Strictly speaking, the Potomac River is not Il Mare, but as the watery view for one of the newest, and certainly one of the finest seafood restaurants in D.C, the river certainly will do. This younger sister (opened March 2014) to Fabio Trabocchi’s highly regarded Fiola in the Penn Quarter, Fiola Mare is worth a visit, if only to take in terrific river-side vistas; in fact only a handful of D.C. restaurants are waterfront, and no other is of this caliber. Sit at one of the many outdoor balcony tables and you’ll be gazing out at Roosevelt Island, Key Bridge, and a slice of Georgetown’s waterfront to your right, and the Watergate apartments and the Kennedy Center to your left. Great views are also available within. The sprawling, modern interior has a front bar and a back bar, and more than one dining area in between. The quietly proficient staff serve up a slate of specialty cocktails, like the standout Bellini. Trabocchi shines in his mastery of Italian seafood. A recent dinner started with a generous portion of top grade tuna tartare, graced with a hint of tomato essence, followed by a too-generous portion of poached Alaska halibut topped with Ossetia caviar and succulent oysters. Also done to perfection was a bowl of lobster ravioli in a simple, herb-scented lobster broth, together with juicy lobster claw and tail, tasting as if the crustacean had just been pulled from the water. End with the bombolini: half a dozen ricotta doughnuts dusted with sugar, complemented by a warm chocolate sauce and a generous portion of vanilla gelato bearing chocolate crunches.
- Elise Hartman Ford