Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Aug 29, 2007 02:52 PM

Italian in NOVA

I'm in desperate need of a recommendation for a place for dinner on Saturday that has a good Italian or seafood menu and can acommodate 12 people (ranging in age from 5-75). Grandma tends to be a bit picky so a nicer place as opposed to a hole-in-the-wall. Anything come to mind?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Bebo Trattoria comes to mind. Not Italian-American, though. Their new pizzas are excellent. Special thanks to Joe H. for recommending the smoked mozzarella pizza Not on the menu, you have to ask for it. Also I've had excellent sausage, tongue, and tripe here.

    The chocolate salami makes an excellent dessert. Big enough to share.

    For seafood, I honestly think you're best off going to Artie's in Fairfax. Not a seafood restaurant, but those of you who want seafood have some very good things to choose from.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      I was thinking about Artie's, too, since it was a favorite of my late grandfather and grandmother, and you're looking to please a grandparent. I don't know NoVa nearly as well as others here, for sure, but it does work for the generations and has some big tables.

      1. re: Steve

        Can you seat 12 at Artie's? When we've gone with larger parties, we've ended up in two large booths, not one big table. I prefer Coastal Flats to Arties but it's a noisier place. It is more seafood based, though part of the same chain. Their shrimp and grits are worth a special trip.

        If you're near the Burke area, Rafagino's is very nice, decor-wise, and quiet, definitely a place I'd take a grandmother. The owner is really friendly (he makes the rounds, talks to everyone to make sure they're enjoying themselves, etc.), the service excellent. The food is hit or miss, though. I've had some great dishes and some that were pretty bad. Pastas generally are good. Fish okay. I'd highly recommend the prosciutto wrapped mozzerella balls drizzled with balsamic vinegar but pass on the baked calamari which is pretty flavorless. Desserts are fair but don't get the tiramisu which comes w/ a layer cake, whipped frosting and canned peaches. The description of the tiramisu alone probably would turn most people away...but it is a nice place if you know what to order.

        1. re: chowser

          We went to Rafagino's based on the recomendations for my fathers birthday. Horribley dissapointing. My paella was good but the rest of the food and the service was bad bordering on awful.

          1. re: ulrath

            You had paella at Rafagino's? At an Italian restaurant? Or did you go to El Pueblo in the same shopping mall? El Pueblo is also hit or miss but the paella is good. It's the only Spanish restaurant in this area, though. I've always had decent service there but slow. Always slow.

            1. re: chowser

              Yeah. One of tae owners is spanish or portugese I think.

      2. With your needs and the age spread of your crowd, I'd head stright to Capri restaurant in McLean. This is a pleasant Italian restaurant with lots of seafood options.

        Here's the link to the WASHINGTON POST's review of the restaurant from '06

        I'd be a nervous wreck about bringing guests to Bebo; service issues are just too common a story, and the large size of your party is likely to intensify the problems. The food is always delish, but we only go to Bebo when we're mellow enough to not care about the service problems we will -- not if -- encounter that night.

        1. Argia's in Falls Church comes to mind for italian. Sette Bello is really good, but can be loud so that probably wouldn't be as nice.

          1. I recommend Argia's, Sette Bello, or Cafe Oggi. For seafood, I like McCormick & Schmick (even though it is a chain).

            1. Tutto Bene on North Randolph along side Ballston Common has the space and the standard Italian dishes. They also have a Bolivian menu (you usually have to ask) for those with a more adverturous spirit.