In Italy, the osteria is an inviting neighborhood spot where locals savor fresh, seasonal food while enjoying the company of good friends.
Renowned for its Northern Italian cuisine, La Spiga is authentic enough in both food and ambience to make you feel a wave of nostalgia, even if you’ve never been to Emilia-Romagna. Chef and co-owner Sabrina Tinsley crafts the Romagnola cuisine to make it genuine, yet hers alone. Using the very finest ingredients, menus are changed seasonally to reflect what is freshest in local markets. As co-owner and host Pietro Borghesi says, “An evening at La Spiga is like dining in Italy — without the plane fare.”
The osteria is named for la spiga di grano (a shaft of wheat), the symbol of fertility, harvest and good fortune. It’s the essential ingredient of the pasta and quintessential Romagna peasant bread made daily on the premises. The piadina flatbread is served warm and luscious: crisp on the outside and soft inside, it warrants a visit in itself.
After eight successful years in a smaller space, La Spiga moved in 2006. Cool enough for a date and warm enough to bring the family, the artfully designed 6,000 square foot Capitol Hill landmark features a massive bar backed by an impressive wine collection. The space has been brought back to life by skilled craftspeople, and succeeds in being both minimalist and inviting at the same time.
Any night of the week, the place is packed with chic locals and families, business people and artists and on many nights, a celebrity or two. When the weather is fine, dining al fresco on the patio while taking in an Italian movie makes for an even more pleasurable experience. Quality live music Sunday and Monday adds to the welcoming ambience. Ideal for night owls, an outstanding late evening menu and imaginative cocktail list makes La Spiga a favorite last stop until its 12 a.m. closing.
About Sabrina Tinsley
Chef extraordinaire and co-owner Sabrina Tinsley’s love for cooking grew from spending time with her mother, who prepared meals from the treasures in the family garden. In college, she discovered her avocation could be a career and decided to attend cooking school in Italy. There, she met her future husband, Pietro Borghesi. The couple opened a piadina shop, where they served the traditional sandwich to appreciative locals.
Sabrina and Pietro moved to Seattle and, in October 1998, opened Osteria La Spiga. Sabrina’s sister, Sachia Tinsley, joined her in the kitchen, where they lovingly created dishes from the Emilia-Romagna region. After eight years at the Broadway spot, Sabrina and Pietro decided to relocate Osteria La Spiga to a more spacious home on 12th Avenue. Praised for her skill and creativity, Sabrina has been featured on numerous television and radio programs and as a key speaker in various food forums and fund-raising events. On rare days off, Sabrina enjoys spending time with her husband Pietro and their two children.
About Pietro Borghesi
An early childhood in the Congo and youth in Italy mean that Pietro Borghesi brings a broad and diverse perspective to his role as co-owner and general manager of La Spiga. Borghesi began his career in the food business as a host and steward. He is a lifelong wine expert and can determine which wine and food pairings will wow. A beloved fixture in the Seattle food scene, Pietro’s desire to host is reflected in the notably warm and welcoming atmosphere of La Spiga, making everyone who crosses his path feel special. He remembers his customers, their likes and dislikes, and his charisma and caring are key to the establishment’s success.