Cheap Eats 2008: Il Pizzico

Why go: For the tasty pastas lovingly handmade by chef/owner Enzo Livia. But not to while away an evening—there are hungry folks waiting in line for your table in the northern-Italian dining room, and the staff operates on fast forward.

What to get: A big plate of air-dried beef with arugula or carpaccio drizzled with mustard vinaigrette, each easily enough for two; bucatini—strands of thick, hollow spaghetti—slicked with creamy tomato sauce and wilted radicchio; mushroom ravioli in a velvety pistachio-cream sauce—the same dish you’ll find for a heftier price at Livia’s more elegant Spezie in downtown DC; gnocchi in any number of sauces—Gorgonzola cream, tangy tomato, or whatever Livia chooses that day.

Best for: Suburban regulars; early-bird family dinners where you can share and sample different pastas; parents looking to squeeze in a quick feast before the babysitter’s curfew.

Insider tip: The meat and seafood entrées don’t live up to the pastas—and many, while generously portioned, are outside the Cheap Eats budget. Long waits in the cramped bar area are typical on weekends, less so midweek.

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 Petworth.