After a soft opening, this week Sfizi Café – a restaurant billing itself as a trattoria, wine shop and deli market – joined the Falls Church City roster, giving diners a new option for Italian eats situated conveniently along one of the City’s main drags.
Sfizi, which, despite its Broad Street address, has North Oak Street frontage, is a curious hybrid. Upon entering the restaurant, painted in earthy shades of orange and red, patrons are encouraged to roam. Be it the espresso bar, the deli counter, or the tall wooden shelves of bottles and bottles of wine, dining is more participatory. Customers converse with staff about wine options and the various meal components available for take-home purchase and future culinary experimentation. Well-appointed, the elegant tables and chairs, only slightly marred by Italy-themed paper placemats, fill a space ornamented by the colorful wine bottles and architectural racks.
The six-part antipasti menu features seafood options, soups, and cheese-covered Italian favorites between $6 and $8. For a bit of a splurge at $13, diners can sample the cured meats and cheese the restaurant specializes in alongside vegetables and olives. The house-named crostini platter at $6 is a more affordably priced option that gives diners an introductory idea of what the restaurant can do. In this appetizer, slices of ideal toasted bread – crusty on the outside, revealing a soft and chewy center – are topped in tangy olive, artichoke and, as the menu says, “various toppings,” and each slice is blanketed in a flavorful melted cheese.
Some menu options like salads, sides and focaccia-made pizzas can fill out the offerings for those seeking a multi-course meal, but the entrées – about two dozen in the primi piatti and secondi piatti menus between $13 and $20 – are the highlight dishes, where the restaurant takes its customers on a marvelous journey through all manners of pasta, sauce and cheese.
The stand-out primi piatti option is the spaghettini con polpette, known in nearly every kitchen across America as spaghetti and meatballs. But this dish is a culinary creation, not a tin-can last resort. Here, strands of al dente angel hair pasta wrap around a light coating of the house’s red sauce, a concoction made from the famed San Marzano plum tomatoes which balances tart and sweet flavors with a very subtle garlic and herb seasoning. Atop the heap of pasta are three delicious, savory meatballs, unwavering in form but fork tender.
While Italian cuisine is quite possibly most known for its pasta dishes, the noodle-free dishes served at this restaurant still excel. Diners looking for an entrée heavier on the proteins can check the secondi piatti menu for seafood, sausage, steak, chicken and even veal options. The scaloppine saltimbocca serves this superior beef fork-tender in thin pieces topped with prosciutto and large leaves of fresh sage, all atop a helping of spinach. The whole dish is drizzled in white wine sauce that brings a nice tanginess to an overall delicious meal.
While the house salads and bread baskets that accompany entrées might make the task challenging, diners should save ample room for the desserts available to end the meal. Biscotti, gelati, torte and, of course, tiramisu, are all available to satisfy the sweet tooth in Italian fashion. With its thin cake-and-cream layers and its cocoa dusting, the Sfizi tiramisu decadently combines coffee, chocolate and cream flavors for a spectacular treat.
Though it might defy classification as it stands between deli, coffee shop, gourmet market, wine bar and restaurant categories, Sfizi will be known by one identify for certain – A new favorite taking roots in the Flower Building.
Sfizi Cafe is located at 800 W. Broad St., Falls Church. For more information, call 703-533-1191 or visit sfizi.com. Restaurant hours are Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.