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HELP Italian in the district

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Good morning,
My mother is coming into town next week and she told my sister and me that she wanted to go into the district (venture out of old town for once) and enjoy a dinner that I talk so much about when I am updating her about my DC life. The problem is that my sister is not adventurous at all. So, please take this and offer a recommendation:
My mother said (not entirely convinced) that she wants Italian. My sister and I both like Tosca but I wanted to try something different since I have been to Tosca several times.
I tried recommending Equinox and Brasserie Beck (the latter being my favorite in town right now).
If she still wants Italian, what should I recommend? Should I try to convince for Equinox?
Let's stay at $30 or under for an entree and can't be a tough reservation (Though most aren't because i usually eat early)

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  1. There are several good places to go. Olelisk is fantastic, but expensive. Notti Bianche is good trattoria fare. I like really Dino, mainly because of the fantastic and well priced wine list that is a must if you are into Italian wine, but also for the food. 2 Amys is good, even if you don't want pizza (which is their forte, but not the only reason to go) but early there are likely to be families with kids there, if that is a problem for you.

    5 Replies
    1. re: dinwiddie

      I agree with the Dino recommendation. Cleveland Park is a great area of the city and well worth exploring if you are used to eating mostly in Old Town.

      1. re: caphil07

        sorry I forgot to include Dino on places we have done already. I really love the featured fish there and tasters of wine and I took my mother there last time she was here. It was good then! looking for other suggestions outside of that right now.

        1. re: caphil07

          I am personally leaning towards just making them go to Equinox or Beck. Any reviews lately of the autumnal menus there?

          1. re: daves_32

            Go to Equinox...the food is amazing! I haven't been this year but last year I went in the fall and my meal was fantastic.

            Not $30 entrees though. It's quite pricey.

        2. re: dinwiddie

          I personally really don't like Notti Bianche. I'm not sure it has improved but I've had bad experiences there (you can probably find my complaints if you do a search of the restaurant).

        3. My all time favorite Italian restaurant in DC is Obelisk, but my very very close second (and much more affordable) is Al Crostino on U Street. There should be something for your sister there, but enough to satisfy your and your mom's more discriminating tastes. Plus, I've never had a problem getting a reservation. Hope this helps!

          1. How about Dino for rustic Italian? In your price-range.

            If you want more classic Italian I suggest Al Tiramisu or Al Crostini (just make sure to ask the price of any specials since they are usually double the price or most entrees).

            1. I am a fan of Tosca, but for something different, check out D'Acqua. I loved everything I had there a few weeks ago - especially the whole fish baked in rock salt.