PHOTOS: Fiola’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration

The staff at Chef Fabio Trabocchi's Fiola pose for a celebratory photo in advance of Saturday's 10th anniversary dinner.
Dan About Town

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Party photographer Dan Swartz’s diary of bashes, benefits, and galas.

When Chef Fabio Trabocchi‘s Fiola first opened its doors in Penn Quarter on April 8, 2011, it had humble aspirations. The James Beard Award-winning chef wanted to run a simple trattoria, with a menu featuring straightforward, regional Italian cooking.

The celebratory tenth-anniversary amuse-bouche that awaited each guest when they sat down to dinner on Saturday.
A step-and-repeat in front of the Penn Quarter restaurant was available for guests who wanted to snap photos.

From such a modest beginning, however, Fiola spurred on a culinary juggernaut as the “jewel in the crown” of Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants, which now spans more than a half dozen locations in the US and Italy. Fiola DC has become a fine dining destination for foodies around the world, and its now signature tasting menu format has earned it a variety of accolades, including a coveted Michelin star rating.

During April, all guests will be offered a complimentary cocktail called “The Best Is Yet to Come” in celebration of Fiola’s first ten years.
The first course during Saturday’s anniversary dinner featured “Taragai Clams, Peas, Uni, and Nepitella”.

Saturday served as the restaurant’s tenth birthday and, as it says, the Best Is Yet to Come. Literally: During April, all guests will be offered a complimentary cocktail of that name featuring mint-infused Belvedere vodka, Brachetto d’Acqui wine, rhubarb and Angostura bitters, and Dom Pérignon Champagne.

Each table sported its own Fiola-branded bottle of hand sanitizer.
The night’s menu was personally signed by all the team members present and given to each guest as a keepsake.

Patrons at this weekend’s anniversary dinner were further treated to a special six-course meal, with Trabocchi joining Executive Chef Josh Kaplan and Pastry Chef Claudia Barrovecchio in the kitchen for the occasion.

With over a half dozen locations under his supervision, Chef Fabio Trabocchi is always trying to clone himself! But he was squarely in command of Fiola’s kitchen on Saturday night for his first owned restaurant’s tenth birthday.
The second course of “Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Melted Sweet Vidalia Onions, Alba Hazelnut Tuile, and Honey Barbera Reduction“.

Meanwhile, newly appointed General Manager Giuseppe Formica and Corporate Wine & Spirits Director Casper Rice kept guests happy in the front of the house across two separate seatings—no small feat when each new table turn begins with a freshly ironed tablecloth and only grows in complexity from there. Rice is no stranger to going the extra mile, though, for guests and oenophiles alike. A fact that probably explains why Fiola is the only restaurant in Washington to boast a Grand Award from Wine Spectator.

Corporate Wine & Spirits Director Casper Rice decants a bottle for guests.
Risotto with “Spring Morel Mushrooms, Piemontese Castelmagno Cheese, and Rosemary”.

Over the years, a parade of VIPs and notables have passed through Fiola’s doors, including Jennifer Aniston and former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary there in 2017.

Guests could choose to dine inside Fiola’s dining room for Saturday’s dinner…
…or inside one of its famed outdoor yurts.
“Roasted Veal Ribeye with Truffle Egg Yolk Raviolo”.

But this weekend’s festivities wasn’t about the celebrities. It was about the restaurant’s regulars, who Trabocchi enthusiastically greeted between courses as he bounded between the patio, dining room, and kitchen. Trabocchi had even invited two employees who had been with the company for the entire ten years it has been in business to be his guests for dinner.

The six course anniversary menu was picture perfect!
Chef Fabio Trabocchi invited two employees who had been with the company for the full ten years to dinner as his guests.

And it’s those kind of personal touches that will ensure that Fiola will be around for at least another decade.

Pastry Chef Claudia Barrovecchio applies the final touches to one of Saturday’s dessert plates.
Fiola’s dapper beverage team.
“Robiola Foglie di Castagno. Huckleberry & Barolo Marmellata, and Steamed Brioche.”
Chef Fabio greets guests between courses.
The night’s final cherry blossom-inspired dessert course: “Love Is in the Air.”
A team that works hard also deserves to play hard!