Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chef Trabocchi's Culinary Adventures

This past Wednesday, chatted with renowned Chef Fabio Trabocchi who has recently moved back to the DC region to begin two new exciting food ventures, a restaurant affectionately named Fiola (sweetheart), and Garden Cafe Italia at the National Gallery of Art.

He and his wife Maria are back in DC after spending 7 years in New York. They moved back to DC, a town that they love, and one that loves them back. In fact, Fiola, located at 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, is the exact place where the couple met! Formerly, it was the restaurant Brice, where Trabocchi was a chef and his wife worked in the office. Fiola seems to be the perfect name for the new restaurant!

Chef Trabocchi described Fiola as an upscale Trattoria where he will return to some of the classic dishes from Maestro, but he will also include some dishes from his region that have been featured in his cookbook Cucina of Le Marche. Expect to visit often for Fiola will have a new menu every day that is based on the freshest ingredients available.

Any avid diner knows that ambiance is a vital part of the dining experience. At Fiola, you will be able to relax in its casual, comfortable interior, and in the warmer weather, enjoy a drink or even some homemade gelato outside. Expect to find a lighter menu at the bar, where you visit before and after dinner.

Chef Trabocchi reflected on his native home in Le Marche, a less famous, but very beautiful region in the northern part of Italy, along the Adriatic coast. In regards to their cuisine, he observed, "We have, of course, lots of fresh pastas with sauces, we are big on vegetables and anything organic, good wines, cheese. . . Being by the Adriatic we do offer a great variety of fresh fish as well."

One piatti tipici that you may find at Fiola is one of Chef Trabocchi's own favorites, Vincisgrassi, or the Le Marche version of lasagna. It consists of 13 layers of very thin pasta, meat and tomatoes, "It is a recipe from the 18th century still alive and very present in our homes."

While plans for Fiola's grand opening are tentatively slated for sometime in mid- April, they are currently taking reservations. Visit or the chef's blog at In the meantime, Cafe Garden Italia is also keeping Trabocchi busy.

Earlier this month, the Washington Examiner remarked that Chef Trabocchi is conquering both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue. That is because you can find his other culinary quest not far away at the National Gallery of Art at the Garden Cafe Italia. The Cafe's opening coincided with the opening of the exhibition Canaletto and his Rivals.

In the spirit of the exhibit, you can expect to find food at Garden Cafe Italia that the Venetians might have had during the time of Canaletto, for example: Venetian style seafood and fish soup, prosciutto, olives, bread, gelato, tiramisu, eggplant, Parmesano Reggiano (the entire wheel!), etc. Italian beverages prosecco, beer, and Illy Cafe will compliment the dishes. The menu will change seasonally, and is available through March 2012. While Trabocchi plays a big role in the Cafe, he also gives a lot of credit to Chef David Rogers and Carlos Souza, Director of Food and Beverage, for their daily contributions to cafe. For more information, visit

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