Armandino Batali’s Salumi in Seattle Means More Than Salami — Plus, He’s Mario Batali’s Dad

| August 27, 2010 | 3 Comments

Those in the know in Seattle who crave authentic Italian-style cured meats know to head down to Pioneer Square to a tiny storefront where they can find the best cured meats in town made by Mario Batali’s father. 

We were there at 11 a.m. on Friday, the time the restaurant opened, and there was already a line flowing out the door to the corner of the street. 

Salumi is the creation of Armandino Batali and his wife, Marilyn. If you’re wondering, yes, they’re Mario Batali’s parents.They’re dedicated to preserving the authentic meat-curing techniques of Italy and the Mediterranean. 

Among the mind-boggling varieties of cured meats at Salumi: 

  • Argumi, a salami cured with citrus and cardamom
  • Cotecchino, a traditional salami from northern Italy made from pork meat and the skin of the pig, and flavored with salt and spices, including vanilla
  • Cotto, made with coursely ground white pepper, nutmeg, mace and sugar
  • Dario, a salami made with nutmeg and mace
  • Finocchiona, flavored with cracked fennel, black pepper and a wisp of curry
  • Hot Sopressata, a spicy pork salami with garlic and a slight bite
  • Mole, a unique creation made with chocolate, cinnamon, ancho and chipotle peppers
  • Salumi Salami, the house salami with a hint of ginger
  • Smoked Paprika, cured with salt and flavored with smoked paprika
  • Coppa, pork shoulder cured in sugar and salt and then spiced with peppers
  • Lamb Prosciutto, made from boneless lamb leg, cured and aged
  • Lomo, boneless pork tenderloin rubbed, cured and air-dried

The Salumi restaurant is operated as a storefront, where they sell retail salami and cured meat products, sandwiches and weekly specials (soups and pastas). They also prepare party trays and sandwich trays. 

For those of you visiting Seattle, Salumi is worth the wait. Be prepared to wait 20-30 minutes. Even though the line may be somewhat long, it moves fairly quickly because seating is limited. Most people come to the storefront to buy a sandwich and take it with them, or to buy salami and other cured meat products to take home. 

In addition to cured meat sandwiches, there are sampler plates, meatball sandwiches, and a rotating selection of soups. 

Our time in line passed fairly quickly. When we arrived at the counter, we decided to share a cured meat plate with some cheese and olives, and split a curried squash soup. We each ordered a can of orange-flavored Pellegrino to wash down our lunch. 

As I was paying, Charles was eyeing two open spots at the communal table and was headed there to save the seats. There are only two tables in this small storefront, the communal table and a table for two. The crowd was a mix of locals and tourists. Everyone was waiting eagerly for their meal, which arrived very quickly. At the communal table, wine by the glass was offered on the honor system and there were carafes of water and stacks of glasses to share. 

Everyone at the communal table was in a jovial mood as we savored every bite of lunch. Seated at one end of the table was a group of cheese producers and vendors, in town from as far away as New York for a cheese conference. At the other end was a group of locals on break for lunch from their downtown jobs. 

Our sampler plate was ringed with a variety of salami and cured meats topped with slices of imported Italian cheeses and a few olives. A six-inch baguette came with the meal, already sliced for us, along with a plate of olive oil. 

We couldn’t tell one salami from the next just by looking, but the flavors were distinct: Peppery, garlicy, one had a hint of curry, another tasted of citrus and fennel. 

The cold curried squash soup was sweet and a nice balance to the saltiness of the cured meats we were eating. I was going back and forth—a sip of sweetness, a bite of saltiness. I closed my eyes to stop them from rolling into the back of my head from the pure ecstasy of flavors. 

For those outside Seattle, you’re still in luck if you want to savor some of Salumi’s selections. The company takes orders through an email and phone process noted on its Website. Click here for a link. The company notes that it does not ship sliced meat products, only larger pieces, so there are several weight selections available to pick from, and the company ships via 2-day FedEx. 

Buon appetito! 

— Vic 

    PS: For those of you wondering, as some of you did when we Tweeted we were at Salumi, no, Mario’s dad does not wear colorful kitchen clogs. According to a staff member, “That’s a Mario thing.”

    Diners wait patiently in line at Salumi in Seattle.

    The noble pig adorns the sign at Salumi.

    The counter and dining area fit into a tight space. Salumi has only two tables—a communal table and a table for two—so most food is ordered as takeout.

    Our lunch was a wonderful sampler plate of cured meats, slices of cheese and a cold squash curry soup.

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Category: Restaurants

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

Comments (3)

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  1. Tina Schneider says:

    How in the world did I forget to go there last year! Duh!!! And I’m Italian too…

  2. Todd says:

    Italian cured meats… yum! I’m in Seattle frequently enough… I need to try this place!

  3. VPanichkul says:

    Let us know what you think! Just be patient. It’s usually a 20 minute wait.

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