I am a repeat customer at Floriana. The restaurant, which has been around since 1979 is tucked into a converted row home in Dupont. It is utterly charming. . . you almost feel like you are eating in someone's home and not just a restaurant. If DC had a Little Italy section of the city, Floriana would be the perfect cornerstone. I knew it was my type of restaurant when on an idle weeknight, the daughter of one of the owners (maybe age 2 at the time) practiced her steps, clumsily walking and waving to patrons and basking in the praise. I literally felt like I was part of the restaurant family.
The ambiance of the restaurant is quiet and tasteful. There is nothing gimmicky about this place. Think the opposite of Olive Garden. This is the place I would recommend for celebratory evening or a romantic date night. Most of the tables are literally on top of each other. So close, that when I commented the dish being served to the customer next to me looked tasty, the receiving table all nodded in unison to my verbalized thoughts. If you feel claustrophobic sitting on top of other patrons, just ask not to be seated by the window.
The other thing of note is the bar is in the basement. A bar, so tiny it accommodates maybe 10 - 15 people and that is counting those who are willing to stand. The kind of bar you find in someone's house. (Oh, and they have Firefly vodka . . . ) In the warmer weather, they have heat lamps and the patio is available. The perfect place to take someone if you actually want to have a conversation over a cocktail.
On my recent visit, I ordered the Caesar salad which was a generous portion, the Tortolloni Mignon in a tomato cream sauce, and cheesecake topped with strawberries. Our server Chris, who was prompt, professional and incredibly knowledgeable about the menu, encouraged me to choose the Tortolloni Mignon. It was excellent. I've attempted the lasagna before at Floriana and the Tortolloni was far superior. All the pasta is made fresh in house and you can absolutely tell. They also use locally source ingredients and their menu slightly changes with the seasons, so you can't always expect what you had last time.
The cheesecake was just a bit of a disappointment. I wouldn't order it again. Instead of a traditional NY style slice, it was more of a round tart like cheesecake. My suggestion is to order the tiramisu. I don't even really like tiramisu. However, I watched another couple share and I was tempted to ask for a bite. ;)
You can make reservations by calling or using Opentable. The restaurant can be on the pricier side, most entrees start around $20. On Wednesday and Sundays, they do half price bottles of wine. They also participate in restaurant week and run specials on Living Social about twice a year.
See you there. ;)
Service : 94/100
Food : 94/100
Price : 90/100
Location : 97/100
Ambiance : 98/100