very soon. The tables in the cozy, low-ceilinged dining room don't have red-and-white-checked tablecloths, but they might as well. People bring their parents or their 10 closest friends or someone they really like for a first (or second, or umpteenth) date. One night a while back, one-half of a couple arose from a table to get down on bended knee, velvety box with ring in hand; this went over capitally, applauded by the whole room. The tiny bar is especially satisfying in the winter, when passersby look cold and miserable, while inside everyone is insulated with good company, beverages, and anticipation. Machiavelli isn't fancy, it's just always good.
Hours: 5-11 pm, closed Sunday
Categories: Bar, Restaurant

Restaurant Details

The Stranger's Reviews of Ristorante Machiavelli


Average Rating:
  • 4.36000/5 Stars.
Reviews/Comments (14) RSS

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It has my heart...

I truly can't go anywhere else for Italian in this city. It seems criminal to go someplace else when I know for a fact that I'll walk out of there stuffed and happy. It doesn't take reservations, but I'd rather wait hours for the puttanesca then have to go somewhere else.
Posted by Foodlab on May 17, 2007 at 11:33 AM · Report this

Great neighborhood place

This little, unpretentious, warm place is full of regulars who come for the piping hot pasta (spinach rav my favorite). Ask for extra beet in your salad. FYI This review was written by a non-editorial staff member of The Stranger.
Posted by Tim Keck on May 25, 2007 at 8:26 AM · Report this

Always Good, Always Right

Eat here once and you'll be back again and again and again. Find your favorite dish and order it over and over again. Spinach lasagna with chicken livers, Caesar salad with anchovies, a bottle of chianti and a good friend = heaven. Charming and efficient wait staff, great prices.
Posted by T1 and T2 on May 25, 2007 at 4:31 PM · Report this

Perfect atmosphere

If you're in a bad mood, Machiavelli's will sort you right out. It just feels *so* good to be amongst the relaxed people in the cramped, bustling dining room, and the veal Milanese is out of this world. No better value for great Italian food in Seattle. Tables for 2 turn over quickly but larger groups should expect to wait; enjoy the cocktails in the bar if there's room.
Posted by nonfamous on May 31, 2007 at 4:46 PM · Report this

Home twice per month

We have been going here for years. The bartender rocks (keep the Manhattans coming!), the service is perfect, the food consistently excellent, the atmosphere inviting. Nothing is ever bad.
Posted by Hamburg Leder on June 7, 2007 at 7:44 PM · Report this

only in heaven

If there is a God and there is a heaven, I imagine Machiavelli would be there. Its small and intimate and I wouldnt want anything else. So I get the same thing every time I go and every time the chicken al forno is amazing. Who wouldnt want chicken with garlic and rosemary and dripping with butter. If I had to have one last meal I would go here.
Posted by Blaire (with an e) on August 3, 2007 at 2:40 AM · Report this

My favorite restaurant in Seattle

Nothing beats Machiavelli's in my mind. Great food, the best service, reasonable prices, no pretention, no reservations. So what if you have to wait for a table? That's what the bar is for.
Posted by Pizza bagel on August 15, 2007 at 1:39 PM · Report this

Best (on the hill)

Machiavelli is very basic Italian but it strives to be close to the real thing. Maybe not the most authentic in town but definitely the best Italian on Capitol Hill if you don't mind the wait. Vegetarian friendly.
Posted by geofre on January 7, 2008 at 12:59 PM · Report this


I have to say that I am shocked at the number of 5 star reviews for this joint. The food was dismal, from the tuna carpaccio to the lasagna and linguini. The tuna was very fishy and not-so-fresh feeling. The bread helped it, but the bizarre oil, vinegar, more vinegar dipping sauce was disbarring. The wine we ordered off the wine list was a 2005, yet we received a 2006--maybe not the most egregious of errors, but definitely not what was advertised. The main dishes arrived and I have to say that the lasagna was flat (?, weird description, I know, but 1/2 inch thick???) and very salty. My dish of linguini with clams and a red sauce was somewhat nice and spicy, except for the undeniable canned, fishy taste that it left in my mouth. All of that being said, I can't totally slam the place due to the very efficient and kind service that we received, and because it is walking distance from both the Chapel (okay, maybe stumbling distance) and from our apartment.
Posted by whitpote on March 10, 2008 at 7:39 PM · Report this

Consistently Dependable!

Every time we go here the food, the drinks and the staff make us very, very happy. Good, consistently dependable food and service is their key to success. Try the Antipasto. We love this place!
Posted by Trent on May 26, 2008 at 9:29 AM · Report this

Great winter, spring, and summer spot

I only wish the spaceneedle view wasn't blocked while sitting at the window of the bar. Great vibe here, I feel like I'm in NY when having a drink(no pints though)....but seattle is much better anyways. Go there and have a good drink, my girl and I just sample the Jamesons, mmmmmmmm.
Posted by Hawaii_now_Seattle on June 12, 2008 at 8:04 PM · Report this

Essentially Perfect Italian

Machiavelli's gnocchi--paired with a delicious tomato sauce undefeated in Seattle--are exemplary in almost every sense of the word.

Add in very reasonable prices, a friendly and professional waitstaff and you have the perfect Italian meal in Seattle.

Everyone already knows this. Prepare for long waits on almost all nights--best spent in the bar or across the street at Bauhaus
Posted by Jonathan Golob on September 5, 2008 at 5:01 PM · Report this

Best Italian in Seattle

Great place. Nice people. Good food. Reasonable prices. It's hard to get in when you want to so I don't go there as much as I'd like. If you are not too PC and a bit of an animal hater, try the veal it is really great.
Posted by Charles on February 19, 2009 at 7:10 PM · Report this

Its ok

I have only been 2 or 3 times, the roasted chicken is very good. BUT everything else I have tried hardly qualifies as amazing Italian Food, unless comparing to chef boyardee or hamburger helper. The value seems poor, the thinnest pounded cuts of meat ever (chicken or veal) at these prices, its paper towel thin! And come on, the portions of pasta, pasta's cheap! I dont know if they make thier own, but??? Skimpy bread service? Like Dicks Hamburgers, this seems to another mediocre place the locals cant get enough of.
Posted by Jet City Jim on April 22, 2010 at 10:23 PM · Report this

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Ristorante Machiavelli
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