It’s the little sibling of popular Cafe Lago in Montlake and is both an Italian grocer and deli. Do not miss the meatball pizza.

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Cafe Lago has been an Italian favorite in Montlake since 1990. Fresh-made pasta, pizzas baked by apple-wood fire, that beloved lasagna. Now, just a short distance away sits its younger sibling: Little Lago, an Italian grocer and deli.

Step into the small space near Portage Bay and wander the short aisles full of select Italian goods. Find pastas, sauces, well-priced wines, cheeses and more to bring home and make a feast. Or, step through the door and head straight to the right, where you’ll find several small tables with cute red chairs. There you can enjoy treats from the deli — baked goods, salads, one of many Jones Sodas on offer from the fountain — chat with neighbors or watch the big-screen TV.

The menu: The store is open all day, but the deli’s menu shifts throughout. Start the day with a lox bagel or Uova in Purgatorio, a baked egg dish, or some pastries and an espresso.

Little Lago

Cafe

2919 E. Fuhrman, (Portage Bay) Seattle; open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; 206-922-3324 or littlelago.com

Beginning at noon, sandwiches (many served on the ever-exquisite Sea Wolf Bakery’s breads) and pizzas take over the menu. Choose between a deluxe grilled cheese with Brie and house-made tomato jam, or a spicy Italian sandwich with sausage and peppers. Pizzas are Italian-style, of course, with a crispy thin crust and a nice, smokey flavor. Vegetarian white pizzas are great options, or go red with meatballs or sausage and pepperoni.

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For dinner, sandwiches are out and calzones are in. And after 4 p.m., stop in for rotisserie chickens (half chicken $8, whole $13) and ribs (half rack $10, whole $17), a great option to take to-go.

Don’t miss: The meatball pizza is worth stopping in for. The house-made meatballs are light and flavorful and are well-paired with a smoked mozzarella and bright tomato sauce. The crust remains perfectly crispy, and not for lack of heavy toppings. Add a simple arugula salad, and you have a light meal for two.

What to skip: The porchetta sandwich comes with a hazelnut gremolata with a powerful fennel flavor that overshadowed the meat. The crunchiness of the nuts, though, was a nice touch, and there’s no going wrong with a Sea Wolf ciabatta.

Prices: A meatball pizza ($13), porchetta sandwich ($12), arugula salad ($5), half roasted chicken ($8) and a side of potatoes and kale ($3) totaled $41, before tax and tip.