Whether you’re looking for an old-school red sauce joint or a classy trattoria, DC is full of options for sumptuous Italian fare. Take a trip to one of the world’s best culinary destinations and sample a plate of pasta, pizza, or eggplant parmigiana at any of the top-notch eateries below:
The restaurant’s options are set up in tasting menu format, which you can browse while soaking up the restaurant’s stunning brick interior. Diners can select from two, three, and four-course options and then choose from a list of antipasti, pasta and risotto, or seasonal flora. Fiola offers a number of sophisticated entrees, like the lightly grilled branzino with oysters and caviar, and the Piemontese beef short ribs. For pure indulgence, splurge on the decadent angel hair and caviar entree.
601 Pennsylvania Ave NW. (202) 628-2888
This chic, intimate pasta bar, which features a minimalist white-and-light-wood interior and floor-to-ceiling glass windows is located directly between DC hotspots U Street and Adams Morgan. This DC newcomer also serves up a nightly dinner special we just can’t get enough of: $16 for your choice of housemade pasta, sauce, a side salad, and a plate of cannolis to top it all off. Our favorite pasta here has to be the soft, creamy cheese tortellini. Pair your dish with a protein topping, like grilled chicken or shrimp, for more flavor and bite.
781 Florida Ave NW. (202) 518-7021
This cozy U Street spot is so authentically Italian that it has a gelato tasting menu for the end of your meal. Plus, since every dish on the menu (yes, even the desserts) features a recommended wine pairing, there’s no need to feign knowledge about whether a nebbiolo would match your bolognese, or anything like that.
1212 U St NW. (202) 735-0439
This spacious, high-ceilinged Southeast Waterfront Italian destination is all about the seafood specials. Take a seat overlooking the Anacostia river as you dine on dishes like squid ink pasta with scallops or sea urchin-and-crab bucatini. If you’re more turf than surf, the sinfully rich, decadent baked gnocchi with duck ragu will hit the spot.
301 Water St SE. (202) 484-0660
This homey 14th Street pizzeria is a regular on local magazine Washingtonian’s annual roundup of the 100 Best Restaurants in DC. Helmed by DC food luminary Peter Pastan, the bustling District favorite slings up classic pies, like a Marinara or Margherita di Bufala, along with eclectic takes like the Spanish-inflected Potato Patata Chorizo Tomato pie. Make sure not to miss the housemade chocolate salami (yes, really) for dessert.
1541 14th St NW. (202) 232-0920