Details

Olazzo - Bethesda

7921 Norfolk Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814

301-654-9496

Neighborhood: Bethesda/Glen Echo

Cuisines: Italian

Opening Hours:
Open Monday through Friday for lunch 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. Open Monday through Thursday for dinner 5 PM to 9:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 5 PM to 10:30 PM. Open Sunday 11:30 AM to 9 PM.

Nearby Metro Stops: Bethesda

Price Range: Inexpensive

Dress: Informal

Noise Level: Chatty

Reservations: Not Needed

Website: http://www.olazzo.com/bethesda.html

Best Dishes:
Fried calamari; spaghetti with meatballs; lasagna with Bolognese sauce; chicken cardinale; chicken Milanese; cannoli; sausage and peppers with linguine; eggplant parmigiana; penne with meatballs.

Price Details:
Appetizers, $6 to $8; entrees, $11 to $16.

Olazzo

This snug Italian-American joint is a real find.

June 2006 Cheap Eats

This red-sauce trattoria has wit and style--and the feel of Little Italy. Much of the food tastes like it came from the kitchen of an Italian nona, and no wonder: The two thirtysomething brothers who run the place--one cooks, the other manages--copped recipes from their own.

Snug and cozy with dark wood tables and chairs, vintage family photos on the frescoed walls, and a faux fireplace that's really a TV screen, Olazzo is both romantic and family friendly. Young servers amp up good cheer, as do Monday's half-price wine night and Tuesday's $5 martinis.

But even without the boozy come-on, the place is a find. Crisp fried tendrils of calamari heaped in a giant martini glass will make you smile. The best big plates are the traditional ones: well-seasoned meatballs with al dente spaghetti; lasagna with a robust Bolognese sauce; chicken cardinale with tomato-cream sauce; crusty thin-pounded chicken Milanese. Less successful are dishes catering to modern health concerns, like salmon with mango relish and a flavorless vegetable pasta. A nice house salad comes with all entrées, but get the dressing on the side--the kitchen tends to overdo it.

For nostalgia's sake, splurge on a crisp-shelled cannoli for dessert, the essence of Little Italy in a few crunchy bites.