I think we can all agree that D.C. has a lot of Italian restaurants. Which is great, because Italian food is awesome, and so the more Italian the better. I mean, it’s largely carbs on carbs, what’s not to love? This week, our city got yet another addition: Officina, from Chef Nicholas Steffanelli, formerly of Bibiana and current owner of Masseria. But calling Officina just a restaurant is not exactly accurate. The venue, which is located at the Wharf, is home to a café and market, a trattoria with an adjacent terrace, a rooftop bar and even an Amaro library where you can sample all of the Amaro your heart desires. It’s an Italian restaurant/marketplace/rooftop bar, 2.0.
With all that it houses, it should not surprise you that Officinia is huge. You can and should spend a whole day there. Start off on the ground level where you can get coffee or fresh squeezed juice and peruse the market which is brimming with fresh pasta for purchase, dozens of different kinds of cheeses, wine, olive oils and sauces and dressings and more. If you don’t have all day, or you are en route to see a show at The Anthem, the first floor also has a bar/cafe and a display case with quick bites like pizza, so you can be in and out. Try the arancini, which are fried balls of cheese and rice. They are as amazing as they sound. And look.
For sit down dining, the second level is where you can get a table and stuff your face with all the Italian food. Burrata and freshly grilled bread, pasta, gnocchi, salads, and some of the best cannoli I have ever had. The dining room has a terrace that overlooks all of the glory of the Wharf. The area at large is spacious and relaxed and appropriate for family dining or dining with big groups of loud friends. All my friends are loud. I should take them to Officina.
The second floor is also home to the amaro bar, where you can drink your troubles away.
After visiting the first two floors, you should go to the rooftop. This is my favorite part of Officina. The market is interesting, the cafe is casual, the dining room offers a view and tasty Italian bites, but the rooftop is what will take your breath away. It has loads of comfy couches for seating, gorgeous fire pits, music, and views of the city. You could literally spend all weekend here day drinking and subsequently, night drinking.
Officinia is now open, so if you have plans to visit the Wharf next Saturday (and if you don’t have plans to do so, make them) get a bowl of pasta and then head to the rooftop glass of champagne. I’ll be drinking by one of the fire pits.