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Nov 1, 2013 01:21 PM

classic red sauce joint

hey all! i am a recent DC implant from Queens, NY and I'm looking for a down-home red sauce Italian joint. lots of the italian restaurants mentioned here are a little more upscale/chic than what I crave. I want to find a place with some reliable pastas (vodka sauce, brown sauce with broccoli, red sauce, baked pastas, etc) salads, and classic entrees on the menu.
I tried Sorisso the other day, and that was kind of (but not exactly) what I have in mind. any other recommendations?
thanks for the help!

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  1. In Bethesda,La Panetteria on Cordell was always a good value -- haven't been there in a while though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Teddybear

      Olazzo is another possibility in Bethesda.

    2. Baltimore.

      in the District Trattoria Alberto is hit or miss and frankly I don't know how they stay open, but they are definitely old-school and not upscale/chic.

      6 Replies
      1. re: hill food

        The only thing reliable and consistent about Alberto's is it's mediocrity. Bistro Italiano near Union Station isn't much better, but at least it isn't ridiculously overpriced. Lavagna isn't super-plus-most-authenticist, but their pasta is fresh and they know what al dent means. Famous Luigis has the red check tablecloth vibe nailed, but they're a love it or hate it kinda place and they've been around forever. Wait staff can be notoriously surly, but they do a good lasagna.

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          mediocrity. Alberto's must own the building outright.

          I did have a really good veal piccata there once. the rest I've sort of blocked. I miss that short-lived place on Penn at 7th where the Turkish place was (also missed) - the names escape me.

        2. re: hill food

          I can't remember the last decent Italian meal I had in Little Italy in Baltimore. Greektown seems to offer the most consistent Italian food at reasonable prices. Zorba's, Samos, etc.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            Sad, isn't it? You can get better Italian food at any strip mall in Port St. Lucie, FL than Baltimore's Little Italy. We had a private dinner at DiMimmo's a few weeks ago and I couldn't believe how downright sorry the food was. I've had decent meals there in the past, so I was sort of looking forward to it. No more.

            1. re: flavrmeistr

              Da Mimmo's hasn't been good this century, if not longer. La Scala and La Tavola are both decent, but I still prefer the Italian in Greektown. The only time I go to Little Italy is when I want pastries and coffee at Vaccaros.

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                You might be right, now that I think about it.

          1. The stuff you're looking for is pretty much priced out downtown. If you've got wheels, check out Italian Inn in Landover Hills. It's an Italian American time capsule from 1961. The pastas are hit or miss, but they've got good lasagna and Ledo's style thin crust pizzas. Can't miss the place. It's got a giant Italian head on top.


            1. Maybe check out Filomena in Georgetown. It might not be at the level of the Italian joints in Queens but I think it's pretty good. Their pasta is made fresh in-house (you can actually see the pasta mamas making the gnocchi in the window when you walk in) and the portions are huge! My favorite is the raviolis (mushroom or spinach are good) or the gnocchi.