Campono reminds us of the person that you know in your life that has everything going for them, but then you look down and see a handful of lint on their pants or that their shirt that has become untucked in the back. You want to help them out just a little so they can become the star that they should be. Campono gives off a feel of an upscale, Italian version of Chipotle. The 55-seat restaurant with a 40-seat patio is open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, from 8am to 9pm and on weekends from 11am-9pm. Everything on the menu is made to order and the menu boasts a huge selection of hot and cold sandwiches, salads, soups, and most importantly the holy mecca of food, pizza. There is sure to be something for even the pickiest of eaters.
Bob Kinkead, a fine-dining seafood and James Beard winning chef, opened the fast-casual restaurant within the last six weeks. Perhaps Campono is still working on the finishing touches, as the atmosphere is extremely cozy, and yet you find yourself drinking from Styrofoam cups, salads are brought out in clear plastic bowls, and pizzas on paper plates. Campono would benefit from some simple silverware to class up the joint for those eating in (we’re channeling Vapiano on this one), or commit to being a “fast food dining” place and not provide such an elegant atmosphere. It is the small things that this could truly make this place a go-to stop for the lucky GWU students around the corner. With that being said, Campono delivers on its food.
- The Palermo sandwich (with tuna conserve, olive oil, artichoke, egg, arugula, roasted peppers, and caper tapenade) is not your typical take on tuna salad. Instead of the tuna being slathered in mayo, this tuna comes from a fresh organic farm, and is a much lighter and healthier option. The flavor of the capers, along with the olives, is quite overpowering in this sandwich, however, I found that the egg and artichoke paired quite nicely, not to mention that the bread was fresh and warm.
- If you are looking for a salad selection, the Campono does offer up a variety of salads. We tried the Beet and Goat Cheese Salad (Arugula blend, roasted beets, green beans, potato, red onion, goat cheese, and shallot dressing) and the while the potatoes and beets were great, my favorite part of the salad was the fresh and delicious clumps of goat cheese.
- For what Campono may lack in its salads, it makes up in for in its incredible pizzas. Their crust is thin, light, buttery, crispy, and topped with the fresh ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella, pancetta, red peppers, basil, and dozens more. While we were there, we tried the Burrata Pizza (Parmesan Cream, Garlic, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Basil and Burrata) and the Amatrician (Fior Di Latte Mozzarella Under Tomato Sauce, Pancetta, Onions, Black Pepper and pecorino). Much to our dismay,the slices disappeared before we even thought about savoring each and every bite. The pizzas themselves are surprisingly big and high quality for the price, and the crust truly captures the wood fired oven taste.
- If you do happen to have room, and you should as there is always room for more, then you should saunter over to Campono’s gelato counter. Campono’s gelati, sorbetti, and granitas are made daily, and they have a numerous selection of flavors. Some of the more unique flavors include honey yogurt and mocha almond or one can opt for the family classics like chocolate and strawberry. We ventured to try the Butter Pecan and Raspberry and were pleasantly surprised by the sweet creamy goodness of their gelato, not to mention the incredible chocolate biscotti that the friendly staff placed on top of our gelato.
Gelatos in hand, and the April sun beating down on our faces as we walked across the street to the Kennedy Center to enjoy the views, wt was an ideal way to end our meal… while we tried to forget about the fact that we had devoured through multiple pizzas.
600 New Hampshire Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20037
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