travel washington dc

{travel} christine and phillip in DC: fiola mare

April 15, 2017

Two years ago, I went to DC to see the cherry blossoms and to visit Starr. This year, I went to DC with Phil to see the cherry blossoms, visit Starr, and meet Phil’s brother William! This was our first trip together, so of course it was both exciting and a bit nerve wrecking. The latter was because I feel like going on a trip is a big test to any relationship (or friendship). You have to spend all day with someone else and deal with how they travel. I was praying to all the gods that he traveled like Steph or Tina aka down to do anything and everything. If he did, then we’d be dandy!

Phil and I both took two days off from work so we could enjoy four solid days in DC. Although both of us usually fly Southwest, we found a flight with just an hour layover in Boston to DC on JetBlue and then a nonstop flight back on Sunday on Virgin. When we deplaned in Boston, it was 27 degrees. How do people live like this!? When the flight attendant saw me legit shivering, he told us, “Don’t worry, it will be warmer in DC. Like 3 degrees warmer.” Thanks, dude. #cry

As we pulled into DC, Phil nudged me to look because he said he loved how DC looked from the sky. (He actually visited DC 4 months ago, so this was both our second times here!)

Will picked us up, and we headed back to his apartment. He left for school, and we got ready to go out for our lunch reservations at Fiola Mare. On the way to Fiola Mare, our uber driver pointed us to the place where they filmed a part of The Exorcist. The “Exorcist stairs” are located at the corner of Prospect Street NW and 36th Street NW. I’ve never watched the movie because it seemed too creepy, but it’s always fun learning random facts about places!

Last year, Washingtonian named Fiola Mare the #1 restaurant in the city. This year, it dropped to #5, but it’s definitely still one of the #1 restaurants in my book! The dining room is romantic and modern, and I was glad they sat us by the windows looking out at the water.

We started off our lunch with cocktails: He got the Sapore Vero (rye whiskey, carpano bianco vermouth, amaro montengero, and luxardo maraschino), and I got the Riviera (grapefruit and rosemary infused vodka, limoncello, campari granita, and sparkling rose). Our server wasn’t joking when he said their cocktails are really good!

Besides their featured cocktails, they offer mocktails and the classic cocktails. After our server recommended some of his favorite dishes on the menu, we spent quite a while trying to figure out just what we should order. When we started ordering, our server laughed and said, “Ah, you guys look like Californians. You guys look like you really enjoy food.” True that!

One of the items we ordered was the 3 course Maria Menu. The appetizer was this heirloom Italian radicchio with citrus, fennel, pecorino, and anchovy dressing. If all salads tasted like this, I could definitely eat salads every day!

This Fiola Mare lobster ravioli was one of the stars of lunch. Unlike usual ravioli with thick skin and not a lot of meat, the ravioli here had an abundant amount of lobster in the filling. And they also gave two extra pieces of lobster on the side. Happy taste buds, for sure!Duck egg raviolo with braised beef cheek, truffled ricotta, and brasato sauce. Once we cut into this raviolo, the egg yolk flowed out perfectly.

After we ate the ravioli, we were served with our seafood. The olive oil poached Norwegian cod with chickpea crema, rapini, taggisaca olives, and berganot was the main dish in the Maria Menu. The fish melted in your mouth, and the sauce complemented the fish really well. We also ordered a pound of grilled calamari. They only serve them by the pound, so we almost didn’t order it… but so glad we did! We’ve never had grilled calamari this tender before. It was so tender we had to ask how they cooked it. The secret was boiling it a little before putting it on the grill. Doubt I’d ever try it since I don’t cook much, but it’s good to know how it’s done! Our server also gave us some spinach on the house!

After we finished our cocktails, Phil ordered us some wine to go with our seafood. He sure enjoys in the finer things in life!

I was surprised we finished all of our food. And for dessert from the Maria Menu, we got the garden strawberries and mint dish. Our server not only gave us an extra portion so we didn’t have to share, he also gave us two glasses of dessert wine and a chocolate hazelnut bite. This guy really does know his food – the dessert wine paired perfectly with the dessert!

The bar on the other side was also really nice!

Our first meal in DC was phenomenal, and the bar was definitely set pretty high. Would any meal after be able to top this? We hope so…

Although the skies were clear, the weather was still pretty chilly! Nonetheless, it was sunny, so we decided to just walk to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms. Plus, we really needed to walk off all the food we just ate!

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