Casual Italian restaurant Il Piatto opens in downtown DC

Il Piatto opens in downtown DC with a Neapolitan chef at the helm. Photograph courtesy of Il Piatto.

When restaurateur Hakan Ilhan opened Mirabelle in 2017, the French restaurant epitomized downtown fine dining, with a former White House chef (Frank Ruta), plush decor and touches like a traveling cheese cart. Fast-forward five years — which have included dramatic kitchen redesigns, a reboot, and more than two years of pandemic shutdown — and the 100-seat dining hall is ready for its next disguise act. Il Piatto, an airy Italian restaurant, will open Thursday, June 23 in the former Espace Mirabelle, which is a block from the White House

“When we thought of Il Piatto, we thought of our location next to Black Lives Matter Plaza and lots of tourist activities – a more accessible concept would be great,” says Ilhan, who also operates elevated laid-back venues like Al Dente near the American university. , Ottoman Taverna in Mount Vernon Triangle and Brasserie Liberté in Georgetown. “There is always a place for gastronomy, but I think it’s overdone. There are only so many places that can survive at this level in the pandemic. »

Restaurateur Hakan Ilhan.

Just because the concept is more laid-back doesn’t mean Hakan didn’t bring in some serious talent. Chef Lina Nicolai, a Naples native who ran Al Crostino at Shaw for more than a decade before it closed during the pandemic, will lead the kitchen. Its classic Italian menus, offered for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, are designed to be familiar. Dishes will include Fettuccine Bolognese, Pasta with Wild Mushrooms, Eggplant Parmigiana, Chicken Milanese and Coastal Style Fish cooked with wine and summer vegetables. Prices will range from $10 to $15 for starters and $19 to $35 for starters.

Ilhan didn’t change the elegant dining room for the new concept, except to remove the white tablecloths. Guests can still slip into a deep leather cabin or perch at the 22-seat marble bar, now with a Negroni or “Italian margarita.” A seasonal outdoor patio will seat another 60 guests for spritzes in the sun.

The Piatto. 900 Black Lives Matter Plaza, Northwest.

food editor

Anna Spiegel covers the restaurant and bar scene in her native DC. Before joining Washingtonian in 2010, she completed the MFA program at the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in New York and St. John, in the US Virgin Islands.

Comments are closed.