This low-ceilinged Italian restaurant has the feeling of a place where regulars fill the dining room almost every evening and make their selections with little reference to the menu. The waiter makes that easy. He brings out a tray with a display of the fresh fish of the day–on a recent visit red snapper, Mediterranean sea bass, Dover sole, fresh sardines, and prawns–and recites a list of specials that's generally more interesting than the menu offerings. The simply grilled sardines were a wonderful first course, overshadowing a perfectly adequate risotto with wild mushrooms. The veal-chop main course was similarly delicious, even better than the very good tuna on a bed of onions, raisins, and pine nuts seasoned with balsamic vinegar. Desserts included a terrific mixed-berry panna cotta. Listen to your waiter, but ask the prices of the specials–otherwise there might be a surprise when the check arrives.
Al Tiramisu, 2014 P St., NW; 202-467-4466. Open Monday through Friday for lunch, daily for dinner.