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Walking into Nick Stefanelli’s Masseria, tucked away in Union Market’s warehouse district, feels like you’ve stumbled on a secret paradise. With a Spanish-tiled courtyard and patio straight out of a California dream, the romantic setting at Masseria will take your breath away. It’s the Puglian-inspired tasting menu, however, available in both three- and five-course formats, and the ambitious cocktail list that will keep you coming back for more.

Read on for our top picks at this intimate local stunner:

The Hennessey Jed

Served with panache in a brandy glass, this Hennessy VS cognac, black walnut, and Angostura bitters-based cocktail is a fruity delight. Bringing it all together, a local favorite, walnut-flavored glycerin-smoke pours out of the glass for effect.

Trippa

If you’ve been planning to try tripe but haven’t been able to muster up the courage, we’ve got the perfect dish for you. The braised beef tripe in sweet lobster broth is a decadent concoction that you can get lost in, and one that Stefanelli thinks is the perfect introduction to the delicacy for hesitant foodies. Try to fight off your fellow diners as you devour this luxurious, chili-inflected dish.

Linguine with Spicy XO Sauce

You can’t visit an Italian joint without ordering at least one pasta dish, and Masseria offers several options that’ll keep your tastebuds tingling. This hearty, Chinese-influenced creation, mixes shrimp, pepperoni, and chillies into a seafood sauce with a kick for an inventive take on Italian homemade staples. Make sure you have your phone at the ready to Instagram this star, which comes served in a bed of the signature spicy sauce with flakes of parmesan sprinkled on top.

Piccione

Named one of the 20 Dishes In DC You Need To Eat Right Now by the Washingtonian, the perfectly tender squab, served with plump Italian plums and zesty garden vegetables, is a definitive must-have that’ll remind you of the Italian grandmother you’ve always wanted. The dish comes au jus, meaning there’ll be plenty of delicious sauce for soaking on your plate.

Formaggio

You definitely can’t forgo the cheese plate at Masseria, where diners can personally select from a variety of Italian options to assemble the flavors and textures you love. End your meal with a glass of wine and toast to one of DC’s best meals and dining experiences.

image @masseriadc