100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: Fiola Mare

Photograph by Scott Suchman.

With Fabio Trabocchi’s ascent to the top spot on our list—almost a decade after he wowed us with the late Maestro—it seems an apt time to retire the standard description of Fiola Mare as Italian. It’s not. It’s Trabocchian. The chef, now in his forties, has evolved a style all his own, one informed by his food-rich upbringing in Italy’s Marche region but not beholden to it—a style that embraces influences from France, Japan, and America. No chef in our area is cooking with more subtlety or power or with more expressive range. Take his filet of poached cod, paired with puréed artichoke and chickpea crema—it’s a trio that feels both unexpected and inevitably right. Or his Japanese madai tartare, with its perfect embellishment of grapefruit and paddlefish roe. This is a luxury restaurant, and it’s extravagantly expensive. But the quality of the fish is extraordinary (on par with New York City’s Le Bernardin), and no restaurant in the area will spoil you more.

Don’t miss: oysters with caviar; hamachi sashimi; artichoke soup; fisherman’s-style dorade; spaghetti with clams; scialatielli frutti di mare; lobster ravioli; “Under the Sea,” a selection of shellfish in broth; chocolate terrine with mint; apple crostata; bomboloni.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.