Il Pizzico – Ristorante Italiano

For years a friend has been raving about an Italian restaurant in Rockville Mayrland, saying it has become his go to place for date nights with his wife. Recently, I was at a nearby Marriott attending a comic book convention. Being just a few miles away gave me the opportunity to dine at Il Pizzico. It is every bit as good as my friend said.

Il Pizzico (an Italian friend says the name translates to “a pinch”, as in “a pinch of salt”) is located in a strip mall on Frederick Rd in Rockville. My friend said that despite its unassuming appearance it is a first class restaurant. From his description, I was under the impression that is was a casual place. That is not the case and I felt severely under-dressed. It was also packed but fortunately there was space at the bar. So that was where I had my meal.

Bread basket

Before my meal, I was given a basket of bread. The bread appears to be house made. It contained a mix, including Italian bread and a rosemary bread. The spreading it was served with was an olive tapenade. Altogether tasty and filling, the bread and spread satiated my hunger before my meal arrived.

Arugula salad

It began with Insalate Rughetta, an arugula salad with big chunks of shaved parmigiana cheese on top. I loved the fresh arugula and the cheese, although I think a sharper cheese might have been a better pairing. The vinaigrette was a little too salty for my taste. Despite that, it went well with the arugula and cheese.

Involtino Melanzane

Next up was my antipasti (appetizer), Involtino Melanzane, layers of grilled eggplant stuffed with mozzarella and ricotta cheese and topped with a tomato sauce and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar. The eggplant was warm and tender and the cheese was nice and gooey. I really liked the sauce. It has a distinctive taste, mild but flavorful, and was a perfect addition to the dish. All in all, it was phenomenal. There are about a half dozen appetizers available. They include calamari, crostini, or prosciutto with buffalo mozzarella.

Next up was the main course. With almost a dozen pasta dishes and eight fish or meat entrees, there are a lot of options. Il Pizzico is known for their home made pasta, so I decided to go with one. I chose their signature dish: Ravioli Di Funghi al Pistacchio (ravioli stuffed with mushrooms in a pistachio cream sauce). This dish is absolutely divine. Both the pasta and filling are fresh and tender, with the mushrooms providing a sharp, distinct taste without being too strong or overbearing. And the sauce adds a rich, creamy flavor. Ravioli Di Funghi‘s reputation is well earned.

Ravioli Di Funghi

Il Pizzico has several choices for dessert, such as gelato or tiramisu . I opted for the daily special.

Apple tart

The special was an apple tart topped with house made gelato. The waiter warned me that the tart was served room temperature, and I was fine with that. The tart was superbly made, with a light crisp pastry and the apples that were lightly sauteed and mildly spicedr. And the gelato, rich and creamy, was fantastic. My one complaint is that I did not care for the particular type of apple used. That is a personal preference, and your taste may vary.

Since I was sitting at the bar, I had lots of time to interact with the bartender. He was very helpful in describing the menu and making recommendations. When someone near me asked about the wine selection, he got a wine steward to make a recommendation. Il Pizzico has over 80 bottles of wine, so there is a lot to choose from. I had a glass of San Giovese, a medium body wine. My food came out very quickly, with little to no waiting. All-in-all, I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience at Il Pizzico.

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