La Piazza

June 2005

Owner Carlo Pacarella comes to Alexandria from Italy by way of New Jersey, where he and his wife, Cinzia Ramundo, honed their skills. Their Alexandria venture is a small place that knows what it's about. Patrons order at a counter, sit down at one of the few tables, and await their food. The menu is short. With rare exceptions, everything's on the mark. As a result the restaurant has a loyal following among its neighbors and commuters from the Braddock Road Metro station.

Salads are a strength, whether the small house salad, spring mix and romaine lettuce in a first-rate vinaigrette, or one of the larger salads that can serve as the main course of a light luncheon. Pastas are king, and the list is long. At around $10 for dinner and $7 or $8 for lunch, they are good deals, especially considering that a house salad and good garlic bread are included. Along with simple spaghetti and meatballs or a more ambitious wild-mushroom ravioli, the menu includes such staples as veal and peppers or veal parmigiana for $10.50. Hot and cold subs are other good choices. Wines are $15 to $18 a bottle, $4 a glass.