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London, United Kingdom
April 6, 2008
We walked past the quaint window display where two elderly women lovingly prepared fresh ravioli and down the stairs into a grotto of Christmas and all things Italian. On a Tuesday evening this place was packed out and without a reservation I began to wonder if we would be able to score a table even just for two of us. We were in luck though, and within five minutes we were seated next to what has to be one of the most impressive Christmas trees I’ve seen in a long time. The tree was so large that the real top had been cut down to fit within the room and was decked from top to toe in decorations that sparkled and in some cases, moved.
Flaunted as one of the top restaurants in DC for over 20 years, Filomena also boasts an impressive list of guests ranging from past presidents to a long list of Hollywood stars that are listed out on their menu. They also mention which dishes have been ordered by the likes of Bono and Bill Clinton and who ordered seconds.
Once we’d come to terms with our surroundings, our lovely waiter took our drinks order and answered questions. The menu is extensive and we wanted to ask which of their dishes used pasta made on the premises although we then both proceeded to order dishes that sadly did not contain their homemade pasta!
We started off with their Crisp Frisee Salad Greens tossed with a Strawberry Vinaigrette, and topped with honey glazed Walnuts and Goat Cheese. This salad could have easily passed as an entrée it was that large. Knowing that the main course would also be filling both my colleague and myself tried to stop short on the salad but the fresh strawberries in the vinaigrette made it almost impossible to do so.
I ordered the Conchiglioni, which was a deep dish of pasta shells with a rich filling of eggplant and three cheeses baked in a creamy tomato sauce. The flavours and cream were so intense that I only made it through four of the six giant shells before I had to admit defeat. On a chilly December evening though this dish is definite comfort food for the tummy and soul.
To finish with up, the waiters bring two tall decanters of Sambuca and Amaretto to the table. We were instructed to drink the Sambuca with three coffee beans with which to make three toasts: to health, wealth and love.
From journal Don’t Drive in DC (& Other Tips for a Sane Business Trip)
July 1, 2005
It is a rather small restaurant done in green and white, with a liberal use of mirrors to make the dining room appear larger than it actually is. Filomena's is proud of the many celebrities who have dined there, and a card outside the door tells you just who has been to their establishment. Most recently, President Clinton and Hillary dined here Valentine's Day, 2005. Fridays, there is a reasonably priced buffet ($11). We, nevertheless, ate off the menu. My sister-in-law pronounced the eggplant parmesan the best she has ever had and devoured every morsel. My usually picky-eater niece cleaned up her lasagna. I enjoyed my ring pasta napoleano plate. We were too full to order one of their spectacular desserts.
Now, I must also add that I think we had terrible luck with the waiter. He seemed distracted throughout our meal. We had to prompt him to get us beverages and bread. Our entrées did take an inordinate amount of time, I mean, half an hour for pasta? The quality of our meal did make up for it. I guess it’s just too much to hope for a good waiter, prompt service, and a fine meal.
We wondered if Bill and Hillary had to ask for things and kinda guessed they didn't. Nevertheless, I still recommend Filomena's. Be sure to look to your right as you descend the stairs and observe the little Italian madonnas making the pasta by hand. I understand that reservations are a must for dinner.
From journal An Eight-Day Vacation in Washington, D.C.
New York, New York
June 30, 2000
From journal What to do in DC.