DC Dopers, find me a restaurant!

I’m looking for a decent Italian place in DC (Baltimore would do, too). Nothing too fancy requiring me or my boyfriend to play dress-up, but it has to be real Italian food. The kind where I’d swear there’s an Italian Grandma in the kitchen making all the pasta by hand.

It’ll be for my birthday dinner, and I want it to be beyond delicious. What can you suggest?

Il Porto in Old Town Alexandria, 121 King St, has a sweet location just up from the waterfront. I took my brother there once and it was great.

There are two in DC I love, but haven’t been there in a couple of years. One is Feo’s on 16th St., on the northern edge of Mt. Pleasant (it’s on the ground floor of an apartment building right at the bridge). They have two waitresses, the good one and the bad one. If you get the good one, you get a swell meal at a fairt price. If you get the bad one, you get HIGH OPERA! She’s kind of snide and condescending, but right before tipping time, she’ll tell you some sad thing about her life to win your sympathy. Now that’s entertainment!

Also in Mt. Pleasant–about a block north of Adams Morgan on Mt. Pleasant St. just north of Irving–is a little walk-up (I’m blanking on the name) with something called “The Chef’s Table,” a table inside the kitchen where you get first-class special treatment. Unless you or your guest has bitter memories of having to eat in the kitchen because of regional Jim Crow laws in the 50s, this is the swankiest gig in town.

Check out Dino in Cleveland Park, on Conn. across the street from the Uptown. An absolutely amazing wine list and some great food.

I just want to wish you good luck in your search and remind you when you’re finished eating and the time of dessert falls upon you - don’t forget the cannoli.

Once the birthday is over, I can recommend some really good Italian delis, one in Arlington (The Italian Store at Rt. 29 and Spout Run Pkwy) and one in Wheaton (Italia Deli in the Wheaton Triangle).

For Italian, I’d suggest Luigino’s, near the Metro Center. The black-olive-tapanade encrused lamb chops were incredible. Menu here. Not typical Italian but every dish was well worth it.

For more traditional, there’s Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza on F Street near the Spy Museum. The individual pizzas are great – fresh ingredients and imported cheese – but what really shines are their small plates.

One thing you might want to do in Baltimore is just drive into Little Italy, park, and then stroll around until you see something that catches your eye.

It’s a small district with a lot of hole-in-the-wall places. None is ever too packed. You don’t need a jacket for any of them, but you might not want jeans, either.

There are places that are like 8 tables with red/white checker table cloths that seem like mom & pop operations, and places with big phoney columns, stucco facades, and waiters with giant pepper grinds. Della Notte fits into that last category. You can’t miss it.

I used to like a place called Cafe di Roma that is now closed.

Vacarro’s is the place everyone goes for desert/cannoli.

Here’s a nice map. It’s easy to get to coming from the south.

http://www.littleitalyrestaurants.com/little_italy_maryland_restaurant_LOCATION.htm

Exactly what I was going to recommend. :slight_smile:

Famous Luigi’s, at 1132 19th Street, NW. The lasagna is great, as is the pizza.

You can check out the dinner menu here:

http://www.famousluigis.com/dinner/index.html

Buca di Beppo is really good. Went there for my birthday a few weeks ago.

Here is the info:

Buca di Beppo Washington, D.C.
1825 Connecticut Avenue N.W.
Washington DC DC 20009
202.232.8466