Ciao Thyme

Written by on May 23, 2013 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Downtown Bellingham, Washington

Ciao Thyme

How I heard of this place: When looking for lunch spots to enjoy a meal with our good (local) friends, we often hear of great spaces. Ciao Thyme is now among them.

Type of cuisine: Ciao Thyme offers a fresh style of catering that features local, seasonal produce and on-site cooking.   Menus are written specifically for the season, venue and the client’s taste.  Our menus are constantly evolving as input from our clients, ideas gleaned from food field trips and experimentation in our kitchen push us to grow our culinary repertoire.

Ciao Thyme Inside

Ciao Thyme is a proud member of Sustainable Connections and follows the guidelines of the international Slow Food movement.  We proudly support local, sustainable agriculture by purchasing directly from Whatcom county and Skagit county farmers.  Our alliances with independently owned and operated businesses, from florists to bakeries and farms to coffee roasters, ensure we have the best local products available.  Our fiscal goal is to leave as much of our revenue within our community as possible.

Ciao Thyme Tips

We believe food is an important part of any celebration.  Our aim is to create a unique menu for each client and bring our high standards for food into the community for parties, weddings, and other special events.

Ambiance: We walked up to the corner of Unity Street and Flora Street downtown and were struggling to find the name imprinted on this quaint garage-style building, freshly painted in a rusty red with turquoise trim. Upon closer inspection, the trim-matching font could be seen against the windowed storefront. Inside, we were welcomed into a small lobby-like area, with window-front barquettes and an array of items for sale. After perusing the desserts, our dining companions joined us; we placed our orders and carried our own desserts towards the back, where we could join the dozen others seated at long, cafeteria style tables. The amber glow of lighting, the smooth jazz overhead and the open kitchen gave us an at-home feeling as we sat down to dive in to our sweet treats!

Ciao Thyme Barquette


People have asked us for years when we would open a restaurant.  We thought we could satisfy them with Incognito–our (occasional) restaurant dinner series.  How naive we were–the dinners and classes just expanded the crowd that was asking for more Ciao Thyme.   As we head into our twelfth year of business in Bellingham, we have a vision for the next twelve years. Imagine this…you are working downtown and dying to step out of the office for a quick, delicious lunch.  You walk down the block to 207 Unity street, push open the orange door and step into Ciao Thyme On the Side. 

Ciao Thyme Dining

We plan to greet you with a warm smile and the aromas of delicious soups, sandwiches, and freshly baked bread.  You will be tempted by sides of organic farro salad with roasted cauliflower, smoked shitake mushrooms and fennel soffritto; and roasted tomato soup with cardamom creme fraiche and croutons; and onion-rye rolls withroasted porchetta and kale-plum slaw; and warm chocolate chip cookies with vanilla salt . You place your order, pick up your tray and find a seat.  You strike up a friendly conversation with the person next to you.  When you leave, you feel nourished–body and soul recharged for the continuation of your day.

Ciao Thyme Table

The menu will change with the farm produce of the seasons.  There is no pretense in this space, just high quality ingredients prepared with care and delivered with love.  Folks come knowing they can trust that the food that is prepared here will be sourced responsibly.  They know that by choosing Ciao Thyme On the Side, their dining dollars will go farther in this community to support local families, local farmers, and other small businesses in Bellingham–keeping our community thriving.”

Ciao Thyme Kitchen

What I ordered: Having had to order upon entering the bright and Martha Stewart-inspired orange and blues of the space, we were immediately greeted by a handful of dessert options. Placing our orders at the front, where our selections were taken on an iPad, using Square, none of us could refuse the desserts staring us in the face. So, we started with sweets! I selected the Strawberry Rhubarb Clafoutis ($5), a gluten-free concoction prepared with a crepe-like batter layered beneath rhubarb strawberry compote, souffle-like top, rhubarb curd flecked with vanilla bean and spiced (cardamom) whipped creme fraiche.

Ciao Thyme Clafoutis

My husband chose the Chocolate Chip Cookie ($3) made with large discs of Vahlrona dark chocolate topped with vanilla salt,

Ciao Thyme Dessert Tier

and our dining companions shared the Chocolate Cardamom Pot de Creme ($4), a honey-sweetened, gluten free dark chocolate baked custard infused with cardamom, topped with cardamom whipped cream.

Ciao Thyme Pot de Creme

Of the four of us dining cafeteria style at Ciao Thyme this afternoon, three of us were immediately intrigued by the Special of the Day Filet O’ Fish ($15 each): Hawaiian Opah served on a toasted sweet roll with tropical aioli and kale salad slaw with a mango pineapple lime vinaigrette.

Ciao Thyme Filet-o-Fish

The fourth in our party enthusiastically enjoyed a cup of Red-Lentil Coconut Soup ($6).

Ciao Thyme Soup

What I loved: Dessert. Each one better, more flavorful, more vibrant and smooth than the last. The cardamom infused the chocolate with such precision, the rhubarb slightly tart with its hint of summer, and the large discs of dark chocolate melted like a layer throughout the center of the cookie.

Why I loved it: Among numerous reasons to Ciao Thyme – ambiance, presentation of each dish, community-building-encouraged seating, creativity of flavors – one of them is definitely their commitment to the local community!

Our community is important to us—so, we like to give back to this place we call home.  Ciaò Thyme donates 10-15% of its annual revenue in goods and services each year to local non-profits.  From auction items to discounted catering for fundraisers, we’ve given to the organizations that help make Bellingham a great place to live and work.”

Ciao Thyme Silverware

Cost: High ($13 – $15 per dish)

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