Washington D.C.’s 131 neighborhoods are a treasure trove when it comes to Italian cuisine, with more and more chefs staking their claim and opening up new offerings to choose from.
From five-course tasting menus to classical trattoria eats, here’s where to find the best of the best in our Nation’s
What It Is: An unassuming restaurant with classic Italian dishes.
What It Is: A two-floor 100-seat restaurant boasting a menu of house-made charcuterie, cheeses, pastas and pizzas.
What Our Inspectors Say: “Upstairs, the dining room has a low-key but quintessential luxe Italian look. The kitchen too boasts some unique offerings—a roasted onion stuffed with four-cheese fondue is delicious, but it’s really all about the homemade pasta and spot-on affetati here. The spaghetti is gloriously thick and chewy, while the charcuterie boards are crammed with delicious imported salumi, cheeses, olives and giardiniera. Finish with a classic affogato, in which a shot of hot espresso is poured over a dollop of creamy vanilla ice cream.”
Designation: One Star
What It Is: Fabio and Maria Trabocchi’s one-Michelin-starred restaurant centrally located between the White House and the Capitol Building.
What Our Inspectors Say: “Thanks to truly sophisticated cuisine, the somewhat stiff environs and overly scripted service staff are soon forgiven. And despite its traditional demeanor, the menu actually allows for flexibility with the ability to craft your own four- and five-course meals in addition to a grand tasting menu. The chef’s cooking style is both ultra-luxurious and Italian-influenced, with a highly stylized bent to boot. Meals may begin with a single jumbo stalk of white asparagus, dressed with black truffle vinaigrette and caviar, before moving on to hay-smoked potato gnocchi, presented with flair under a glass cloche. Wild turbot with chunks of razor clams and fava beans is also shielded within a glass cloche, though this excellent dish impresses with its rich flavors alone. As for the wine list? As one would expect, it’s showy, littered with big names and curated for those with sizeable expense accounts and companions to impress.”
What It Is: Open since 1987, this quaint Dupont Circle spot serves a five-course dinner five nights a week on a hand-written menu that changes daily.
What Our Inspectors Say: “The light and seasonal Italian cooking begins with a bang as an assortment of fantastic antipasti are quickly ushered to the table: creamy burrata; a sardine served over a tasty Prosecco-braised onion salad; crunchy puntarelle salad with a creamy anchovy dressing; and a thin slice of porchetta with a crisp shell and rich, flavorful meaty center, to name a few. The second and third courses are overshadowed by the first, but the full experience is worth the two to three hours to enjoy.”
Designation: One Star
What It Is: Housed in a former warehouse, chef Nicholas Stefanelli celebrates the Puglia region—heavily rooted in his heritage—at his one-Michelin-starred restaurant.