There is nothing like a good, homemade Italian meal – and that’s exactly what Floriana promises. Tucked away in a townhouse right off the beaten path of Dupont circle is Floriana. With dark wood, homey accents, and delightfully polite waiters it almost feels like your eating at a friend’s grandmother’s house (in the best way possible).
Walking in almost feels like walking into a regular townhouse in Dupont, except for the hostess and large curtains leading into the dining room. Floriana itself is two dining floors. I suggest the upper dining room for a more airier expereince, but if you’re looking for a cozy, intimate dinner downstairs (main floor) dining is the way to go. Although it’s summer and much too warm for a fire, I found myself almost wishing they’d turn it on.
The menu is smaller than some Italian restaurants you may be used to. This is likely in order to keep the food and homemade quality high. I should also note that, for meats, this menu leans more towards fish than chicken.
The bread that came out was divine. I mean, most bread that comes out of Italian restaurants is, and should be, amazing. If you ever are at an Italian restaurant with subpar bread, leave immediately – this is a bad sign. I also loved the side of pesto, instead of the traditional olive oil. It tasted picked fresh from the garden – though beware of this on dates or dinner meetings, you’re apt to get it in your teeth.
For appetizers, we ordered Cesar salads and calamari. While both were enjoyable, they didn’t really have as much of a “wow” factor as I would hope and expect from such a carefully constructed menu.
My sister got the ravioli and they were absolutely divine. They were filled with prime cuts of steak nestled inside cheese and lovely tomato cream sauce. This was the favorite of the entire dining expereince and a dish you can’t go wrong with, should you visit.
A new twist on a typical carbonara was this colorful dish. However, this dish was middling at best, and, to quote my dad, “nothing to write home about.” Although it was well prepared with fresh, well-sourced ingredients, again there was no “wow” factor.
My favorite Italian dish of all time is gnocchi, and I swear one day I will have every combination in every sauce possible. These were wonderfully homemade, delicious, and almost fluffy and easily some of the best gnocchi I’ve had. The lamb and lamb sauced mixed in was also divine. The fresh glob of ricotta was also a welcome cream texture that helped cut some of the spices and savoriness of the sauce.
Although I do not personally eat seafood, apparently this dish was rave-worthy. It easily had the prettiest plating and was nestled on top of pasta and a bright beet sauce. It was grilled to near perfection and well-seasoned.
Overall, my expereince at Floriana, especially as a place to take my family, was delightful. The service was fantastic, the setting was intimate, and the fact that it was in a townhouse made it delightfully “DC”. However, while none of the dishes could be considered “bad” , there were a few that were only “meh” and lacked any real oomph.