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Mar 6, 2011 12:36 PM

Casual Italian In or Near Rosslyn (and Thanks)

Seems like I'm traveling to the DC area (from MSP) a lot lately. First, thank you to this board again for leading me to Makoto a couple weeks ago. I also owe you all a "thanks in advance" as I plan on heading straight from the airport to Queen Makeda on Wednesday after narrowing down my Ethiopian choices based on the discussions here.

I'm looking for a low-key spot for Italian on Thursday night with a coworker (or of four, tops) in or near Rosslyn.

Ideal is fresher ingredients, not crazy crowded, mid-range price, cooks who care about the food, and trending away from heavier/red sauce-style. Actually, as a fan of Neapolitan pizza, Pupatella would be my #1 choice. I'm planting the seed. But the folks I'm with may want more of a sit-down experience.

I'd be open to cuisine outside of Italian, but it would have to be an easy sell with non-Chowhounds. Also potentially one vegetarian in the crowd (another plus for Pupatella in my mind).

Have a great week.

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  1. How about Jaleo (Spanish tapas) in Crystal City? Great food and nothing too crazy; excellent vegetarian choices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: woodleyparkhound

      I've actually been to Jaleo (downtown) and liked it. I'm not sure these guys will be interested in driving that far (and I know it's not even that far). They're more the "let's just eat at (insert blah joint) down the street". Me, on the other hand...I'll drive clear across DC if I hear about a great tamale being sold by an old lady out of her rolling cooler.

      Maybe they'll prove me wrong. Either way, I appreciate the recommendation.

    2. Easy, easy walking distance from Rosslyn there is il Radicchio on Clarendon Blvd (can't remember the cross street, but it's across from a gas station). Not the best Italian I've ever had, but decent. I recall liking their pizzas more than their pastas.

      If you're willing to walk up Clarendon Blvd (or take the orange line metro to the next stop- Courthouse), there is a new wood-fired pizza place- Fireworks (cross street in N. Adams). I've been very, very impressed by their pizza as well as their sandwiches (loved their grilled cheese- great bread and it comes with an awesome tomato jam on the side). Plus, it looks like they have a really good beer selection.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mjhals

        Thanks mj...I'll take a look at the menus, etc. I walked by an Italian place last week while heading to Ray's Hell Burgers (which I thought was OK, but the bun was horrible). I wonder if it was Il Radicchio.

        1. re: MSPD

          It was more likely Listriano's. Il Radicchio is on Clarendon Blvd, which is roughly parallel to Wilson Blvd, at Rhodes St. If you were walking from Rosslyn, turn left at the Rhodeside Grill, go a short block to the next street (Clarendon Blvd) and Il Radicchio is on that corner.

          Not sure if either Listriano's or Il Radicchio was worth typing the directions but feel free to try 'em.

          Rhodeside Grill
          1836 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

          Il Radicchio
          1801 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

      2. MSPD -- There was a rumor that Queen Makeda may no longer be an Ethiopian restaurant, or something -- I haven't checked this myself: BUT, it's right across the street from Etete, and near lots of other places, so probably still worth heading over there to see, just thought you might appreciate the heads-up.

        1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        Queen Makeda
        1917 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        1 Reply
        1. re: mselectra

          Well that stinks, but I do appreciate the heads-up. I'll have to look over the others....maybe I'll let my nose decide when I get over there.

        2. Although the menu is eclectic, there are some Italian specialties at the Village Bistro, a restaurant in the same strip mall as Ray's Hell Burger. I do see a lot of small groups in there and the menu is broad enough to please almost everyone.

          Ray's Hell Burger
          1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

          Village Bistro
          1723 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

          1 Reply
          1. re: BookGuy

            I think Village Bistro is wonderful--wide range of dishes, always consistent. My friend who *only* eats pasta dishes at restaurants (weird) is always able to find something to enjoy there. It's low-key compared to many of the places around there, but it's not cheap, cheap.

            Village Bistro
            1723 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

          2. Another choice although not Italian at all might be Guajillo, Mexican is pretty generally acceptable, and they have some safe and more exciting options.

            You may have seen Piola, which is a European chain, I have never been, but seems like it would be decent for pastas/pizzas.

            1550 Wilson Blvd Lbby 2, Arlington, VA 22209

            1 Reply
            1. re: ktmoomau

              I love the pizza at Piola's. The cheese is delicious and the crust is good too. I usually get the Greca, which is pizza with kalamata olives. My husband likes the Honolulu, which is ham and pineapple, but I'm not a fan of that sort of adulteration.

              1550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209