100 Best Restaurants 2010: 2 Amys

No. 28: 2 Amys

Cuisine: Its reputation was built on wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, but the kitchen’s small-plate specials—which can include a fry plate of batter-dipped sardines and lemon slices—have come to overshadow the pies. Chef/owner Peter Pastan and his crew scour the markets for the best each season has to offer for their ever-changing list of specials. The one constant: intensity of flavor.

Mood: The cramped main dining area can be noisy, but it’s a good option for families with youngsters and for those who enjoy a charged atmosphere. For anyone who doesn’t, the cozier back bar and the quieter upstairs offer a more relaxed experience.

Best for: All those who claim the Washington area lacks simple, authentic Italian trattoria fare at reasonable prices.

Best dishes: Seasonal specials of late have included a Romanesco cauliflower deepened by anchovy, sweet garlic, and a touch of hot pepper; plump, tart sardines that taste of the sea; and an exceptional eggplant Parmesan. Among regular menu items: the Vongole pizza topped with cockles in the shell; the simple Margherita pizza with tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil; superb house-made sorbets and ice creams.

Insider tips: Late Saturday and Sunday mornings bring house-made doughnuts as well as freshly baked onion-topped bialys and plain bagels served with cured salmon, house-made cream cheese, and red onion.

Service: ••

Open Monday for dinner, Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Moderate.

See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.