City Eats Reservations


Cookbook Signing at Graffiato on September 23

September 6, 2012

Mike Isabella’s Crazy Good Italian is available nationwide September 25. The first cookbook signing takes place at Graffiato on September 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Top Chef All-Star Runner-Up Mike Isabella puts his gnocchi where his mouth is with 200 Mediterranean recipes that pack a modern punch.

Millions know Mike Isabella as a tough-talking Top Chef competitor and the celebrity chef behind hot new D.C. restaurants Graffiato and Bandolero. Now, in his first cookbook, Mike Isabella’s Crazy Good Italian, you’ll be able to taste the chef’s New Jersey childhood alongside the refined flavors that come from decades in the culinary world. Inspired by the food his Italian-American grandmother prepared, Isabella serves up 200 recipes for everyday meals that appeal to the heart and the appetite, with a modern twist. These are “small plates” versions of Mediterranean classics, made lighter and more flavorful. Isabella shares his secret family recipes, the dishes that made him famous on Top Chef, and signature meals from his restaurant. From Ricotta with Charred Scallion and Harissa to Grandma’s Potato Gnocchi, Chicken Wings with Pepperoni Sauce to Carnival-Style Zeppoles with Seasonal Sugars, home cooks will taste the pure joy these meals can bring. Delivering lip-smacking food (and talking some smack while he’s at it), Isabella makes Italian fun to cook again.

ISBN: 978-0-7382-1566-2
334 pages



The first book signing will take place at Graffiato in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, September 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This event is open to the public. Reservations for brunch are also available, but not required to purchase a cookbook.

Visit the tour page for additional book signing events, dates and locations.

Pre-order your copy online:

Barnes & Noble

Graffiato Hosts Dinner with Chef Angelo Sosa

May 11, 2012

On June 9, Top Chef All-Stars contestant and celebrity chef Angelo Sosa  will visit Graffiato for a special dinner hosted by Chef Mike Isabella. The five-course dinner menu will feature recipes such as scallop banana tartar with jalapeño vinaigrette and grilled duck breast with honey pepper glaze from Chef Sosa’s upcoming book, Flavor Exposed: 100 Global Recipes from Sweet to Salty, Earthy to Spicy. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase books and have them signed by Chef Sosa.

When: Saturday, June 9 from 5:00pm to 12:00am

Price: $65/person (exclusive of tax and gratuity)

Reservations: Reservations are available online or by calling 202.289.3600.

*If the reservation is made online, please request Chef Sosa’s dinner menu in the notes, as it is not available to order the day of.  

Chef Isabella’s “Now-Famous” Pepperoni Sauce

April 13, 2011

Sample the pepperoni sauce that won Chef Isabella so much praise on the finale of Top Chef All-Stars.

Makes 4 1/2 cups to 4 3/4 cups


  • 6-oz. pepperoni, cut into thin slices
  • 4-oz. yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon chili flake
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted
  • 4-oz. crushed San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
  • 4-oz. chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


In a pot, sweat onions in olive oil for five to seven minutes. Add garlic and continue to sweat for two minutes. Add the pepperoni and cook for about three more minutes. Add spices and cook for an additional minute. Add the crushed tomatoes with the juice and cook for five more minutes. Lastly, add chicken stock and simmer for 40 minutes.

Remove the mixture from heat and puree in a blender. Season with salt and pass it through a fine china cap. Finally, add the splash of vinegar.

Posted in: Food, Recipes

Chef Isabella Shares Atkins-Friendly Recipes

January 19, 2011

Mike Isabella joins an array of experts providing ethnic, diet-friendly dishes for you to cook at home. He puts to rest any uncertainty as to whether diet-friendly recipes may also be mouthwatering.  Visit the Atkins site to browse through his Mediterranean recipes.

Chef Isabella to Demo at the International Wine & Food Festival

January 18, 2011

On Saturday, February 12 Chef Isabella will take the stage at the 12th Annual International Wine & Food Festival. Watch him prepare spiced beets with chocolates and fresh made ricotta, then linger to sample the unique dish. The demo begins at 2:00 pm in the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center. Purchase your ticket online and arrive early to snag a good seat.

Tri-Color Cookie Recipe

December 28, 2010

Chef Isabella has a vivid memory about the making, eating and transporting of Christmas cookies as a child. “The only difference between tri-color and all the rest is that half of the [tri-colors] would be missing by the time I got to my aunt’s house, because they were my favorite and I would quietly eat them in the back of the car on our ride over there.”

Tri-color cookies are painted the colors of the Italian flag, which also happens to be Christmas colors. They’ll be on the dessert menu at Graffiato, but if you can’t wait for Spring, see Chef Isabella’s recipe below.

Mike Isabella's Tri-Color Cookies


An American Italian Holiday Cookie

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 10-12 minutes


8 ounces almond paste

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter, softened

4 eggs, separated

2 cups all-purpose flour

10 drops red food coloring

10 drops green food coloring

Apricot jam

Raspberry jam “seedless”

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 9×13 baking pans with parchment paper.

2. In large bowl, break apart almond paste, and cream together with butter, sugar and egg yolks. When mixture is fluffy and smooth, stir in flour to form a dough. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into the dough. Divide dough in 3 equal portions. Mix one portion with red food coloring, and one with green food coloring. Spread each portion into one of the baking pans.

3. Bake 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from pan, and cool on wire rack.

4. Place green layer onto a piece of plastic wrap large enough to wrap all 3 layers. Spread with raspberry jam, and top with uncolored layer. Spread with apricot, and top with red layer. Transfer to baking sheet, and enclose with plastic wrap. Place a heavy pan or cutting board on top of wrapped layers to compress. Chill in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.

5. Remove plastic wrap. Top with melted chocolate chips, and refrigerate 1 hour. Slice into small squares.