Make Way for DC's Next Italian Hotspot
Published: Friday, October 7, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 23:05
Looking for somewhere to go when your family is in town? Want to venture outside of the Georgetown bubble? If you are exploring the monuments or Capitol Hill, Potenza is a great place to dine. Located just two blocks from the White House, on the corner of 15th and H Streets Potenza boasts a spacious dining area, a quaint bakery, a lavish bar and a wine shop.
The restaurant and bar have a modern but cozy interior. Sleek glass contrasts the dark mahogany tables and velvet seat cushions. The bar has outside seating and an elegant indoor sitting area with plush couches and tufted lounges. The restaurant itself has a sprawling open kitchen with a monstrous pizza oven. To the side, a glass wall encloses the bakery seating with views into the kitchen.
Potenza, a member of the Stir Food Group, offers a comprehensive menu filled with hearty Italian classics, while also offering innovation and daily specials. Although a bit pricey for a student budget, Potenza is definitely worth the trip for a special night downtown. The menu offers pizzas ranging from the classic Margherita, made with homemade mozzarella to the Funghi, which includes oysters, parmesan and Portobello mushrooms. Potenza perfects the art of the pizza crust: A thin crust holds the sauce and toppings but also gives way to a hearty exposed end with just the right amount of crunch. The pizza is the standout item on the menu.
A variety of traditional antipasti is also available. The arancini, consisting of fried risotto balls stuffed with wild boar sausage and provolone, is delicious. One bite gives way to a rich, cheesy flavor and a mound of delicious meat. The creamy Parmesan garnish is tasty enough to eat alone. Additionally, all of the pasta (except the orecchiette) is housemade. The spaghetti is incredibly fresh with tender meatballs and a flavorful marinara sauce. The only disappointing dish was the linguine with clams and pancetta which sounded delicious, but the excessive salt detracted from its allure.
Potenza’s dessert menu does not disappoint, either. The flourless chocolate cake contains thin layers of rich, dense chocolate cake, Nutella, airy white chocolate mousse, hazelnuts and a topping of chocolate chips and red wine syrup. The contrast of thick and creamy textures plays on your tongue. Each layer stands out but complements the others in a chocolate-lover’s nirvana. The service was fairly quick and personable; however, once the food was served, the waitress seemed to become less attentive, disappearing for a long time.
When you feel like getting out of Georgetown and are looking for a good Italian meal, look no further than Potenza. Its chic and intimate atmosphere, hearty food and proximity to downtown D.C. hotspots make this restaurant a great choice for a night on the town.