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“Better than average food, rushed service, high price for some items, unacceptable corkage fees.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of La Medusa

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La Medusa
4857 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118-1741
206-723-2192
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Ranked #565 of 3,427 restaurants in Seattle
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Outdoor seating
Dining options: Reservations
Seattle Area
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Better than average food, rushed service, high price for some items, unacceptable corkage fees.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2013

We enjoy Columbia city (just South of Downtown Seattle on Rainier) for its outstanding Columbia Bakery, very good meat shop (Bob's), pizza (Tutta Bella), and Geraldine's for breakfast and lunch. We saw good reviews of LaMedusa and wanted to try it before inviting friends there for dinner.

We were the first to be seated (5pm) and were immediately told that our table was reserved for a 6:30 party, but that we had plenty of time to dine.

This is a small neighborhood type of place with the items written on the wall near the kitchen. Nice looking first courses, pasta, and two main courses (salmon and rabbit). We had burratta (a cheese course), oysters, and some bread to start. As a side we had grilled asparagus ... which was served perhaps 20 minutes before the main course. And then one pasta course (Puttanesca) and rabbit legs. We also ordered a nice Oregon Rose (at $41/bottle which is probably an ok price).

The initial courses came promptly (as they should since we were the first diners). Later courses took some time as the restaurant filled up and the kitchen was having to deal with other customers).

Our main course came around 6pm (which we had ordered pretty quickly when we came since we were asked to leave by 6:30)

The burrata was very good ... a serving of a soft cheese for $14. Grilled asparagus at $10 was very good. Bread does not come with the meal but at $3 is a must. It is from Columbia bakery a few doors away.

After a long wait our pasta and rabbit arrived. The Puttanesca was pretty salty --- even considering that perhaps much of the salt was from the olives. Also lots of hot spice and a big dose of garlic. My wife found the spices too much for her ... so I gave up my rabbit and had the pasta. Having been in Italy fairly often we both agree that the pasta itself was nicely prepared but that the spices in the sauce were heavy handed. Had we been in Italy the dish would have gone back. But this was our first time at this place so we didn't complain.

The rabbit was quite nice. Good crispy finish on the skin. Would recommend this dish.

We were finishing the main around 6:40 (we would have finished earlier but the course did not come for some time after the side dishes).

We were asked if we might like dessert, but I saw a little cue of others waiting and asked if we could have the table long enough for dessert. We were told that we could take a dessert to go. NOT KIDDING!

So we paid our $154 bill + a tip and left. Maybe the desserts were good. Perhaps the express which is always a finishing touch for us would have been good. Alas, no chance to experience.

Just before going I asked what the corkage fee is. (They have a nice wine list but all very young, and I like to bring in mature Italian red wines often having them with a young white ordered from the list). The corkage is $24/bottle .... and I saw no indication that the glassware was up to expected standards for that type of price. Canlis with its professional wine staff and quality glassware charges only $10/bottle/person. The servers seem to know about the wines they serve but don't provide the normal wine service of offering to pour your wine. (I find this is just fine but it should be the option of the diner).

I did see a number of people just come in and have a pasta course and perhaps one side. So if we take some care you can keep your bill probably half of what I paid. But when you eat as you would in Italy and expect to have a relaxed meal (and pay pretty dearly for it) I would not expect to be pressed to get out before having dessert --- even though it was the speed of the kitchen that kept us from finishing more quickly.

Recommendation:
Might return if we want to be in a real casual place. Would select among many other places if we want fine dining.

Recommendation to the restaurant:
1. Be more wine friendly. Corkage is so out of line that we know we would avoid this place if we wanted to bring in a fine wine. (Again, the list is nice but wines are very young. )
2. If you don't want to seat a party because another reservation is too close -- then don't. If you do seat a party, make sure that the courses keep coming and that the bill arrives in a timely manner.
3. Watch the seasoning a bit. If something is going to be heavy with hot spices, salt and garlic, at least have the servers describe the dish.
4. Since you charge for bread, offer to refresh it when it has been depleted. Usually waiters check the bread. And very few places in the US charge for it if full meals are ordered. This is sort of like airlines charging for every little thing. It must be that LaMedusa is afraid that some would abuse a free bread policy? With rabbit at $31 I would think it would not be too much to expect.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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34 reviews from our community

84% Recommend
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Favorite Italian in Seattle”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

La Medusa is in Columbia City a bit south of downtown and not a typical tourist destination but well worth the short trip. Everything fresh and homemade. Chalk board menu. A tad noisy - lots of lively conversations. Great people and food

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“food and ambience wonderful, our service not so much”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

I will copy TA reviews an email just sent to the restaurant. It was a lovely place with delicious food, but a dis-ingeniousness server ruined our experience. Our rating would have been 4 or 5 stars given different service.

"We had the opportunity to dine at La Medusa for the first time last night for our anniversary. You were chosen not only on your excellent reputation, but also because my wife and daughter spent time in Sicily and have a special fondness for the island and its food. Your food and ambiance were everything we had hoped it would be. However I need to communicate about the service. Everyone was very nice with smiles and such, but our service seemed somewhat disingenuous or just forgetful. On the online reservation when it asked about "note to the restaurant" I put that it was our 28th wedding anniversary. After we were seated for awhile, already on the bread service, nothing had been mentioned by the waiter about the anniversary. We had invited our daughter and son to join us for dinner, and when my daughter went to the bathroom, I asked her to mention to the waiter about the anniversary in case it was lost in the online reservation. My daughter told me that the waiter was aware of it. To be brief with the rest of the story, nothing was ever communicated or acknowledged, the deserts were brought out and after they were almost finished, the waiter came over and whispered that she forgot about the anniversary so no candle on the dessert. I then asked her if we could purchase an order of gelato, I was promptly told not possible. However when it was time for the bill, she seemed to remember and wrote happy 28th anniversary.

I have a feeling that this would not have been the case with another waiter and hopefully not the management/owner's philosophy of how to treat a customer who brought his family there for a special occasion. This unfortunately gave a sour taste to our experience last night. As mentioned earlier, your restaurant otherwise is everything the write ups describe and I wish the new owners well in their new venture."

Steve Alabaster

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leesburg, Virginia
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great family style!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

We went here for a big family dinner the night before my brother's wedding. It was a great place to try lots of different dishes, all family style. The greens were especially delicious! The service was terrific--prompt and very friendly. Nice neighborhood location. Would definitely return!

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Where to take people out to eat if you like them”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012 via mobile

The rotating menu in a unique format can be a challenge depending on your seat, but this challenge is well worth the work. I'be never had a bad plate come out

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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