There are some restaurants where, walking in, you just know you are about to enjoy a wonderful dining experience. Tosca is one of those restaurants. And, surprise! An evening out at Ristorante Tosca does not have to cost a fortune. Nightly, from 5:30 p.m. To 7 p.m., Tosca offers a “Dine at Dusk” three-course meal for $38. And to make you feel even better, Tosca donates 10 percent of your “Dine at Dusk” meal to Food & Friends, a non-profit that delivers meals to the needy.
Tosca is a favorite for large groups and D.C.’s movers and shakers. There are semi-private rooms off to one side that nicely accommodate these gatherings. If you plan a more intimate evening, don’t worry. Tables towards the rear of the restaurant offer more privacy. There’s an old world elegance to Tosca that is missing in so many other restaurants these days. The soothing colors, the dim lighting, and comfortable seating turns the evening into something special. No wonder then that the president and the first lady enjoyed a date night at Tosca.
You may pay less for your meal if you dine early, but your service will not suffer. The wait staff at Tosca is professional—knowledgeable about the menu and wine list and helpful if you need some guidance. The pacing of our meal was perfect. We neither felt rushed nor neglected. After ordering our drinks, we were given enough time to enjoy them while looking over the pre-theater menu as well as the full dinner one.
We opted for the “Dine at Dusk” menu. The choices were just too good, not only did this pre-theater menu include several pastas, a strength of Executive Chef Massimo Fabbri, but also a grilled branzino and a pork tenderloin.
For our first course, we decided to try two of the pastas, the pasta alla chitarra with tomato sauce and cherry tomatoes. The whole wheat spaghetti had just enough bite to hold up to the robust sauce. The cherry tomatoes added texture to the dish. A generous sprinkling of freshly grated cheese was the perfect addition.
Our second pasta was the ravioli stuffed with veal, spinach, and prosciutto, served in a butter sauce with sage and mortadella added for good measure. The stuffed pasta literally melted in the mouth. A rich, savory dish that was remarkably light.
Our main courses—the branzino and the pork tenderloin—did not disappoint. The sea bass, perfectly grilled, was served with sauteed spinach, pine nuts and raisins, one of our favorite combinations. The raisins adedd sweetness, a counter point to the bitter greens, and the toasted pine nuts some crunch. The pork tenderloin, in a wild mushroom crust and a red wine sauce, came with a Tuscan style bean salad and braised escarole. The pork, cooked with just a tinge of pink, was juicy and tender.
For dessert, we opted for something cool and light, an assortment of gelati and sorbetti.
We relaxed over espresso, planning our return trip to Tosca.
1112 F Street NW