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Italian in Bethesda Md - need help

bethesdaitalian Sep 1, 2010 03:11 PM

hello all,

I am headed to Bethesda MD for training in a few weeks. I love Italian and trying new food but I am not sure if open places are kept up to date for that area on the web. I am using the recommended city resource called http://m.bethesdamdrestaurants.com but would love some real recommendations from real people.


  1. b
    bachovar Sep 6, 2010 01:55 PM

    Hi-- The Trattoria Sorrento on Cordell is a lovely very old fashioned Italian Restaurant.
    The grilled squid is fabulous, the whole roasted fish usually first rate, and the home made ravioli are silken. It's not cheap, and the decor is 1950's little Italy -- but the service is attentive and the food above average.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bachovar
      Chocolatechipkt Sep 11, 2010 09:02 PM

      I second the recommendation for Sorrento, and the grilled squid and whole roasted fish. Yum. The service is great, it's quiet inside, and they're very willing to help people with food issues.

    2. w
      wysguymd Sep 4, 2010 07:23 PM

      Mamma Lucia - basic strip-mall Italian, but with countless locations around the area, they are doing something right. The Pizza is good! And Monday night is buy one pasta entree, get one $3.99.

      3 Replies
      1. re: wysguymd
        DanielK Sep 4, 2010 08:38 PM

        I'm a fan of Mamma Lucia's, but the Bethesda location is not very good.

        In fact, only the original Federal Plaza location is really any good; the rest range from fair to poor.

        1. re: DanielK
          Doh Sep 5, 2010 12:37 PM

          Thanks, because I see it recommended a lot but the Bethesda location has not impressed me.

          1. re: Doh
            DanielK Sep 5, 2010 11:11 PM

            Please go to the Federal Plaza location before you write off Mamma Lucia's. For red-sauce NY-style Italian and pizza, I haven't found a better example in the area.

      2. h
        HilkaryIC Sep 2, 2010 07:10 PM

        Pines of Rome has a few dishes they do well, and everything else is sub-par. Even the good stuff could use a bit of seasoning. The atmosphere is blue hairs having the early bird special.

        Exceptional dishes: eggplant parm (I've personally never found better, but they make it exactly how I like it: light on breading and cheese), bean soup, and white pizza.

        With all that said, Bethesda is not a place to go for Italian food.

        Pines of Rome
        4709 Hampden Ln, Bethesda, MD 20814

        1 Reply
        1. re: HilkaryIC
          TenleyExpat Sep 6, 2010 12:49 PM

          I used to go to pines of rome as a teenager, and I remember it having OK, fairly cheap food. If you can make it into DC, Luigi's is a really good fairly reasonably priced very classic Italian joint, and when I say classic I mean checkered tablecloth, candles in the Chianti, two dogs sharing a plate of spaghetti and meatballs classic. It's on 19th between L and M and is close to the Farragut North metro.

        2. d
          Doh Sep 2, 2010 02:18 PM

          Are you can perhaps sense, pickings are somewhat slim. Cornucopia is an italian deli/grocery that has sandwiches (I can't remember if if it has tables outside). Vace is another deli/grocery that has very good pizza and cannoli (but no tables). Dolcezza has gelato.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Doh
            emily0911 Sep 2, 2010 08:15 PM

            I second Cornucopia -- every time i take someone there they always tell me later that they've taken someone else there themselves to share the amazingness. They do have some tables inside but I don't remember if they have any outside. In addition to the sandwiches, their breakfast pastries and cookies are amazing.

            1. re: emily0911
              dining with doc Sep 3, 2010 10:03 AM

              Cornucopia is fantastic but only open really for lunch. 3 small tables inside.

              1. re: dining with doc
                chicken kabob Sep 3, 2010 04:10 PM

                where exactly is Cornucopia located???

                1. re: chicken kabob
                  rarotonga Sep 3, 2010 04:56 PM

                  It's at the far end of Norfolk Ave, like near Tia Queta etc; search tells me it's at 8102 Norfolk Ave.

                  I never have time to get all the way over there at lunch any more; must do something about that because the sandwiches and cookies are wonderful.

                  Tia Queta Restaurant
                  4839 Del Ray Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

                  1. re: rarotonga
                    chicken kabob Sep 3, 2010 05:35 PM

                    thanks, raratonga. by the way, i had the worst meal at tia queta. i will have to try cornucopia!

                    1. re: chicken kabob
                      dining with doc Sep 4, 2010 06:17 AM

                      try the mortadella with arugula and balsalmic sandwich as well as the prosciutto ham with arugula, buffalo mozzarella and balsalmic as well.
                      everything they sell and make is high quality plus the prischuiti ham is so good there. They also have some wonder baked items and danishes
                      they also sell home made pastas and a lot of varieties of ravioli, olives, italian cheeses etc so you may want to bring a cooler

                      1. re: chicken kabob
                        rarotonga Sep 4, 2010 04:08 PM

                        That's sad! I used to like their chicken mole in the 80s, but that was a long time ago.... I haven't been there since about 2000; was just using it as a landmark since I can't remember what else is over there these days.

                        1. re: chicken kabob
                          Pool Boy Sep 7, 2010 07:24 AM

                          Well dang. Whenever I go to Tia Queta, I just go for tacos, and they have not let me down. Not the best I have had, but always decent, and sometimes up to very good.

                          Tia Queta Restaurant
                          4839 Del Ray Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

              2. t
                Teddybear Sep 2, 2010 01:19 PM

                La Paneterria on Cordell is basic and good; Sorrento's across the street is also fine --

                1. woodleyparkhound Sep 1, 2010 07:32 PM

                  I would discourage you from Olazzo. It's inexpensive, but very mediocre, in my view. I have only had white pizza at Pines of Rome; it was so-so. I wouldn't go back there - but it was packed with the blue hair crowd when I visited. I love Mia's Pizza; if pizza is what you are after, do check it out. Dino's (Cleveland Park) is excellent - worth a 15 min. Metro ride each way. I have not been to Assagi Mozzerella but have read good things. If you must stay in Bethesda and eat Italian, I'd go there.

                  7921 Norfolk Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

                  Pines of Rome
                  4709 Hampden Ln, Bethesda, MD 20814

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: woodleyparkhound
                    nickdanger Sep 2, 2010 12:04 PM

                    Assagi has not had very good reviews, and it's not inexpensive by any means.

                  2. d
                    dining with doc Sep 1, 2010 04:53 PM

                    Pines of Rome- old school italian
                    Tragara: expensive italian
                    Assagi Mozzarella Bar: bistro new school italian
                    Mia's: adult wood burning stove pizza
                    Poisitano: old school italian

                    4935 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814

                    Pines of Rome
                    4709 Hampden Ln, Bethesda, MD 20814

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: dining with doc
                      Pool Boy Sep 3, 2010 06:28 AM

                      I would steer clear of Positano's at all costs. It's average at best.

                      Assaggi's not bad, but pricey for what it is and what you get.

                      Anyone been to Cesco of late?

                      1. re: Pool Boy
                        nickdanger Sep 3, 2010 06:50 AM

                        Cesco, alas, is gone.

                        1. re: nickdanger
                          Chocolatechipkt Sep 11, 2010 08:57 PM

                          It is? Looked fine when I walked by a few hours ago ...

                          1. re: nickdanger
                            Pool Boy Sep 13, 2010 06:21 AM

                            I assumed it was open, since the signage is still there, but I had not looked in the place in years. Ah well.

                      2. c
                        chicken kabob Sep 1, 2010 04:51 PM

                        it just came to me (via google search). it is called Assagi Mozerella bar and restaurant. a REALLY good italian restaurant is a few metro stops away from bethesda at the cleveland park metro. it is les than a 15 minute trip. it is called Dino.

                        1. c
                          chicken kabob Sep 1, 2010 04:48 PM

                          i cannot think of exceptional italian food in bethesda. although some may disagree, i happen to really like OLAZZO for red-sauce italian (especially their linguine with white clam sauce & penne with delicious, huge meatballs. there is a restaurant called Pines Of Rome, but i think it is very mediocre. Mia's for gourmet, wood-fired pizza is good. and there is a new place on bethesda ave, but i have never been. i have heard mixed things about it. i forget the name. maybe someone else can help me out. other good food options in bethesda-not italian-if you are interested. have fun.

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