Tucked away in the truck delivery streets of Union Market is an oasis unlike any other in the area. Easily one of [if not THE] elite Italian restaurant(s) in DC, Masseria is a must on your restaurant bucket list. From 3 to 6 course tastings, you can personalize your meal and hit every taste bud in your mouth. Through each bite, you will practically be transported to Puglia, the lovely seaside town that inspired Nick Stefanelli’s restaurant.
When you arrive to Masseria, you might be shocked at the contrast between surrounding buildings and this small restaurant. Once you enter the front gate, you may even forget where you are (yes, you are still in the District). You have entered an open air and open sky courtyard full of welcoming couches, fire tables, candles, and greenery that immediately bring you into a state of relaxation. The next room you traverse is the Pergola, a colorful open sky dining extension with rustic wooden tables, truly reminiscent of an outdoor Italian family dinner. Finally, you reach the host/hostess stand as you enter the main dining room, the sleek and modern indoor portion of the restaurant. Each room brings its own flair, good for a variety of dining experiences.
Once you are finally seated and have devoured the exceptional bread plate, work your way from antipasti, to fish, vegetable, meat, and of course, pasta dishes (For those gluten-intolerant, don’t worry: Chef Stefanelli has pasta dishes for you too). Then finish with luxurious Italian cheeses and carefully crafted desserts from Pastry Chef Jemil Gadea, all while sipping on one of the gorgeous wines recommended by GM/Sommelier David Kurka. It is truly an experience, and not for the faint appetite. If I have one request of you readers, make sure to order different dishes and share it all. There are too many spectacular options on this carefully crafted menu to only a few.
Opening bread plate (the gruyere doughnuts are to die for).
Animelle: Sweet breads with snails.
Trippa: Beef tripe with lobster.
Anatra: Dry aged Muscovy duck
The palette cleanser: Strawberry sorbet
One of their deconstructed desserts, rhubarb sorbet and coconut cream
Their chocolate magic even came with pop rocks, for your inner child!
No better way to end a meal than with little cannolis.
Masseria is open Tuesday-Thursday 5:30 -9:30 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 5:30-10:00 p.m. Reservations are recommended for dining inside, but seating is granted first-come, first serve in the outside garden/Pergola.
For groups of six or more, you have the option of reserving the Chef’s Table, booking a full restaurant takeover (allow months in advance), dining in the Pergola for a group of 30, or hosting a casual reception in the courtyard 3 seasons of the year. Whatever your group needs, they are sure to accommodate.
To learn more about reservations and upcoming events, visit their page.
To learn more about Masseria in general, visit their website, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram.