Restaurateur Michael Schlow Expands to the Mosaic District with Alta Strada

The rustic Italian restaurant is now open

Alta Strada opens in the Mosaic District with rustic Italian fare and a "mascarporeos" dessert (pictured). Photograph by Scott Suchman

Restaurateur Michael Schlow is on a roll in Washington, opening more DC-area eateries than in his Boston home base. Joining Tico, the Riggsby, CasolareConosci, and Alta Strada is a spinoff of the latter Italian restaurant, now open in Fairfax’s Mosaic District.

Schlow has also been growing his culinary team alongside his restaurants. Alex Levin left DC’s Osteria Morini in January to join Schlow’s restaurant group as the executive pastry chef for all operations. Chef Matt Adler, also ex-Morini, recently came on as the executive chef for all of Schlow’s Italian ventures, including the new Alta Strada.

Adler and head chef Nicole Belverd (formerly a sous chef at Zaytinya) developed the Mosaic District menu, which is similar to the Mt. Vernon Square location. The new 120-seat restaurant specializes in rustic Italian fare, including meat and cheese boards, thin-crust pizzas, pastas, and entrees such as slow-cooked salmon with pesto vinaigrette and red wine-braised short ribs. For dessert, look for fun plates like “mascaporeos,” a homemade riff on Oreo cookies with chocolate shortbreads and vanilla-mascarpone cream. Accompanying wines are sourced exclusively from Italy, while cocktails take similar inspiration—think two styles of Negroni on tap, and a Fernet Branca-spiked ginger mule.

Initially the restaurant is open for dinner only. Happy hour, lunch, and weekend brunch to launch in the coming weeks.

Alta Strada Mosaic District. 2911 District Ave. #150, Fairfax; 703-280-0000. Open for dinner Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 10; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11.

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.