Food

Agrodolce

Wood-fired pizza and inventive Cal-Ital cuisine in a bustling trattoria.

January 2003 100 Very Best Restaurants

This youthful Italian trattoria buzzes with energy to spare. It has a creative regional-Italian menu, and the kitchen whips up daily specials–flights of fancy that keep things fresh even if they don't always work. Yellow walls with vivid murals make for a sunny backdrop; in good weather, tables are set up on the plaza outdoors.

Start with brittle fried squid or asparagus swathed with prosciutto and crusted with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Or dive into a thin-crusted pizza from the wood-burning oven. The inventive Cal-Ital pastas–farfalle with chicken, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and pancetta; sautéed shrimp with cannellini beans and radicchio sauce–can be split as starters or ordered as entrées. Some of the entrées, such as a savory veal scallopine with citrus-Marsala sauce and pistachios, are served over pasta as well. Among the interesting main courses: chicken with walnut-rum-cream sauce, green apples, and preserved ginger; rack of wild boar with pomegranate-balsamic reduction; wonderfully crisp duck confit with orange-star-anise glaze (get the pear-ginger chutney on the side); and salmon with lemon, capers, wilted spinach, and grilled polenta. The bold flavors beg for a simpler, sturdier bread than the focaccia in the basket, but the general exuberance overcomes the missteps. Highs on the dessert roster are a tiramisu in a clear glass coffee cup and the clever mousse-filled chocolate cigar.

Don’t Miss Another New Restaurant—Get Our Food Newsletter

The latest in Washington’s food and drink scene.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
SIGN UP
We engage readers directly in their mailboxes with topics like Health, Things to Do, Best Brunches, Design & Shopping, and Real Estate. Get the latest from our editors today.
Get The Best Of Washingtonian In Your Inbox!