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Originally published Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:30 AM

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Fonté Café: Beyond just a cup of joe in downtown Seattle

Downtown Seattle’s Fonté Café goes above and beyond the usual coffee-shop fare, with tasty pastas and savory paninis.


Special to The Seattle Times

Fonté Café

Wine bar and bistro

1321 First Ave., Seattle, 98101; 206-777-6193, cafefonte.com

Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-9 p.m., happy hour 3-6 p.m.; reservations available

Etc: All major credit cards; no obstacles to access; wine, beer, cocktails; street parking only

Prices: $-$$

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It’s not hard to find a good cup of joe in Seattle. But when you’re looking for a cafe with food that rivals the coffee, you might be more, ahem, pressed.

Fonté Café, across from the Seattle Art Museum on First Avenue, is the first cafe for Fonté Coffee, which has been roasting coffee beans in Georgetown for two decades.

Casual enough for a drop-in visit and formal enough for a business lunch, Fonté Café flexes to your needs, from your morning pick-me-up to happy-hour cocktails to a sit-down meal before a night on the town.

The menu: Breakfast, served until 2 p.m., includes the usual egg classics — omelets and scrambles ($11-$12) — and the more filling Croque Madame, with house-made brioche, espresso béchamel, Gruyere and French ham ($13). Don’t overlook the salmon gravlax Benedict ($16): The salmon is cured with juniper berries and Calvados apple brandy, drizzled with hollandaise and served on a freshly baked English muffin.

For lighter lunch fare, check out panini, like the fig-and-arugula number with chevre on a house ciabatta. Feeling hungry? Look toward the pasta and pizza selections, where you’ll find pillowy potato gnocchi ($12 small/$17 large), mushroom and truffle cream tagliatelle ($11/$14) and margherita pizza with house-made mozzarella ($10).

Coffee specialty drinks include a floral desert rose latte or herbaceous sage latte; Turkish latte, with cardamom and vanilla-bean syrup; cayenne-spiked Aztec mocha; and espresso affogato, with a scoop of sweet cream gelato.

What to write home about: The pappardelle Bolognese ($12/$17) was everything you’d want on a chilly winter day.

The setting: Toes the line between modern wine bar and traditional coffee shop.

Summing up: A niçoise salad ($16), pappardelle Bolognese ($17 large) and a prosciutto-and-brie panini ($11) came to $44 before tax and tip, and served two with leftovers.

Katrina Barlow: kbarlow@seattletimes.com



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