Claudio’s Table. 5441 MacArthur Blvd., NW.
When chef Claudio Pirollo was first looking to open a restaurant in the Palisades 15 years ago, his initial instinct was to do Italian. After all, he’d grown up in his Italian parents’ trattoria and market in Belgium. But at the time, the Italian restaurant scene in DC seemed saturated. Instead, the former personal chef to the Irish ambassador ended up opening Et Voila!, a French-Belgian bistro that’s become a neighborhood staple. Now, a decade and a half later, the time is right. Pirollo has opened an Italian trattoria of his own in the Palisades: Claudio’s Table.
Pirollo says he’s long been interested in opening another restaurant, but high rents and uncertain conditions had deterred him. But then the owner of casual American restaurant DC Boathouse approached him about buying his Palisades building. Bonus: Pirollo only has to commute a block away from Et Voila!.
Pirollo had already been playing with Italian-accented dishes at Et Voila!—in the early days of the pandemic, he thought that they would travel better for takeout. He added vegetable lasagna and rigatoni bolognese and was surprised to see them often sell out.
Claudio’s Table is overseen day-to-day by chef Alessandro Pirovano, a former executive sous chef at fine-dining Italian restaurant Fiola in Penn Quarter. The menu is fairly straightforward with pastas like spaghetti with clams and fusilli cacio e pepe, plus pizzas with toppings such as prosciutto and parmesan or broccoli rabe and sweet sausage. You’ll also find a handful of mains—from eggplant parm to branzino with Swiss chard. For dessert, Pirollo serves his mom’s tiramisu recipe alongside classics like olive oil cake and cannoli. The restaurant starts takeout this week. Lunch will arrive with a similar menu that also includes pizza-dough sandwiches.
The 75-seat space has a modern look with lime-green banquettes, terrazzo floors, and wood accents. A long bar faces an open kitchen, where you can watch pies coming out of the pizza oven with a glass of Italian wine.