As much as I sometimes do enjoy the faux Italian restaurant with endless breadsticks and salads, there is nothing like authentic Italian cuisine that makes you appreciate the simplicity of quality ingredients mixed with heart, soul, and passion. As a hot spot for politicians and celebrities alike, this Georgetown gem is THE recommended place by Washingtonians. I came to find out why.
Cost – $$
Service – B
The wait staff was helpful and friendly and was willing to answer all my questions pertaining to the food. The only thing that bothered me was they weren’t attentive in refilling my water glass. Although seemingly insignificant, I tend to drink a lot during my meal.
Be forewarned that the portions here are definitely generous. The arancini is a must order dish since it is so rare to find in Italian restaurants in the area. This fried Arborio rice treat is stuffed with mozzarella and Bolognese meat and then rolled in breadcrumbs producing a dish that is both creamy and crunchy. The calamari fritti is also exceptional here. Soaked in milk for 24 hours, the squid pieces are so tender that even those with chewing issues could eat it. Both dishes are served with a gravy boat of fresh marinara.
The pasta at Filomena is made fresh on-site and once you taste pasta fresh, its hard to go back to the dried stuff. The gnocchi della mama was light, airy, buttery; the perfect potato pasta I have ever tried and those of you who love gnocchi must try it here since it is rare to find it fresh. My only qualm about this dish was that there was too much meat in the Bolognese but surprisingly the meaty sauce actually enhanced the taste of the gnocchi. The scampi di Palermo was not as impressive as the gnocchi. The fettuccini was perfectly al dente but the accompanied sauce had too much brandy and garlic and tasted a bit too “seafood-y” in my opinion.
The tiramisu was disappointingly soggy in my opinion. The lady fingers were dripping with the espresso-liquor mixture and made the dessert too wet and unstructured. I wasn’t sure if I was eating or drinking my dessert. The caramel cheesecake was much better than the tiramisu and the chopped walnuts in the crust were definitely a nice surprise.
Think “Godfather” circa 1970’s. The overly ornate wall décor, the café style chairs and tables do give off the feel of being in your grandmother’s house. I couldn’t really tell what the original decorations were since it looked like Christmas exploded in every corner of the restaurant.
Feel – A-
The best thing about this restaurant is the type of customers that you see in there; a mix of families, couples young and old, and teenagers. Descending from the stairs at the entrance of the restaurant, you feel as though you are transported into another place that isn’t at all the posh Georgetown outside. The Italian feel of hospitality and the energy of the room instantly hits you when going down that last step. Although the seating is cozy, the volume of chatter is noticeably loud keeping the restaurant alive while private conversations can be maintained. Great for families, large parties, or dinner dates, it is easy to why Filomena is a popular eatery for all ages.
Filomena is located at 1063 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. They can be reached at (202) 338-8800.