Students can get their fix of traditional Italian cuisine at recently opened Aperto in Foggy Bottom.
The restaurant, which opened last month, boasts an impressive menu of seasonal Italian dishes all crafted by chef Luigi Diotaiuti. Located at 2013 I St., Aperto is about a five-minute walk from campus and is the perfect place for a fancy date night or a dinner with family who come to town.
The outdoor patio was packed with people when I arrived with my friend for dinner on a Tuesday night. Inside, we relaxed in the expansive elegant main dining room, complete with white table cloths and mirrors reflecting the softly lit room and soothing Italian music. Aperto, which means “open” in Italian, has indoor and outdoor seating for about 100 people with a relaxed ambiance and refined decor. The emphasis, though, is clearly on the food, with gorgeously displayed dishes that are often colorful and richly textured.
For dinner, I ordered the potato gnocchi ($25) — tasty dumplings smothered in a pesto sauce — and that night’s special, calamari ($18). I was surprised to find that the chewy calamari was not fried, but instead ground up with carrots, celery and ricotta.
My friend ordered the mesclun salad ($10) — arugula and small juicy heirloom tomatoes covered in a dressing of lemon juice and balsamic olive oil. For dessert, we split the torta caprese bianco ($12), a gluten-free spongy almond cake infused with sweet, tangy orange liqueur. The two bottles of sparkling water we drank cost $7 each.
Our meals were as satisfying as they were artistically arranged. The portions were the perfect amount of food to fill us up.
The restaurant’s servers were friendly and accommodating to my friend’s questions about whether certain items on the menu were vegetarian and dairy-free.
General manager Souheil Moussadik said that he hopes GW students choose to dine at the restaurant, but he does not plan on targeting students as the clientele.
“[We’re] not asking young students who can’t afford it,” Moussadik said. “They can come in on celebration days.”
Moussadik said the meals come with higher price tags because of the food is high quality. The sustainable restaurant relies on small companies to source ingredients, and it is dedicated to making healthy meals with no additives. All of the meats are cured in-house, along with the homemade pastas, he said.
Aperto offers a $25 take-out lunch for busy professionals who need their food on the go, Moussadik added. The lunch includes a soup or salad of choice, either a sandwich or pollo milanese as the entree and tiramisu for dessert.
In the future, Aperto will offer an Italian brunch, but the restaurant’s managers haven’t solidified those plans, Moussadik said.