Story by Liesel Schmidt
Photography by Jeff Heeney
Named La Fiamma or “the flame,” the restaurant at 6124 Franconia Road in Alexandria is more than just an Italian kitchen—it’s a gathering place full of heart, passion and tradition… not to mention a brick pizza oven that truly brings the fire.
Opened in February 2021, La Fiamma Italian Kitchen was created with the concept of being a destination for high-quality traditional Italian comfort food made with a modern flair. Bringing to life the vision of husband-and-wife team Gonzalo and Melina Pardo, the restaurant is a new venture, but it has all the passion of a generations-old business.
Gonzalo’s love and talent for cooking takes him to the kitchen, where he spends a great deal of time working on new dishes. Staff and regular customers even know their two kids, Luca and Mateo, who spend enough time there while their parents work. “We're family-friendly but can also be a romantic dining experience. Our friendly, hardworking, team-oriented staff make all the difference and we have hands-on owners in the kitchen and in the front of the house,” says Melina. “We’re owned and operated by a local family and our mission is to differentiate ourselves from the corporate world by not only serving great food but by approaching our guests as friends, not as numbers.”
“Part of what makes us so unique is the ambiance, the supervised kids’ room, our live cooking Sunday Brunch, the wood-burning brick oven, our large bar and our homemade bread and pizza dough that is made daily in-house,” says Gonzalo. It’s that very thing, in fact, that gives them the old-world flavor. The recipes are made from scratch and use nothing premade. “We make our breads, doughs, sauces, some of our pastas and some of our desserts from scratch, so it all tastes fresh and amazing,” Melina says. Best-selling signature items include the gamberi scampi, calamari, their brick oven pizzas, rack of lamb, pasta pescatore and gnocchi alla vodka.
Being new business owners, the Pardos are amazed at the support they’ve received from the Alexandria community. “Even though we're relatively new to the area as owners, we can say the best thing about being in Alexandria is getting to know our neighbors,” says Melina. “We love helping the Alexandria community when we can and feeling part of this great and supportive community we now belong to!” You can visit La Fiamma Italian Kitchen at 6124 Franconia Rd, Alexandria, VA 22310 or visit lafiammaitalian.com to view the full menu ad/or place an order.