There was so much hype around Graffiato, Mike Isabella’s (Top Chef All Stars Finalist) restaurant in DC. I went to a foodie happy hour, and a ton of people were saying they were going to wait for the hype to die down to even visit, plugging their ears so they wouldn’t be tainted or swayed. I went into the restaurant, well aware of what was written, taking note of what people said was amazing and what wasn’t. I say live up to my preconcieved notions. Prove the hype right.

The place was what everyone said it was — a little strange with regards to atmosphere (Metallica and concrete floors), and kind of cafeteria style upstairs. And it was dark, hence the quality of the pictures. But as soon as we got in, we saw Mike Isabella prepping some orders by the bar. Good sign. Mike used to work at Zatinya, a Jose Andres restaurant, so he knows a thing or two about that.

We started with the roasted cauliflower with pecorino, mint and red onions. Delicious. And I mean delicious to the point that my friend Tiffani and I were fighting over the last little brown bits in the bowl.

She ordered a bacon, red potato and leek pizza. The crust was light and looked so good that I secretly scraped the bacon off and ate it anyways. And I don’t even eat bacon…

And then there was the spaghetti….Now anyone who knows me knows I am a spaghetti expert. THIS was fabulous. It was cherry tomatoes, which can typically be a bit too light/fresh for me. But this was a hearty sauce and if it couldn’t get any better, the pasta was FRESH. Made in house, and amaaaaazing.

Yes, I got two pasta dishes — I got the truffle gnocci. This gnocci was so light, I forgot it was made out of potatoes. Again, amazing. When you heard the judges on Top Chef rave, there was a reason. It was fabulous.

We ended with the zeppolis. They came with a pumpkin caramel sauce. Which was nice in theory, but was actually a little thick — kind of like a pudding. Great flavor, but I can eat my pudding at a different time than my donuts, thank you.

Overall, I had an amazing time, and will definintely be back. If you go, let me know!

~ Dana

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