The best ravioli, like fine felt hats, are traditionally handmade from only the best materials, and never stuffed into a can. Let your pasta breathe with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Italian cuisine at Ristorante Piccolo.
Ristorante Piccolo's chef Arnaldo Rubio calls on his 25 years of experience when whipping up daily batches of fresh ravioli and gnocchi to please diners ensconced in the lovingly restored 250-year-old building's candlelit dining room. The dinner menu highlights seared steaks, chicken, and seafood fare such as the cioppino, a traditional sicilian stew of bay scallops, calamari, and clams seasoned with precious golden saffron ($22). A hit on the Taste of Georgetown tour, agnolotti ai porcini ($19) showcases handmade ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms sautéed in sage and butter and drizzled with black-truffle oil. The chef takes his time with the nodino di vitello alla Piccolo, a classic italian dish consisting of a tender veal chop ($29) allowed to marinate for 48 hours to absorb flavors while viewing the extended cut of Lord of the Rings to add a depth of flavor more layered than Tolkien's storied appendices. Diners can cap meals with dashes of house-made flavored grappa or slices of tiramisu ($7).
The restaurant's dining room welcomes diners with intricate ironwork, three fireplaces, and lush textile panels, capturing the romance of centuries past. On weekends, a strolling violinist teases poignant melodies from his strings while a rollerblading cellist concentrates on protecting his instrument. Those hoping to dine early can peruse a lunch menu of smaller-portioned pastas while enjoying views of the historic C&O Canal from the balcony.
Under the watchful eye of Chef Arnaldo Rubio, who has been a part of Piccolo's family since its inception in 1986, Piccolo offers seasonal rustic Italian fare, with hand-rolled pastas, meats, fish and seafood dishes, along with daily specials and desserts. Menu highlights "Taste of Georgetown"-winning dishes like the hand-rolled porcini-stuffed agnolotti in a sage and butter sauce and the nodino di vitello all' piccolo, a 14oz. veal chop marinated for 48 hours and pan-seared to order, served on a bed of saffron risotto with seasonal vegetables.