January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants
THE SCENE. The restaurant-going crowd in Rockville and Potomac has something to smile about these days. Amici Miei is the sort of dining room everyone wants in the neighborhood: a stylish yet unpretentious trattoria that captures the essence of regional Italian cuisine. And owners Davide Megna and Roberto Deias, both natives of Italy who've done stints at a half dozen well-known Italian eateries between them, go out of their way to charm their diners, regulars or not.
WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. Megna's cooking reminds you that a dish doesn't need a dozen exotic ingredients to woo. Italy has hundreds of modest restaurants of this sort; they're much harder to find here.
WHAT YOU WON'T. The by-the-glass wine list could use a bit of bolstering. And all that marble and bare wood in the dining room means things can get loud.
BEST DISHES. A luscious vitello tonnato; fresh butterflied-and-grilled sardines to pop in the mouth; crisp-crust wood-oven pizzas, including a feisty diavola with spicy salami and roasted peppers; pork sausage with a bitter counterpoint of broccoli rabe; lamb chops with a sauce of wine and raisins; branzino cooked whole with salmoriglio, a pungent olive-oil herb sauce; the Caprese, a grainy chocolate nut cake popular on the Amalfi coast.