In Washington, D.C., the Italian chancery is located just off Embassy Row. During winter, delicious Italian cuisine is the perfect food to warm the soul. I spoke to Valentina Minco with the Embassy of Italy about the traditional foods and celebrations in her country. I also rounded up the best Italian restaurants in D.C. Next time you're in the mood for Italian food, visit these authentic spots.
Can you tell me about the traditional food in your country?
Pasta is by far the most common food an Italian family eats at least once a day. There are many sauces and many pasta formats, not only spaghetti. The important thing is that this is always al dente, that is barely cooked for an American palate. Nonetheless, Italian cuisine is a very regional one. There are recipes typical of just one region or city. That is what makes its food so varied.
Where can you find the best Italian food in D.C.?
Mrs. Minco is based in New York City. At The Embassy Row Hotel, we put together our personal best Italian experiences and highest-rated reviews for authentic Italian restaurants in the city. Don't miss these six Italian restaurants in D.C.
Acqua Al 2 (Capitol Hill) - Started in Florence, this brick-walled restaurant serves Italian classics in a cozy, rustic setting.
il Canale (Georgetown) - Thin-crust pizza from a wood-fired oven plus pasta and antipasti in a cozy exposed-brick dining room.
2 Amys (Glover Park) - Bustling wood-oven pizzeria serves innovative Neapolitan-style pies and Italian wine by the glass.
Al Tiramisu (Dupont Circle) - Small Italian eatery below street level offers homemade pastas & refined seafood and daily specials.
Filomena (Dupont Circle) - Pasta made in-house plus hearty Italian classics in an upscale restaurant with over-the-top decor.
Lupo Verde (14th Street Corridor) - Rustic backdrop for Southern Italian dishes and specialty cocktails, plus a market for meat and cheese.
Italian Dessert Sfogliatella and Zeppolle
When are your national holidays and celebrations?
The Italian National holiday is on June 2nd, but it's more of an institutional holiday; a non-working day with a military parade. The major holidays are the religious ones, Christmas above all, Easter and a very Italian holiday 'Ferragosto' which falls on August 15th and literally means in between August. Its origin is religious but it's become a symbol of the summer vacations. Families and friends get together and have lunch, typically at the sea or in the countryside.
What do you miss the most?
I don't miss Italy very much because I have the chance to go there quite often. It would probably be the nice Roman weather and some specific food, like fresh buffalo mozzarella. Nothing here can be compared.
Does your country have any special traditions or traditional clothing?
Every region has its own tradition and typical clothing. Although this is only worn during the official celebrations and religious festivities.