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Italian in Bethesda Md - need help

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.


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  1. 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.

    1. 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. 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

          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: nickdanger

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

              1. re: nickdanger

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

          1. 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

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

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

              1. 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

                  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

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

                      1. re: chicken kabob

                        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

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

                          1. re: chicken kabob

                            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

                              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

                                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

                    1. 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

                        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. 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

                          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

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

                            1. re: Doh

                              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. 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

                            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.