A La Lucia

315 Madison St.
Alexandria, VA 22314


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, Saturday 5 to 10, and Sunday 4 to 9.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Nearby Metro Stops: King Street-Old Town, Braddock Road

Price Range: Moderate

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.

Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly

Scene: Outdoor Seating

January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants

Ambitious Italian cooking without pretension.

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.