Cheap Eats 2008: Olazzo – Bethesda

Why go: Owners Roberto and Riccardo Pietrobono have conjured up the intimate trattorias of Little Italy at their original location in Bethesda and an outpost in Silver Spring. The hearty, red-sauce plates, many from family recipes, make Olazzo an appealing respite for diners weary of hypertrendy Italian cooking.

What to get: Fried calamari, enough for two to share; crusty chicken Milanese; spicy sausage and peppers with linguine; eggplant parmigiana that isn’t deluged with cheese; penne with meatballs in a long-simmered marinara; hearty lasagna Bolognese.

Best for: An early dinner with the kids or a romantic grownup evening later on.

Insider tip: The small but reasonable wine list is an even better deal on Monday nights, when bottles are half price; martinis are $5 on Tuesday nights.

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.