Italian Al Fresco

Outdoor Dining at Fiola is Both Safe and Indulgent

After so many months of doing takeout, it feels almost unnatural to eat at a restaurant and be waited on. And with the new safety protocols, the dining experience definitely isn’t the same. But without a doubt it’s better than eating another meal in sweatpants on the couch. One of the ways that we feel safest dining out is by sitting outside in the fresh air. Plus, it’s nice to be outdoors after being cooped up at home for weeks on end. 

Craving a night out on the town – and some incredible Italian cuisine – Fiola was one of the first places we ventured. It was also our first time eating on their outdoor patio, which is on the side of the restaurant facing San Ignacio Avenue. Due to spacing regulations, there were only a few tables outside, creating a much more quiet and intimate setting than inside. 

The entire staff is monitored by the Imhealthytoday program by EliteHealth, which includes testing and monitoring staff wellness as well as contact tracing. Their menus are now paper and discarded after each use. These measures, coupled with the pre-meal sparkling rosé and the wine pairing, helped us forget our coronavirus fears. 

Italian Al Fresco
Fiola’s outdoor patio

From the food to the service to the atmosphere, the entire experience was exceptional. We began the night with three appetizers from the sea: Oysters, wild Hamachi and yellowfin tuna. Each cost $22, but if you order three appetizers, they’re $58 total. The six oysters – three from the east coast and three from the west – come with two sauces: A Spanish escabeche and a shallot mignonette. The former has a spicy, smoky flavor while the latter is more bitter and like a vinaigrette. We normally favor anything tuna-related, but the wild Hamachi won us over with its peach essence, crispy amaranth and ginger oil. 

For the second course we were served one of our favorite things in the world: Pasta. Two kinds, to be exact: The lobster ravioli and the beef short rib agnolotti. The lobster ravioli was our preference – a lobster-filled ravioli accompanied by another lobster tail sitting in a bath of ginger and chives. A little pricey at $54, but this is one of Chef Fabio Trabocchi’s true signature dishes. 

To round out the meal, we returned to the sea with the Ora King Salmon and Red Snapper. The salmon is from New Zealand and covered with a salsa verde, giving it a zesty kick. The snapper dish is bursting with flavors from the roasted fennel, piquillo peppers, saffron and artichokes. The juice from the mussels gives it a semi-sweet touch. For you land lovers, they also have entrees like filet mignon, rack of lamb and a pork chop. 

For dessert, we had something old and something new. The tiramisu is a must every time we dine at Fiola, but this time we also tried the white chocolate cheesecake, made with a graham cracker crust, vanilla Chantilly on top and a mixed berry coulis on the side. We were not disappointed, to say the least. Then we finished our cappuccinos, settled the bill and put on our face masks.

Italian Al fresco
Lobster Ravioli


1500 San Ignacio Ave.