Via Sophia – A New Gem in D.C.’s Hamilton Hotel

Restaurants in hotels are often little more than a convenient place for guests to grab a quick meal. The Hamilton Hotel, at 14th and K Streets, NW, aimed higher during its multi-million dollar renovation. Besides a sleek, modern lobby and refurbished guest rooms, the hotel now boasts Via Sophia, an all-day Italian Osteria that opened in June and is already a sought after reservation. 

Bellavista Alma

Executive Chef Colin Clark trained under several James Beard Award winners, including most recently at Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola Mare in Georgetown. While fish lovers will be pleased with those offerings, there’s something for everyone on Clark’s innovative menu. 

Caponata

We began our meal with caponata, roasted eggplant, San Marzano tomatoes, golden raisins and pinenuts, served with the restaurant’s crusty country bread. We enjoyed this appetizer while finishing our drinks, a martini and a sparkling and refreshing Bellavista Alma.

The toughest choice of the evening came when we next had to decide between pasta and pizza. Via Sophia has a wood burning oven, and early reviews raved about the crusty pizzas with a variety of toppings, a favorite for lunch and dinner. However, the pasta dishes were too tempting, so we decided that pizzas would have to wait for our next visit.

Ravioli

The pasta we chose – ravioli finochietta with asparagus tips, fava beans, morels and pamigiano – assured us that we had made the right choice. The flavors blended together, yet remained distinct. The ravioli were light, literally melting in the mouth, while the asparagus tips added crunch, the fava beans, texture, and the morels a smokiness that didn’t overwhelm the dish. Heaven.

Via Sophia has two entrees that can be shared – a whole branzino en cartocchio, with fennel, potatoes, asparagus, white wine and butter, and bistec Fiorentina, with roasted vegetables, garlic crème, crushed olive oil potatoes, and Barolo jus. We were in the mood for meat. Also, the fish dish repeated some of the flavors from our pasta. The steak was cooked accurately and a size that was perfect for two. The vegetables were a colorful and tasty accompaniment.

Roasted Vegetables

Via Sophia’s wine list is extensive with excellent choices. The Terre del Barolo, at $75, was reasonably priced and paired well with our entree. 

We opted for something cool, light, and tangy for dessert – a mango sorbet. 

While Via Sophia has only been open since the middle of June, the restaurant already is running like a well-oiled machine. The wait staff is impressive. Service throughout our evening was friendly and professional. Our server was well versed on every aspect of the menu, and also was able to navigate the wine list. In early days, feedback from customers is important to new restaurants. This lesson is not lost on Ahmed Mohamed, Via Sophia’s general manager, who stopped at our table and many others to ask how his guests were enjoying their meals. 

By the time we left close to 9 p.m., the restaurant was full and buzzing, with many settled in at the restaurant’s attractive bar, nestled into seats along a banquette in the main dining room, or taking a front row seat at the counter fronting the pizza oven. We expect those crowds will continue to grow in the coming months.

Via Sophia
Hamilton Hotel 
1001 14th Street
202-361-6666

About Charlene Giannetti (328 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines including the New York Times. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her new book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "1Life After You," focusing on the opioid crisis that will be filmed in 2019. Charlene divides her time between homes in Manhattan and Alexandria, Virginia.