Cafe Milano alum turned restaurateur Andrea Pace is taking a break from cooking, shutting down November 11 the cozy Italian restaurant he planted in the heart of Fairfax City roughly a decade ago.
Now-shuttered Villa Mozart appealed to a variety of diners, from the legal professionals who wandered over from the county’s judicial complex during lunch to spinach- and mountain cheese-stuffed rye ravioli fan — and Washington Post restaurant critic — Tom Sietsema. In her latest 50 Best Restaurants issue, Northern Virginia Magazine dining editor and restaurant critic Stefanie Gans sounds as spellbound as ever by Pace’s culinary prowess.
“Alternating between potatoes filled with rib meat and fava beans (imagine stuffed gnocchi) for a meaty-earthy bite are tufts of white microfoam made from Parmesan. This dish was ethereal, light and sophisticated, a reminder Italian is more than noodles sauced in red,” she writes of one unforgettable meal.
Pace alerted fans of his intention to close this chapter of his career November 6 via social media.
He later told Sietsema that the new owners want to install a Taiwanese eatery featuring craft beers. Pace also said he’s not entirely done with restaurants; per Sietsema, the seasoned chef “hopes to open a place of his own closer to D.C., maybe even in the city.”