Chris & I went to Fiola for my birthday in April, a somewhat difficult decision since I usually choose Acqua Al 2 for this occasion. We had really wanted to check out Fiola though, so decided this was a good opportunity to branch out and cross off another of Washingtonian Magazine‘s Top 100 Restaurants. To be specific, Fiola is actually ranked #8. I was very intrigued by the “trattoria moderna,” because it had not even been open a full year when it shot to the top of the list this past January. After reading more about the chef, Fabio Trabocchi, the recognition made more sense. Apparently Fabio ran Maestro, a very successful restaurant in the area for a little while, then left to work in New York City. He returned to DC last year to start Fiola and obviously with his previous fame, many eyes were on him as he began this new venture.
Unfortunately, the evening didn’t start out well. The hostess told us our reservation had been cancelled two days ago. We had actually only made the reservation two days ago, but for some reason they couldn’t find it. After a few minutes, they did take us to a table; however, we were seated in the front of the restaurant and I think the ambiance might have been more enjoyable in the back section.
Our waiter wasn’t very warm, which also didn’t help. There was a bit of a language barrier and he didn’t seem excited about discussing the wines with us. After we made our entree decisions, we could tell he wasn’t pleased with our order. It turns out that he thought we were only ordering a half-pasta each, when our intention actually had been to order two half-pastas each. Once this was straightened out later on, he seemed a little happier.
After we finally felt more settled in, we did thoroughly enjoy the food! Chris and I each had a half-pasta of the Maine Lobster Ravioli, which was heavenly and more filling than it appears at first glance! The portions for all of the half-pastas were very generous and we were given a lot of lobster meat in this one.
Chris also tried a pasta with a traditional Ragu sauce, Roman style.
I thoroughly enjoyed a crawfish and crab dish.
For dessert, we found ourselves with more than we could handle! We ordered the doughnuts, which came more sugared than powdered–a great move, in our opinion. Fiola also was very kind to bring out a mini dessert tray to celebrate my birthday.
All in all, we had a great time at Fiola. It was just too bad that the experience felt a bit awkward and uncomfortable at the beginning. I don’t know if we’ll repeat Fiola in the near future, or if this will be a restaurant we’ll venture back to when we’re older and more distinguished. For now, I’ll just conclude by saying that for me at least, ease and the ability to relax makes all of the difference. I might be eating the best food of my life, but if the noise level is too stale or if the waiter is acting indifferent, that can really play into my overall opinion. Fiola wasn’t that bad, but it certainly wasn’t comfortable for us at first.