Cheap Eats 2008: M Café and Bar

Why go: Don’t let the vibe of this ultramodern Italian espresso bar, trattoria, and outdoor cafe fool you. The regional Italian fare—salads, panini, pastas, and pizzas—are not far off from what you’d find in a worthwhile village trattoria in Italy.

What to get: The crunchy salad of endive, grapes, radicchio, walnuts, and Gorgonzola; homey farro (spelt barley) soup with cannellini beans; an elegant deconstructed lasagna Bolognese with béchamel; piadina, an Italian flatbread, filled with Parma prosciutto and creamy burrata; the juicy burger with Edam and caramelized onions; turkey club on hand-sliced brioche toast with house-made mayo; the brunch ricotta tartlet with ricotta, asparagus, and eggs sunny side up.

Best for: A business powwow (free wi-fi); lunch with gal pals; cocktails or dinner with the gang at night.

Insider tip: Except for the lemon tart, desserts are not as good as they look. But the Illy coffee is terrific.

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.

See all Cheap Eats 2008 restaurants 

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.