I entered Cafe Bengodi hoping...hoping, mind you...that it would prove to be one of those little hole-in-the-wall places that offers fantastically good food to those ""in the know."" Yeah, not so much. Perhaps its Pioneer Square location is its downfall...maybe Bengodi has settled into the role of underachieving tourist-feeder. Who knows?! At any rate, our meal there was far short of spectacular or even tasty. We began with the garlic bread, standard in every way except for being slightly overcooked. I ordered the Pasta Cozze, featuring the pasta of the day--penne--with a unique blend of mussels, tomatoes, and shredded carrots. This proved to be a watery, under-seasoned concoction that was entirely forgettable and improved only slightly with the additon of salt. My dining companion went with a risotto filled with veggies, but the consistency was oddly watery...and again, added salt was a requirement. In the middle of our meal, the server swung by and swiped the plate with our remaining piece of garlic bread without so much as asking if we were finished with it! This was our only service aside from placing our order, receiving food, and paying the bill. In the meantime, there was a hairy, portly fellow leering at us from various positions in the restaurant (including the service area...so one would assume he has a connection to the staff?!) but never speaking a word. Leering is not generally a welcome addition to my dining experiences. The one positive thing I'll say about Cafe Bengodi is that although it did have a highly abbreviated wine list (particularly as it is an Italian restaurant!), the Chianti we ordered was really quite enjoyable. I recommend skipping Cafe Bengodi...the food and service are entirely lackluster.
Pros: Great Chianti
Cons: Inattentive staff, mediocre food