I hope you all stuffed yourselves on lobster bisque, foie gras, and indulged in a martini or two. If you’re up for another destination of culinary awesomeness, get ready to buy some bigger pants—because your eyes are going to be bigger than your stomach.
Toscana is the name of this jewel and it is located, conveniently, one block east of Union Station. The restaurant is quaint — a bright yellow row-house located on the corner of F Street NE and 2nd Street NE – but don’t let its humble exterior fool you. What it lacks in grandiose landscaping and property, it makes up for in hospitality, flavor, and culinary genius.
The owner is named Daniele — and it is commonplace to see him either in the kitchen, cooking away over a hot stove, or out on the patio, serving dinner to his neighbors and his own family. He likes to chat with patrons and is always interested in how the food tasted. Daniele is a master at making you feel at home — he’s a real, warm Italian. In fact, he returns to Italy each year to lead a culinary and wine tour. (You can sign up for this food and wine tour with Daniele to see Tuscany.)
But enough about the restaurant and onto the most important part: food. The dishes are the epitome of warm, homemade Italian with gourmet ingredients and creative plating. Pappardelle pasta with roasted lamb ragu, tomato, and herbs is a favorite main dish of mine. The mini pizzas are spectacular but they are especially delicious with a cold Peroni beer. The bacon-wrapped figs are also an amazing, melt-in-your-mouth treat. Again, I am making myself hungry.
Toscana is great for both lunch and dinner, but it is famous for its happy hour. Not only do they have amazing drinks (try the Sangria!) but also because they have a great patio and great happy hour deals. All antipasti are half off until 7pm (drinks are also discounted) which means you can get a great meal and enjoy a great atmosphere for under $10 — that’s hard to beat.
But, before you waddle (or stumble) off home after a delicious salad, sangria, or entrée, you need to try dessert. In addition to producing all of its own pastas and sauces, Toscana also makes its own cannolis and a variety of cakes. All of these sweet treats can be viewed in the glass cases near the kitchen.
So…what are you waiting for? I promise, the experience will be spettacolare!
Where is it?
Corner of F street NE and 2nd Street NE. It’s a yellow row-house and you can’t miss it.
Who should go?
Lovers of Italian food and culture, patios, and dishes that require take-home boxes.