In Washington, DC, there is no lack of excellent Italian eateries. These restaurants provide a broad range of cuisines, some of which are the inventions of local Italian chefs, while others adapt the finest features of Italian culture to American tastes.
Although some restaurants experiment with novel platters and unusual combinations, others take delight in utilizing fresh ingredients to produce simple but tasty meals.
This list of the best Italian restaurants in Washington, DC contains a variety of options, whether you’re looking for a casual pizza shop, a quiet spot to eat pasta drenched in classic red sauce, or a luxury white-tablecloth venue to commemorate a special event.
- 1 The Top 10 Italian Restaurants in Washington, D.C.
- 2 A List of the Top Italian Restaurants in Washington, D.C.
The Top 10 Italian Restaurants in Washington, D.C.
+120233888001063 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007, US
Filomena has been serving genuine, traditional Italian food in the heart of Georgetown for over four decades.
As soon as you pass the petite Italian lady preparing homemade pasta in the front window and enter the warm dining space designed to appear like your grandmother’s house, you know you’re in for a fantastic lunch.
Start with their arancini rice balls, which are identical to those found in Italy and are loaded with Bolognese sauce, peas, and mozzarella.
Pick from broccoli con gnocchi, gnocchi della mama with red sauce, or their authentic lasagna. As your main course, you might choose the Tortellini Di Michele, a ravioli loaded with tender beef brisket cooked in wine and vegetables and then topped in a delightfully creamy sauce.
It’s also worth trying everything on the menu with their creamy Cardinale lobster sauce or their creamy vodka Sunday sauce.
Make reservations in advance (especially on weekends and holidays), split entrees if feasible, or plan on having leftovers since their portions are gigantic, and save space for their excellent desserts.
If you want to celebrate with loved ones while also enjoying one of the greatest Italian meals in Washington, Filomena is the place to go.
+12022044480650 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
This exquisite Italian restaurant in Mount Vernon is the place to go for a wonderful evening out.
The service was superb, as one would expect from a high-end restaurant, and the eating space is beautiful and modern.
What about the food? Wow. The bread should be the first thing you purchase since their rosemary focaccia and truffled garlic bread are both delicious.
Since the meatballs are delicate, tender, and delicious, they make an excellent appetizer to share. In addition, we loved their improved pancetta-topped spaghetti carbonara, which is thick and wonderful and is produced at your table.
The lobster ravioli is as gorgeous as it is delicious. The short rib ragu, which tastes like it has been simmering for days, is also used to create pappardelle Bolognese.
Lastly, if you’re celebrating, the Torta Meringata, a little cake topped with salted caramel and vanilla gelato and flamed at the table, is a must-order dessert. It really is a show-stopping piece.
RPM may be pricy depending on what you eat, but I feel the ambience and cuisine are unparalleled for a fantastic night out. It’s one of the greatest Italian restaurants in Washington, in my opinion.
+120262810991099 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Sfoglina, the Italian maestro of pasta making, is famed for rolling pasta sheets by hand with a rolling pin.
Clearly, as the name implies, the handmade pasta is what brings you here, and there is a wide selection to choose from.
My favorite meal is the Amalfi-style Squid Ink Paccheri with Maine lobster and chilies. In Fabios Ravioli San Leo, goat cheese, lemon zest, and fresh herbs are season favorites.
Pappardelle, a typical pasta with ragu Bolognese and Grana Padano, is their most well-known meal.
The fittingly called Sugar Rush menu includes the Piemontese Chocolate Gianduja Cakea piece of chocolate hazelnut heavenand other beautiful and unusual treats.
Sfoglina, one of the best Italian restaurants in Washington, has three locations for your convenience.
Green Lupo Verde
+120282747521401 T Street NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Lupo Verde gives classic Italian food a modern, rustic twist in Washington, DC. The restaurant has exposed brick and beams, a large fifteen-seat bar with marble tops and Italian tiled tiling, and a sophisticated but comfortable atmosphere.
Lupo Verde is all about urban interpretations of rural life, as opposed to other restaurants that try to transport customers back to the piazza or into grandma’s dining room.
The restaurant’s tastiest dishes are served on tiny plates, and an Italian breakfast menu is available on weekends. Handcrafted vermouths, speciality cocktails, and liqueurs are also available at the bar.
Our first entrée was an amazing charcuterie and cheese platter. The spaghetti was delicious. My companion ordered the fusilli, and I had the short rib ravioli. Both were well prepared and seasoned.
After the dinner, the waiter presented us with a gorgeous slice of tiramisu, which was fantastic; well-flavored and totally moist without being soggy, as I’ve experienced in other versions elsewhere. The atmosphere was charming, with just the right amount of sophistication for a casual evening. That is an absolute must-try!
+120260813301340 4th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
Masseria is nestled away amid the wholesale merchants of Union Market. You could miss it if you don’t know what you’re searching for.
Once within the wooden gate, the warehouse-like ambience fades away, giving way to a lovely courtyard leading to an industrial-chic-covered patio and dining area.
For both the interior design and the meal, Chef Nicholas Stefanelli was inspired by Puglia’s welcoming rural cottages and gorgeous scenery.
Masseria, like many other Italian restaurants in the nation’s capital, is the product of the chef’s early introduction to Italian food. Chef Nicholas Stefanelli has introduced the best of Puglia cuisine to Masseria’s distinctive Union Market setting because of his family origins in the area.
We started with a fantastic platter of mini-appetizers that featured an amazing veal tartare and a chickpea bombolino that was cooked to a delicate perfection inside with melted cheese, Parmesan sprinkles, and a green dill sauce.
That was followed by a pistachio-covered foie gras cylinder and superb, gently smoked sweetbread. Both were idyllic!
The Sicilian filled pasta with a delicate pesto sauce was delicious, but the meat was much too salty. The dessert, however, was exquisite, with creamy chocolate mousse and tiramisu gelato topped with dollops of whipped mascarpone froth. Excellent restaurant; I wholeheartedly recommend it!
+120233744441065 31st Street NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
Il Canale, one of Washington, DC’s best Italian restaurants, is named after the neighboring Georgetown canal. Everyone is welcomed and made to feel at ease at the Sicilian family restaurant. Authenticity is stressed here, and it shows.
They utilize only Italian 00 wheat, which is necessary for making Neapolitan pizzas, and their wood-fired oven was brought from Naples. We were head over heels in love with their imported Buffalo mozzarella-topped Margherita pizza.
Every day, they also produce delicious fresh pasta. Scialatielli Allo Scoglio is made with fresh handmade pasta and shellfish in a cherry tomato sauce with white wine, garlic, and crushed red peppers.
Il Canale is one of the best Italian restaurants in Washington, DC, because to its convenient location, reasonable rates, and delicious food. Try it!
Pizza for Every Purpose
+120284961741250 9th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
+1202629189479 Potomac Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003, US
All-Purpose, one of the best Italian restaurants in Washington, has two wonderful locations. The original site is in Shaw, a fantastic central DC neighborhood, and the Navy Yard location offers a nice terrace with views of the Anacostia River.
We were blown away by their continuously changing menu. A variety of appetizers are available, including garlic knots, asparagus Alla Romana (with gorgonzola fonduta, cured egg yolks, and Parmesan), and crispy calamari fritto.
But it was the pizza that drew us in. Its pizza has a powerful, crunchy, chewy dough that is just a little sweet, and it was influenced by both Rome and New Jersey. The dough is precisely prepared by fermenting it for three days before cooking it at 650 degrees.
Buona is a pizza with pepperoni, Calabrian honey, and fresh basil that you must order. You may also try the Casanova, which has mozzarella, marinated artichokes, garlicky spinach, Calabrian peppers, and lemons.
You will not be disappointed if you visit this fantastic Italian restaurant! This is the spot to go for pizza in Washington. Believe me!
+120274752220120 Maine Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA
Officina is a culinary collaboration formed by Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli. Several of their meals change with the seasons, but I always like their unique and delectable seasonal salads.
Despite their superb hand-made pasta, my favorite dish is their entire branzino, which is always cooked to perfection and served in a stylish manner.
If the pork chop is available, I highly recommend getting it. Finally, towards the conclusion of your dinner, try one of their cannolis. These are incredible!
Officina is not just one of the greatest Italian restaurants in Washington, DC, but it is also my favorite Waterfront restaurant. I like sitting in the caf on the first level or on the balcony on the second story to people-watch and watch the sunset. It’s a fantastic place and a hidden treasure among DC’s Italian eateries.
The Hen of the Red Hen
1st St. NW, Washington, DC 20001, United States +120252530211822
The Red Hen in the Bloomingdale District is without a doubt one of the best Italian restaurants in Washington, DC.
The eating space is warm and inviting, as though you’ve stepped into a friend’s quaint cottage. Because of the open kitchen, you may be able to view Chef Mike Friedman at work at the wood-burning grill.
Begin with one of their four distinct toasts, my personal favorite being the whipped ricotta crostini with wildflower honey, sea salt, and black truffle sauce. It’s difficult to choose just one antipasto since they’re all so good!
I propose the wood-fired Spanish octopus with fried new potatoes, pine nut salsa verde, and a Calabrian chili vinaigrette to drink before the plate is removed from the table.
Insiders know to order the off-menu cacio e pepe, which is the definition of comfort food and will transport you to the streets of Rome.
Regardless matter how full you are after your dinner, you must get the olive oil cake. I’ve never had such attentive service in DC as I did at The Red Hen.
If you want to dine here, I recommend making reservations at least a month in advance. So, instead of waiting for a table, go on the waitlist or come early to reserve a space at the bar. Among the Italian restaurants in Washington, it is a must-try.
+12024840660301 Water Street SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
Osteria Morini, one of DC’s best Italian restaurants, delivers delicious food inspired by the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. Its magnificent and well-lit dining space has floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Anacostia Riverfront at Navy Yards.
I recommend starting with a couple of their imported Italian cheeses and cured meats, which are served on a board with freshly grilled bread. Instead, order their burrata with onions, snap peas, and pistachio pesto.
Since all of their pasta is made from scratch, there is simply no incorrect option (even their spaghetti Pomodoro is memorable).
With one bite, their branzino will take you to the Mediterranean coast. Over a wood-fired barbecue, the meat and fish are properly cooked. Then, for the perfect dinner, get the tiramisu.
If you want a unique Italian lunch, I strongly advise you to visit this place! It is one of the top Italian restaurants in Washington, DC.
A List of the Top Italian Restaurants in Washington, D.C.
There’s something fulfilling and comfortable about Italian cuisine, whether you desire a solid dinner of pasta, the crunch of excellent wood or coal-fired pizza dough, or a salty bite of fat-marbled prosciutto in an Italian sub.
Yet if you know where to look, Washington is plenty with fantastic alternatives to quench your appetite. They offer everything from cozy and inexpensive neighborhood hidden gems to swankier, higher-end options.
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