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Casual Italian restaurant DC

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My family and I are travelling to DC from Australia over the holiday season and will be staying near Dupont Circle. We love casual Italian food - any recommendations? My wife and I have 3 teenage daughters and would also greatly appreciate any other recommendations for our 4 night visit - we will eat out each night. Many thanks for any advice.

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  1. "Casual Italian restaurant" screams Dino to me. It is located very close to the Cleveland Park Metro stop on the red line - 2 stops up from Dupont Circle. Great Italian food at reasonable prices and the best wine list in town.

    1. For casual Italian go to Dino in Cleveland Park (only a few metro stops from Dupont).

      In Dupont itself is Sette Osteria which is also pretty good (although Dino is much better).

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      Sette Osteria
      1666 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

      1. Thank you very much for these recommendations - would you have any other restaurant suggestions around Dupont Circle - my family and I will be staying at Hotel Palomar - walking distance would be great.TIA

        2 Replies
        1. re: tony_brisbane

          What is your budget? Komi is one of the very best restaurants in the area and is at Dupont Circle. It may well be outside your budget though - and getting a reservation is essential. Hank's Oyster Bar gets a lot of positive comments on the board (I have yet to go). BGR does a good burger - not the best in town, but it's up there. I don't really care for the burger at Rogue States (the bun is weirdly sweet to me) but others do. I had a great laksa at Singapore Bistro. Teaism has these amazing salty oat cookies that shouldn't be missed (both the plain and the chocolate are divine). The upstairs at Teaism is a very pleasant space to have tea/dessert. Their food is good as well - not fabulous, but good. Zorba has good Greek food in a very casual atmosphere. I like TangySweet for frozen yogurt and Dolcezza has the best gelato in town IMHO (try the lemon ricotta cardamom, which doesn't taste of cardamom at all). Oh, and finally, Pizzeria Paradiso (near TangySweet) is one of the better pizza places in town; I like the Atomica.

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          Teaism
          2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

          Komi
          1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

          Zorba's Cafe
          1612 20th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

          Hank's Oyster Bar
          1026 King St Ste 1, Alexandria, VA 22314

          Singapore Bistro
          1134 19th St NW, Washington, DC 20036

          1. re: tony_brisbane

            If Komi is within your budget definitely make a reservation. It's the best restaurant in DC...and just happens to be in Dupont Circle.

            Other places you might want to check out: Pizzeria Paradisio (pizza), Bistro du Coin (french bistro), Hank's Oyster Bar (New England-style seafood), Heritage (Indian), and Tabard Inn (American).

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            Komi
            1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

            Tabard Inn
            1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

            Hank's Oyster Bar
            1026 King St Ste 1, Alexandria, VA 22314

          2. Don't forget that the Hotel Palomar has Urbana attached to it. I have never eaten there, but I generally enjoy restaurants attached to Kimpton Hotels. Also, the food at Urbana better be good because my wedding is at the Hotel Palomar!

            Anyhoo - don't limit yourself to Dupont Circle which I often feel has some boring restaurants. For casual, Teaism is great for light food. I also really enjoy Sweet Green's salads. I know, ridiculous, but I do. If you are willing to travel, definitely try to get a reservation at Rasika for Indian and if you want upper scale Italian, Bibiana. Love both. In Cleveland Park, Dino is great, but I also always enjoy Spices for asian food that pleases lots of different tastes. There is also the cafe at Palena which is worth going to, but earlier in the day or mid-week if you can.

            Edited to include...: With three teenaged daughters, definitely take them to brunch at Co Co Sala. Really - it's best meal (in my opinion) is brunch and what group of girls doesn't like a chocolate themed restaurant? I highly recommend that for brunch (they do both saturday and sunday) or if you can't do that, then the price-fixed lunch during the week.

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            Palena
            3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

            Rasika Restaurant
            633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

            Teaism
            2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

            Bibiana
            1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

            1. Given your location and restaurant requirements, I'd go with Pizza Paradiso. But expect a long wait at peak times.

              Was not at all impressed with the food at Dino (and I dropped about $175 for two) - if you wanted to leave the area, maybe think about Carmine's on 7th St or maybe Tosca. I've heard good things about Al Tiramisu also, but it's not casual.

              1. For Italian I really liked Bibiana when I went twice several months ago. Read more about it in this recent post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7337.... It might be a bit pricey and higher end though for your request. Potenza is also great and really might fit the bill with your teenagers since it's more casual and a more moderate price point.

                Oh, and regarding the suggestion of Komi, I do agree that it's one of DC's best restaurants, but unless your daughters are adventurous eaters, or if you're willing to let them do their own thing one night while you and your wife enjoy a delicious dinner out, it's probably not your best bet for this trip. Plus I think they don't take reservations for parties of more than 4 people.

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                Komi
                1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

                Potenza
                1430 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                Bibiana
                1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                1. Famous Luigi's is just south of Dupont and has been in DC since the 1940s. Service can be spotty, but if you stick with pizza or spaghetti and meatballs, you can do a lot worse.