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Casual Italian Restaurant in D.C., Recommendations Please!

Casual Italian Restaurant in D.C., Recommendations Please!

Old May 20th, 2008, 03:49 PM
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Casual Italian Restaurant in D.C., Recommendations Please!

Yikes, how did this happen? We are leaving in four days for D.C. Please recommend a trattoria, ideally a nice family place with good food, good house wine and a relaxed atmosphere. Heaven!

Thanks,
Linda
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Old May 20th, 2008, 03:58 PM
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Where in DC will u be staying?
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Old May 20th, 2008, 03:59 PM
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Otello, in the Dupont Circle area. A nice, casual, reasonably priced neighborhood restaurant. About a block from the metro station.

http://www.otellodc.com/
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Old May 20th, 2008, 04:01 PM
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Hi, sorriso, you might want to consider Sorriso:

http://www.sorrisoristorante.net/home.htm

It can get a bit loud when its busy, but I've certainly enjoyed the food, wine, and atmosphere.

Enjoy!
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Old May 20th, 2008, 05:27 PM
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We're staying at Donovan House on 14th Street NW (Thomas Circle).

Thank you for the recommendations!
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Old May 20th, 2008, 06:19 PM
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I agree with Otello in Dupont Circle. Also in Dupont Circle Pizza Paradiso is great for pizza and sandwichs. U can hop on the Metro and take the Red line to Cleveland Park for Dino's - this is where Sorriso's is also. Good food and great wine selection at Dinos. Pasta Mia in Adams Morgan is another good choice...it can get really crowded. I havent been there in years, but always a good family place is Luigi's on 19th St. You can check out the Washingtonian magazine for there selections.
http://tinyurl.com/3kcg4h
Have fun!
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Old May 20th, 2008, 06:49 PM
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AV Ristorante Italiano
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Old May 20th, 2008, 07:35 PM
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AV Ristorante closed last year.

Coppi's near 14th and U St. is another idea (and maybe Al Crostino, but to be honest I've never tried it myself).
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Old May 21st, 2008, 07:13 AM
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I would also recommend Pizzeria Paradiso (though when they get crowded the service can be a little rushed) or Luigi's.

Another option is Giovanni's Trattu, which is hidden away on a side street (Jefferson Pl.) off 19th St. just south of Dupont Circle. It's old-school - it's in a basement and the decor could use an update - but it's casual and the food is very good. The pasta is mostly homemade and great.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 10:38 AM
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I like Anna Maria's near Dupont Circle (just a block or two north on the right side of Connecticut).

Pizza Paradiso has good pizza, but I wouldn't call it a nice famiy place nor relaxed. It's very crowded, noisy, and full of the 20-30 something urban crowd. It's well-known and does have good pizza, so can be hard to get into. It only seats 35 and there are people waiting in lines out the door for a long time, sometimes. They don't really serve much there, other than pizza and pannini, and side salads. So it isn't like a regular Italian restaurant, it really is a pizzeria.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 10:43 AM
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This also points out there is a dearth of neighborhood Italian places in DC. DC has never had a "Little Italy" or even a core of white ethnics that usually nurture these kinds of places.

We could name 30 casual Thai places and Ethiopian places, and even 10 great casual Salvadoran places, but Italian is tough in DC.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 11:54 AM
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MikeT is quite right. DC is much more different than most American cities north of the Potomac in that ethnic neighborhoods were few. Many of DC's whites were southern(ie. Roy Clark, Jimmy Dean). A few were Irish (ie. Pat Buchanan, Maureen Dowd).
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Old May 21st, 2008, 03:41 PM
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My son graduated from the University of Richmond last May and has been working in DC (living in Arlington) since then. He was given the initial assignment of finding an Italian restaurant and told me essentially what MikeT pointed out. I thought I'd turn to Fodorites for help and of course you came up with some great choices.

We live in the boonies in Maine. Visiting any big city is great--we'll try out some of the other places, broaden our horizons a bit, but we've just got to have Italian!
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Old May 21st, 2008, 05:56 PM
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If your son's in Arlington, you should try Il Raddichio which is between Rosslyn and Courthouse in Arlington. It's exactly what you are looking for.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 06:48 PM
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Another vote for Dino's ....

http://www.dino-dc.com/
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Old Jun 7th, 2008, 09:44 AM
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In quick follow-up, we tried without success to eat at: Sorriso, Otello, Coppi's and a couple others but ran into problems of trying at lunch and they were closed or strange hours with the holiday weekend. A lot of places were closed which was very frustrating.

We did have pizza at 2 Amys, I am forever spoiled.

We left DC to head to Williamsburg for a few nights and then back to Arlington for one night. On that night we wanted to eat within easy walking distance of the Hyatt Crystal City and ended up on South 23rd Street at Top Thai Restaurant. We had a delicious, satisfying meal at quite a reasonable price.

Finally, the following day at lunch we decided to get our Italian meal. We had noticed that there were four or five choices in that small stretch of 23rd street and ended up at Cafe Italia. I cannot recommend this restaurant. We're not foodies but we do know tasty; this wasn't.
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Old Jun 7th, 2008, 05:01 PM
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Sorry you weren't able to make it to Sorriso. We had dinner there last week on our first night. Couldn't be more conveniently located as it is literally right at the top of the steps when you come out of Cleveland Park metro station.

They have beef carpaccio which I crave, so that sealed the deal for me. I had that as an app and a cheese cannelloni dish for my main. My son was jonesing for spaghetti and meatballs, but that wasn't on the menu. Not to worry, server offered to ask the kitchen if it could be prepared for him. Bingo! He loved it. Fabulous bread, nice wines by the glass if you are alone as I was and can't order a bottle, and the desserts at surrounding tables looked great - we were much too full to have one. Liked the atmosphere, wonderful waitstaff, and the weather was nice that night so some were dining al fresco. Would gladly return.
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Old Jun 8th, 2008, 06:01 AM
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Crepes: I envy you! The night we went to 2 Amys we walked down a street (literally down), enjoying the beautiful homes and their gardens to the Cleveland Park metro, stopped at Cold Stone Creamery for an ice cream and headed for the metro. There was Sorriso and it was closed. The menu looked wonderful.
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Old Jun 8th, 2008, 01:31 PM
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sorriso, thanks for the follow-up report. Things like that do happen when traveling so you just need to make the best of it, as you and your family managed to do. Keep these places in mind for your next visit.
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Old Jun 8th, 2008, 02:26 PM
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sorriso - I'd love to hear how you liked Williamsburg.
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