“So, what do you say when people mention the curse on this building?” I asked the general manager as I enjoyed five fabulous courses at Mia’s Italian Kitchen during a practice lunch earlier this week. Luke Scavotto had heard that one before and had a confidence-inspiring response at the ready: “If anyone can handle the curse, it’s Alexandria Restaurant Partners.”
Mia’s Italian Kitchen, brought to you by the company behind Old Town favorites Virtue, The Majestic, and Vola’s, as well as several other restaurants in the area, is bringing rustic Italian fare to the waterfront starting today. GM Scavotto went on to describe why he thinks Mia’s will be successful where so many other restaurants have lacked longevity (most recently, Carluccio’s), saying that ARP’s laser-focused attention to detail and emphasis on quality over quantity will be the difference-makers. A poignant example is that despite the restaurant’s two levels, two kitchens, and one of the largest seating capacities in Old Town, each server will attend to a three-table section only so the focus can stay on their guests.
I tried the brunch menu, offered at $24 and served family-style with a medley of courses and small plates, and was swept away by the Eggplant and Porcini “Polpetta” (meatball), the Chicken Cacciatore, and the creamy Bucatini Cacio e Pepe. The Spinach Salad was fairly standard but a good balance to all the carbs. It was so much food that I saved the Miele Piccante brick oven pizza, with spicy salami, hand-crushed San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, and hot honey, for later and enjoyed it at two subsequent meals. It was still just as good as the first magical bite I managed when it was first put in front of me (I was full but couldn’t resist).
I’m eager to go back and sit upstairs on the plush sofas and armchairs. When I return, I’ll try (maybe not all at once) the Meatball Benedict, calamari, Mia’s Minestrone, Muffaletta, chef-selected Salumi and Cheese Board, zucchini fries with charred lemon aioli, Bloody Mary with Tito’s, sparklers — $8 for the first and then $4 for each thereafter — and the True Dill-ight, with dill-infused gin and I don’t know what else, because I got hung up on the dill-infused gin and forgot to see what else was in it.
My verdict: this is the place to go for brunch — and dinner — and happy hour at the bar from 4-7pm Monday through Friday. I’ll probably be back this weekend if it’s not fully booked!
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Alexandria, VA 22314