Judging Restaurants – Filomena

Filomena is located at 1063 Wisconsin Ave, NW. Their Web site says:

“JoAnna transported some of her mother’s furniture to the restaurant and set up a dining room (our Filomena Kitchen) that looked similar to Mother Filomena’s dining rooms over the years, dominated by the large heavy oak table, carved matching chairs and a large intricate sculpted Murano glass grape chandelier.

JoAnna also brought tons of her Mother’s antiques and knick-knacks to give the restaurant her Mother’s style. The music chosen for the restaurant was the type of Italian street songs Antimo liked to play on the Concertina in his youth or listened to because they reminded him of his boyhood home in Abruzzi, Italy.

Filomena, whose family also originated from the Abruzzi region of Italy, was a great cook. She had grown up learning very traditional Italian cooking, but found that sometimes it was very difficult to find many of the traditional ingredients. Being very creative, Filomena adapted many of her recipes to use what was available to her. Many of the original items that JoAnna chose to put on her menu were inspired by Mother Filomena’s simple, yet creative cuisine, as well as those wonderful old world traditional recipes—some that were prepared for the daily meal, for Sunday dinner, or when company called, or for specific holidays.”

You can see their menus here. For the fans – any must order items?

40 Comment

  • Amazing. I’m sure people will hate on it…. but its awesome.

  • The decor is dated but the food is great.

  • It was great 20 years ago, when it was one of Clinton’s favorite restaurants. These days, and for the last 5 years, it’s truly horrible. Even the free booze at the end of dinner can’t entice me any more.

  • Any less than stellar review of this gem is a great injustice. Filomena’s is the best restaurant in DC, hands down. Best italian food that, in my opinion, rivals what I’ve eaten in Italy. Get caprese salad and the gnocchi ( I get the bolognese sauce replaced with a pink vodka sauce, which Filomena’s is always happy to indulge me in). Filomena’s is incredible.

    • you work there, no?

    • Been twice, once as an undergrad and once about three years ago. It’s possible that Filomena was once near the top of the DC dining food chain, but the times have passed it by, not just in decor, but in quality of cuisine. For the price, there are a half-dozen Italian places that put out better fine dining, and another dozen better casual spots.

      Two things that can be said for Filomena:
      – They do have excellent fresh pasta.
      – They seems to mask subtlety by layering on extra cream, but it’s hard not to walk out of there without feeling like you’ve eaten two or three dinners.

  • Always have good memories of this place. My grandmother, also from Abruzzi, used to chat in Italian with a woman who used to stand in the front window making pasta. Since I don’t have a North End to bring my family to when the visit, I make reservations here.

  • This place is excellent. I will really question the taste of anyone that disagrees. You will have to show me some impressive food credentials to take you seriously if you don’t like it.

    • wow, it really sounds like filomena got their employees on the blogosphere today. even if I love a restaurant I’m not typically this effusive and dismissive of those who don’t like it. sounds fishy…

  • I dined here on a recommendation once; and now I go back whenever I get a chance. It’s my go-to place for delish Italian food when I have friends in town or when I am just craving the best effin’ gnocchi around. I also adore the hazlenut dacqouise for dessert. As a third-generation Italian American, this is authentic, down-home Eye-talian eating. =)

  • I ate at the one on F street a few times and didn’t find the food to be worth the price.

  • Love the all-you-can-eat buffet lunch they have on Fridays. Affordable at $11 and usually the food’s really good.

  • It has gotten really bad. However, i will remember it fondly. On my 21st birthday I was taken to dinner there. It was right after Clinton entered the White House. Bill, Hillary and Chelsea came in for dinner and I shook his hand as he passed my table. I had just moved here and it felt like such a DC moment.

  • I love this place! It is probably my favorite restaurant in DC. It can be a bit on the pricey side, but it is well worth it. The portions are huge, so you can easily get two meals out of it if you take the leftovers home. I do also agree that the Friday/Saturday lunch buffet is very affordable and just as delicious. Definitely go here in you are looking for amazing food.

  • Decent Italian – not the best but a fun place. Whenver I run the Marine Corps Marathon – its my go to pre-race carbo load.

  • Is there really any good Italian restaurant in DC?

  • Ugh, who is writing these reviews?

    The food at Filomena is about-average or below, the decor is kitchy and over-done, the dining room is dark (it’s underground). Honestly, I don’t find much to recommend it.

    If you want a truly superlative Italian meal, go to Bibiana, Tosca or Potenza. Filomena is more on par with Buca di Beppo or Maggiano’s.

    • I for one am really enjoying them. Funniest thing I’ve read all day. Since Filomena employees are so bad at writing real reviews, maybe we can try our hands at writing fake ones. I’ll start.

      This is the best restaurant in the US, hands down. Whether my significant other and I are enjoying their famous cannelloni di vitello (a deal at $24) or maybe their linguini cardinale, we always like to pair it with a selection from their extensive wine list. They are always happy to suggest a great choice. And we never forget to save room for dessert!

      The service is so good we always add a few extra bucks for our server – it’s worth it.

      I can’t wait to go back, and Restaurant Week sounds like a great time to sample some of their other dishes.

  • I tried Filomena for the first time last winter for Restaurant Week after my boyfriend raved about it. I really wished it had lived up to the hype, I understand a lot of restaurants run out of menu items during restaurant week, but it is also (or should) be their oppurtunity to demonstrate what they are really about.

    For the appetizer I ordered the mussles, which were not washed properly and had a sizable amount of sand and grit in them.

    My entree was what I had read on the menu to be a filet wrapped in prosiutto and pastry dough with creamy potatoes and italian greens. What I received was what I believe to be a rump roast (which has neither the taste or texture of a filet) and very little prosciutto. The potatoes were decent and the greens similar to the mussles were not washed properly and had plenty of sand in them.

    While I understand chocolate is very popular for desert, I do wish some restaurants would take into account that not everyone loves chocolate (myself included) and so i initially opted out of a desert. However the ONLY saving grace to this meal was our wonderful server, I believe his name was Nico, who brought me a cheesecake because I do not eat chocolate.

    I had high hopes of this place but unfortunetly was disappointed in the quality of the meal. I would have preferred at least for my entree if they had just indicated they were out of the item rather than try to replace it with something that was not the same.

  • Sorry, one of the worst brunches I’ve ever had in DC.

  • oh we had high hopes
    that were dashed

  • Sorry y’all – food here is way below par for the price. We went for restaurant week and were totally underwhelmed. I don’t understand the reputation on this place. Food was extremely creamy and not in a good way. There was no subtlety to the flavor – rather it seemed there was a heavy dose of cream (or other overpowering flavors) on every dish that completely overwhelmed the taste of the food. I would not go back and I would not recommend it to anyone. There are plenty of restaurants at a better price with fantastic food that makes going here a poor life decision. Just my two cents, for what it is worth.

  • Filomena is kitschy and seems touristy. I went a year ago and was really surprised by the “factory” nature of the places. The waiters seem over-worked, exasperated, and more interested in selling you lots of food then making sure you have a good dining experience. The food comes in massive portions and if you try to order anything other than one entree and appetizer per person they look at you funny. Reminds me of Carmines or Buca di Beppo but more old school.

    If I want to drop a pasta bomb into my gut there are better and cheaper places to go like Pasta Mia.

  • I took the Georgetown Seniors to Filomena’s two Halloween’s ago and they had a marvelous time. The decorations were clever and the food and service was excellent. Anyone who doesn’t like Filomena’s should have their soul re-examined immediately. This is one of Georgetown’s treasures.

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