Picking Papa*Razzi

For great Italian fare, head to Georgetown

When my friend suggested we go out to eat, I thought it would be fun. Then, when my friend suggested we eat Italian food, I thought “my favorite!” But when I heard we were eating Italian food in Georgetown, I nearly backed out.

Despite the doubly delicious combination of one of my favorite parts of the city (Georgetown) and my hands-down favorite type of food (Italian), I swore to myself I would never EVER let myself be taken out to eat Italian food in Georgetown again. Never. Ever. Too many um…how shall I say this…”interesting” dating experiences there to count. But I was hungry for food and so off I went to Georgetown. Again.

Venturing first through the doors of Filomena – great food, bad memories – the maitre d’ politely informed us the wait was over an hour. Thinking I had ducked another bad Georgetown Italian food eating experience, I giddly accepted the verdict and off we went to find a new dining establishment.

Crossing Wisconsin Avenue, tucked behind a beautiful, red-brick-wall façade with bright, navy-blue awning Ralph Lauren would be proud of, Papa*Razzi has the exterior look of a pricey PRICEY restaurant, i.e. the kind where you expect to be taken on a date. Fortunately, a quick skim of the menu posted next to the foyer doors, shows reasonable prices ranging from an entrée low of $9.99 (for one of their wood-fired, thin crust pizzas) to highs around $25.99 (for their “Lombatina di Vitello” – a veal chop grilled with wild mushrooms, marsala and fresh vegetables).

Since this was a double-dutch experience with a friendly NON-date, I was more than swayed by the pretty exterior and tantalizing menu options. We agreed to venture in, with me hoping my infamously silly streak would end.

Walking through the double-French doors, one’s eyes quickly takes in the darkly stained furniture, airy open space and major mood lighting. Lined on the right side is the bar; on the left are neatly placed large booths, with more than enough seating space to accommodate the most ample of girths.

My friend and I were quickly seated by the hostess. Unfortunately, our waitress took a bit too much time in greeting us and asking for our drink order. Thankfully for Papa*Razzi, the restaurant serves the most magical free “bread,” in the form of long sticks with a fun, creamy tomato basil dip. The bread literally looked like over-stretched, anorexic pencils. Delicious!

I ordered the “Penne Con Pollo” – sautéed chicken, fresh asparagus and roma tomatoes in a white wine butter sauce ($14.99). My friend ordered the “Agnolotti Al’Aragosta” – lobster and ricotta filled pasta in lobster sauce with cream and fresh basil ($16.99). Within minutes – and I do mean minutes – of our order, the food was out. AMAZING. Too bad, the cook didn’t take more time in heating up the dishes. The food’s temperature could only be described as lukewarm at best, cold if one had a judgmentally hard-heart.

I took a forkful of my Penne Con Pollo and thought it not very interesting. It was definitely something I could make at home. Just basic. Regular. Then my friend, perhaps sensing my disappointment with my food selection, offered me a bit of the Agnolotti Al’Aragosta.

I nearly swooned with pleasure.

Placed inside square cubes of pasta was a tantalizing mix of nearly pureed, tiny slivers of lobster intermingled with a light ricotta. I had a hard time just eating one piece and was filled with jealousy that I had not ordered it for myself. (Of course I will be returning to Papa*Razzi just to have my own plate of this lovely dish.)

Despite being entirely full, I went ahead and got coffee and my favorite Italian dessert of tiramisu. Their tiramisu is OK. Not too soft and mushy although, perhaps, not the best I’ve ever tasted in my life. The temperature on it was too warm – which is odd considering the temperature on the meal was too cold.

Overall, I wouldn’t say my streak of bad Italian restaurant experiences in Georgetown has come to an end, but Papa*Razzi has certainly pulled my record into a better direction.

1064 Wisconsin Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007

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