January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants
Ambitious Italian cooking without pretension.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published January 24, 2007
A La Lucia
Address: 315 Madison St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-836-5123
Neighborhood: Alexandria, Alexandria, Old Town
Cuisines: Italian
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday 11:30 to 2:30 and 5 to 9:30, Friday 11:30 to 2:30 and 5 to 10, and Sunday 4 to 9.
Nearby Metro Stops: King St., Braddock Road
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Business Attire
Noise Level: N/A
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Mozzarella and tomato salad; lentil soup; white bean soup; calamari with red pepper and celery; veal canneloni; malfadini; veal stew with polenta; veal paillard; double-cut pork chops; panini.
Price Details: Appetizers $4.95 to $8.95, entrées $10.95 to $26.99.

No. 79: A la Lucia

You can make the case that the area doesn’t have many real Italian restaurants, that most are too fancy-dancy for a simple weeknight dinner. Or you can head to this Alexandria restaurant, which is plenty good enough to satisfy your red-sauce and Chianti cravings—and without busting the budget.

Don’t come here looking for carpaccio, agnolotti, and whole grilled fishes—northern-Italian staples that are all lightness. This kitchen dishes up the cooking of southern Italy, and the best plates have an earthy heartiness that is all the more winning for being so unfashionable in this age of Italian micro-regionality: rustic soups (including lentil and white bean); a superb cannelloni stuffed with ground veal; thick, ruffled malfadine sauced with a rich veal ragu; and veal stew with soupy, cheesy polenta.

All go down easily, especially with a bottle of wine from the affordable list, which is strong on Chiantis and Aglianicos and is put together by owner Michael Nayeri, who also runs the wine shop next door.

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Posted at 11:53 AM/ET, 01/24/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews