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Italian Restaurant in Washington DC

Some friends and I are looking for a solid Italian restaurant in DC that can handle 12 people and would be a fun dinner location before going out bar hopping. I've read Washington Post reviews, but it's always tough to trust the conflicting reviews. If you can, please respond with an positive experiences and strong recommendations. My friend is a big fan of Italian food so we're looking for a location with terrific food, but also a place with an atmosphere that we can drink and enjoy one another's company.

Some places we're already looking into are Etrusco, al Tiramisu, Primi Piatti, Luigino.

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  1. It's traditional red cloth type of place, but an institution that's closing due to "progress" - AV Ristorante.

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/406161 recent thread.

    Save your list for August or after.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dennis S

      Second AV, as well as Luigi's. The former is a short walk to Penn Quarter, the latter just south of Dupont.

    2. Dino, then walk down the hill to walk off the food and go to Adams Morgan to bar hop.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jpschust

        I second Dino, emphatically. Moreover, if you or any of you are wine lovers, run, do not walk, to Dino, because the food is very good, but the wine selection, service and value are simply amazing -- for Italian wines, the best in the region and probably the best I've ever experienced. There is also a nice separate dining room upstairs; can't remember if it would fit 12, but it might be worth asking.

      2. I'd head to Filomena in Georgetown and then bar-hop down there. you enter Filomena on the street level where the little old ladies are in the window making the ravioli by hand and then head down stairs. Downstairs is a huge beautiful restaurant that serves excellent food. Call soon for a reservation - they do book up.

        2 Replies
        1. re: DC Gal

          Also don't forget to have dessert at Filomena. With 12 people I would suggest getting 5-6 different pieces of their wonderful variety of cakes and sharing. Mmmmm now I'm getting hunry!!

          Btw...last time I was there I saw Fran Drescher from "The Nanny." My bf always has DC celebrity sightings there.

          1. re: DC Gal

            I concur! Filomena's impressive and quaint --- and especcially nice during Christmas when they decorate the hell out of it! The food is definitely 'homemade' and delicious. Then it's a block up from Georgetown bars. Sette Osteria in Dupont is also good, with delicious Quattro Formaggio pizza, and a block away from many bars.

          2. Dino! The food is terrific and well priced, so is the wine list. Plus, you are just one Metro stop (or a nice long walk) from Adam's Morgan for your bar hopping.

            1. Appreciate all the feedback. It looks like Dino and Filomena's are the ones to look into for now. I am already familiar with Dino as it's in CP where I live, but no nothing about Filomena's. Any other suggestions or feedback are welcome.

              1 Reply
              1. re: struggle19

                My vote is for Filomena's...good food and good location

              2. I'm going to get slammed for this one... but Buca di Beppo!! I love it. It's so cheesy but funny.

                5 Replies
                1. re: jackcyn

                  >> I'm going to get slammed for this one... but Buca di Beppo!! I love it. It's so cheesy but funny.

                  Yup. You're gonna get slammed. :-) With the numerous local places around, why go with a soulless chain restaurant?

                  Filomena's is better for celeb sightings than food, IMO, though it's not terrible.

                  I like Dino a lot - I think that's a great choice.

                  1. re: DanielK

                    If it was, say, New Haven they might deserve to get slammed for mentioning Beppo's. The truth is, there aren't that many family Italian places around here that rise above the level of a Beppo's or a Macaroni Grill. I'm not talking about Laboratorio or Citronelle, I'm talking about family-run red sauce joints serving good food that are everywhere from Philly to Boston. Not many of those in DC, nor have there ever been. Sad, but a fact of life.

                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                      And the list gets shorter every day, in downtown at least. Famous Luigi's seems to be the last of a dying breed. They've been there since 1943.


                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                        Luigi's is decent. They do a nice catered luncheon. We have their food brought in about twice a month and they never disappoint.

                      2. re: flavrmeistr

                        So true! And don't forget Maggiano's for a nearby family-style Italian dinner experience, like Beppo. I recently brought my visiting parents there (they don't eat out much and are rather picky) and they loved, LOVED it! And I must admit, I ate my weight in four cheese ravioli!

                  2. I think that Sette Osteria in Dupont is quite good. Great pastas, and good pizza. It's got a "scene" that I'm not much into, but it's definitely a place with some vitality, and my meals have been great each of the 3-4 times I've been.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: govo

                      Papa Razzi in Georgetown is awesome. The food is always good and the atmosphere is young, busy, and the building is even cool. I would say its better food than Filomena and a lot more fun type of atmosphere.

                      1. re: allisonm

                        Really?? The 2 times I've been there I've been disappointed. Haven't been back in over 3 years. Never been disappointed at Filomena though!

                    2. Another recommendation for Dino...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: debit

                        I agree that there are no really good Italian restaurants in DC, but would vote for Filomena as the best available. Anyone seeking a good place outside DC should try A la Lucia in Old Town.