Honesty is the best policy, right? Well then, here is the truth…
I have not really been a fan of the culinary scene in Washington DC. Yup, I said it. On average, I have been taking 1-2 trips to DC over the past 13 years (you can do the math) and each time I keep thinking that maybe I’m just not going to the correct restaurants or ordering the right thing. After a while, I just came to the conclusion that even though it is a fantastic, urban city, it just does not have amazing food like New York City or Chicago. I didn’t understand it, but I had to accept it.
Well, I’m here today and happy to report that my opinion has finally changed!
On my latest trip to DC I had the chance to check out the up and coming Logan neighborhood. This area along the 14th Street corridor has gone through a major transformation (it still is in development) with many cute new restaurants, bars, clothing boutiques, furniture stores and the like. As I walked through the streets, it almost felt like a little cross of New York City and Boston…not quite as crazy and congested as NYC but with a certain charm and quaintness reminiscent of Boston. I liked it!
My friend Shalini had sent me a few options of new places to try and after doing a little Yelp research, we decided on Ghibellina. Ghibellina is an Italian Gastro Pub where the inspiration stems from the owner’s days living in Florence, Italy. I already felt the connection…I actually lived in Florence for 6 months during my study abroad program in college, so I was excited to check this place out. And, the restaurant had already received tons of great reviews.
As Shalini and I were both mulling over the cocktail menu, we saw a waitress walk by with a few fun looking drinks for other restaurant guests (which when we looked just happened to be the famous chef Marcus Samuelsson). After the waitress walked by again we asked what the drink was. She said it was the Ghib-bellini and once we read the ingredients, we were like “um, no-brainer”! The Ghib-bellini drink has prosecco, grapefruit, St. Germain and grapefruit bitters. It was awesome and so light and refreshing. We were so happy we took the recommendation!
Next we had the Insalata Ghibellina which is a salad with arugula, avocado, confit tomatoes, emmenthaler (a type of cheese, which I would say is most similar in taste to a Swiss cheese), pine nuts and pesto. This salad was fresh and tasty, but what I loved about it most was the pesto dressing. That was totally unique and new for me. Usually the only pesto I’ve had has been on pasta or pizza. All the ingredients went really well together and created a new favorite in my book.
From the pizza choices we went with the Quattro Formaggi Pizza; buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, grana padano, pecorino romano, house-pickled peppers and oregano. What I first noticed and loved was how this pizza was served; with a set of pizza shears! I’ve never seen that before. It made cutting the pizza a fun little adventure and you could cut as much or as little as you would like. Aside from that, I wasn’t really expecting this pizza to be anything stellar, but I have to say it was flavorful and awesome. You could tell the cheeses were of top quality, the crust was cooked to perfection and the other ingredients made for one tasty pizza. I totally recommend it!
In the end, I’m thrilled (and relieved) to state that I have officially changed my mind about the restaurants and food in DC. I’ve now been to several places that I deem “blog-worthy” so you will definitely be reading more on my awesome, recent finds from our nation’s capital.