100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Al Dente

Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Drama-plagued chef Roberto Donna may struggle with debt and
angry ex-employees from his former restaurants Galileo and Galileo III,
but at this tangerine-accented trattoria near American University, he
captures the soul of his native Italy with such dishes
aslasagnette mingling tomato sauce and creamy béchamel and
perfect gnocchi in fontina and cream. Pizza is getting there—the
egg-topped Uovo has a satisfying, spongy crust—but the pastas steal the
show. Donna’s pedigree is showcased most strongly in the speciali di
chef
section of the menu, featuring seasonally changing appetizers,
entrées, and pastas.

Don’t miss: Fried zucchini flowers;
Margherita pizza; pappardelle with wild-boar ragu; calamarata
pasta with squid, mussels, and clams; bombolini (tiny doughnuts).

Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner,
Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.
Moderate.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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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.