Il Pizzico

This simple Italian-American dining room is pasta heaven.

From June 2006 Cheap Eats

This strip-mall restaurant in north Rockville is the kind of place where the cooking takes you back to a time when eating Italian food meant eating Italian-American–when not even sophisticates had heard of agnolotti.

The short menu showcases simply and carefully prepared northern-Italian classics, from a lightly dressed tangle of arugula with speck and shaved Parmigiano to a generous plate of gnocchi whose lightly rich Gorgonzola sauce never obscures the flavor of the well-made dumplings, to a veal Sandra in a wine sauce fragrant with rosemary and sweet with raisins.

Sticking with a glass of house white or red is a necessity if you want to keep costs down, but there are some well-chosen half bottles of Chianti for diners willing to splurge. Be forewarned: Savoring and lingering over your meal takes work. For all the attention lavished on the food by the kitchen, the waitstaff is intent on turning tables; one course follows another with a brusque efficiency more suited to a truck stop. A parfait-style variation of tiramisu, heavy on the mascarpone and the espresso, makes a terrific end to a meal. Too bad the check is apt to hit the table before you've set your spoon down.

Get Our “Brunches This Weekend” Newsletter

The best breakfasts and brunches to try every weekend, plus our most popular food stories of the week.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.