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Nevin Martell | Photo: Courtesy of Fiola Mare | July 16, 2014
Just because you’re not taking a summer sojourn to Italy (or even if you are), doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some authentic Italian food right here in DC. We’ve rounded up five of our favorite, recently opened Italian hot spots. Go ahead. Live la dolce vita.
1. Osteria Morini
Chef and Owner Michael White named his new restaurant after his mentor—Gianluigi Morini of San Domenico restaurant in Italy—and takes his cuisine cues from his time cooking in Italy’s breadbasket, the Emilia-Romagna region, which is known as the birthplace of several standout Italian staples like prosciutto, mortadella, Parmigiano, and balsamic vinegar.
THE DISH Get a taste of the breadbasket’s fantastic fare with Executive Chef Matt Adler’s plump ravioli stuffed with swoonworthy truffled ricotta and lavished with melted butter. 301 Water St. SE, 202.484.0660
2. Alba Osteria
Chef Roberto Donna’s recently opened resto was inspired by his hometown of Alba in the Piedmont region.
THE DISH Try the trofie alla finanziera, with chestnut corkscrew pasta, sweetbreads, veal brains, chicken livers and cockscombs. “You don’t see it on the menu often here in the United States,” says Chef De Cuisine Amy Brandwein. 425 I St. NW, 202.733.4454
3. Lupo Verde
Recently opened on 14th Street’s bustling restaurant row, Lupo Verde (or “green wolf” in Italian) is named for co-owner Antonio Matarazzo’s lush hometown of Avellino in Campania, Italy, and serves as the inspiration for many of the menu’s housemade cheeses, pastas and prosciuttos.
THE DISH Get a taste of Avellino in Chef de Cuisine Domenico Apollaro’s sopworthy lamb ragu-coated twisted matchsticks of striglie pasta. 1401 T St. NW, 202.827.4752
4. Fiola Mare
Chef Fabio Trabocchi is an arbiter of authentic Italian food in DC and, for his third restaurant outing, he took inspiration from the seafood-rich seaside towns of the Marche region, where he grew up. “I’m trying to recreate the experience of dining on the Mediterranean,” he says of his Georgetown waterfront space.
THE DISH An extravagant trip down memory lane—the frutti di mare—includes Sunset Beach and Kumamoto oysters, head-on prawns, and steamed lobster tail and claws. 3050 K St. NW, Ste 101, 202.628.0065
Co-owners Ari Gejdenson and Ralph Lee dreamed up this Italian gastropub after living—and eating—in Florence, Italy. Designed as a cozy spot for diners to feel at home, Ghibellina’s menu is filled with bubble-pocked, char-spotted pizzas. Grab the accompanying shears for serving it up family style.
THE DISH The pizza—dotted with sausage, roasted onions and three cheeses—is a perfect tribute from Executive Chef Jonathan Copeland to the eatery’s Florentine roots. 1610 14th St. NW, 202.803.2389