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Great Itlaian in DC?

Bart Hound Mar 23, 2011 03:49 PM

I tired to ask this in the Post chat today, but it didn't get answered.

I'm looking for a suggestion for a great Italian place in DC. No limit on price, just looking for a great place for a great dinner.


  1. woodleyparkhound Mar 23, 2011 04:19 PM

    Check out Obelisk in Dupont Circle.

    1. j
      Just Visiting Mar 23, 2011 04:22 PM

      What kind of Italian? Northern? Southern? Traditional checkered-table-cloth and candles in raffia-covered Chianti bottles? High concept?

      8 Replies
      1. re: Just Visiting
        Bart Hound Mar 23, 2011 04:58 PM

        Probably leaning toward a higher end experience. It's a birthday celebration. And quite honestly, I don't know enough about it to pick Northern vs. Southern. That's one of the reasons I wanted to do Italian, because for whatever reason, my wife and I never eat out at Italian places, so I'm a bit of a novice in that regard, but I want to do it right!

        1. re: Bart Hound
          ktmoomau Mar 23, 2011 05:03 PM

          Obelisk, Tosca, Galileo and Bibiana all would be good. Perhaps check out the menu on each and see what fits your fancy. They are all a higher experience in terms of Italian.

          1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

          1. re: ktmoomau
            dining with doc Mar 24, 2011 06:01 PM

            what about Cafe Milano in georgetown?

            Cafe Milano
            3251 Prospect St NW, Washington, DC 20007

            1. re: dining with doc
              woodleyparkhound Mar 24, 2011 08:40 PM

              I've only been once but thought it was WAY overpriced for what it was. It seemed much more like a place to see and be seen than as a place for high quality Italian food.

              1. re: woodleyparkhound
                hill food Mar 24, 2011 10:33 PM

                but that has always been Milano's rep and mystique, no?

              2. re: dining with doc
                Steve Mar 25, 2011 07:10 AM

                Like many restaurants, Cafe Milano has its highs and lows, but you will pay through the nose regardless. On this score, the highs at Bibiana or Siroc are every bit as good with gentler prices and friendlier service. Both of those places are game-changers for meticulous Italian food, because it used to be you had to pay exorbitant prices for that kind of quality.

                1. re: dining with doc
                  Elyssa Mar 25, 2011 07:55 AM

                  If your goal is to end up in the gossip section and you are movie star, than go to Cafe Milano. If your goal is to eat good Italian cuisine, go elsewhere.

                  Cafe Milano
                  3251 Prospect St NW, Washington, DC 20007

              3. re: Bart Hound
                Just Visiting Mar 24, 2011 04:06 AM

                I don't know if you want to try Alexandria, but A La Lucia always gets good write-ups on donrockwell.com:


                A La Lucia
                315 Madison St, Alexandria, VA 22314

            2. Pool Boy Mar 24, 2011 06:36 AM

              Obelisk is wonderful and decidedly understated and almost casual, but the food is superb.

              Tosca is great and the service level and a space are more formal and a couple of notches higher than at Obelisk, but they really are going for two different feels.

              You cannot go wrong with either place.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Pool Boy
                Elyssa Mar 24, 2011 07:57 AM

                I must be the only person on this board that wasn't 100% wowed by Obelisk. Went with my boyfriend a year or so ago for our anniversary. The pasta course was out of this world---really spectacular. The mezze (or random appetizers) in the beginning were mostly good. The entrees on the other hand were so much weaker than the pasta dishes we wish we had just been able to get double pasta.

                But more importantly our service was weird and far from friendly. She didn't explain the various appetizers until I basically begged her to and then the descriptions were lackluster and quick. We clearly were 2 people engaged in the dining experience and like to talk about food she didn't just not take the bait, she seemed annoyed by us.

                For that type of money I would rather go elsewhere. It wasn't that the meal was bad, it just wasn't as spectacular as everyone made it seem.

              2. e
                Elyssa Mar 24, 2011 07:54 AM

                My favorite Italian restaurant at the moment is Bibiana. I'm a little obsessed with this place...I just think the cooking is so solid.

                1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                2 Replies
                1. re: Elyssa
                  Bob W Mar 25, 2011 10:00 AM

                  I took one of my brothers to Bibiana on a recent visit -- he was very impressed. (As was I.) I've taken my other brother to Siroc -- he liked that a lot too (as do I). They both live in NY (and we grew up in RI), so they know a little about Italian food.

                  We hate to waste meals so I am pleased to report that in general they have enjoyed the places I have taken them to in DC (others include Brasserie Beck, Adour, Zaytinya, and Equinox). One brother just had a business lunch at Nage and gave it a thumbs-up as well.

                  Brasserie Beck
                  1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                  701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                  Nage Restaurant
                  1600 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036

                  Siroc Restaurant
                  915 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                  1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                  1. re: Bob W
                    Elyssa Mar 25, 2011 10:52 AM

                    I really like Siroc as well. Both are solid Italian restaurants that are priced just right for my budget.

                    Siroc Restaurant
                    915 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                2. l
                  link_930 Mar 24, 2011 08:04 AM

                  Landini's is my favorite in the area for exquisitely executed simple Tuscan fare. It's in Old Town Alexandria, though, and runs the gamut from jeans casual to sports coat.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: link_930
                    VaPaula Mar 24, 2011 10:42 AM

                    First, go to New York City. Kidding, just kidding. It doesn't fit "higher end" but since the OP said he was only leaning towards that, I'll throw out a rustic option with Dino's. I liked the casual, lively atmosphere; the service started out slow, but was fine by the time we got appetizers; and the food was pretty good.

                    We did Cafe Milano for Restaurant Week (why do I keep partaking in RWs?) and it didn't wow me at all.

                    1. re: VaPaula
                      link_930 Mar 25, 2011 06:50 AM

                      I go to NYC pretty frequently... By "in the area" I meant the DMV. Went to Dino's once, but it wasn't anything special.

                  2. s
                    Steve Mar 24, 2011 01:43 PM

                    Go to Bibiana and get the carciofi alla guidia, the agnolotti, and the marubini.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Steve
                      marcj Mar 24, 2011 05:17 PM

                      Enthusiastic second on Bibiana's agnolotti--the best Italian dish I've had in DC.

                      1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                    2. a
                      av8r Mar 24, 2011 08:57 PM

                      Haven't been there recently, but I've been a fan of La Strada (in Alexandria's Del Rey neighborhood) since discovering it shortly after they opened. I've always enjoyed whatever I've ordered, and generally have felt the quality of the service was comparable to the quality of the food.

                      La Strada
                      1905 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301

                      1. b
                        Bart Hound Mar 25, 2011 04:32 PM

                        Thanks for all the suggestions folks. Bibiana got the nod. I've been looking at that place for a while now and based on previous comments in here and the ones in this thread, I decided to pull the trigger.

                        It's funny that Cafe Milano got some mentions. That's about the only Italian place of, ahem, stature, that my wife and I have been to, but it was about 100 years ago and I barely remember any of it.

                        Thanks again!

                        Cafe Milano
                        3251 Prospect St NW, Washington, DC 20007

                        1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                        1. l
                          lilkimbo Mar 30, 2011 08:25 AM

                          I am way behind and it looks like you've already made your pick, but just to give you another option for next time you want Italian, I love Acqua al 2 near Eastern Market. The Balsamic Filet and Blueberry Filet (don't knock it until you've tried it) are both excellent, as is the pasta sampler.

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