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all photos: Kimberly Cadena

In an ongoing effort this week to check out some date spots wherever you may end up (read: not just NW or H Street) we swung by FIORELLA in National Harbor (which, btw, is having their Restaurant Week this week) to sample their Italian specialities, pizzas and “sexy wines” (their term, not ours).

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Now, you can’t talk about a restaurant in National Harbor without talking about National Harbor itself. First of all-you are probably ending up there for a specific reason: a conference, a Cirque du Soleil show, a beer fest, a boat ride, a MUCH NEEDED trip to the Peeps store. So, while you probably have an entertainment agenda for while you’re there-you do need someplace to eat, right? And, Fiorella is a good choice (especially if, like us, you don’t want to have, say, Rosa Mexicana there since you can eat Rosa Mexicana at other places in the city too)

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Probably the best thing about Fiorella (aside from the 9ft Bacchus statue you just saw in photos above) is the Market Place in the big dining room. EVERYTHING you see is for sale- the pots, the pans, the wine, the olive oil, the dream of romantic Italian dinners recreated at home-ALL OF IT. Kimberly and I could barely contain ourselves from touching everything on display.

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But, once you DO tear yourself away from all of it, it is food time.While Neapolitan pizza seems to be ALL THE RAGE these days, Fiorella serves thin crusted Roman style pizzas (which this writer, personally, prefers) and  the pizza menu is divided into three main categories: pizza with meat, pizza with vegetables and pizza with seafood — each with up to 12 options like a bratwurst & Swiss, buffalo margherita and soft shell crab pies…you’re in pie heaven.

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The non-pie menu is kept simple and effective: all your Italian favorites are there, from anti-pasti plates and meatball appetizers to creamy desserts, though the standout is their their three-layer lasagna which is a. great for sharing, b. phenomenal to look at and c. even more phenomenal to eat since you actually do feel like you’re getting that hard-to-attain combination of gourmet and homey Italian food.

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And yes, the wines (along with the flattering lighting and that big Bacchus) will make you feel a little sexy. So, pencil it in, next time you’re in National Harbor.

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