Cuisine: Come for the Neapolitan pizzas, stay for the small plates. Peter Pastan’s noisy Cleveland Park cafe has always been about more than wood-fired pies—the seasonally changing antipasti capture the glories of rustic Italian cooking.
Mood: With its black-and-white tiled walls, too-close tables, and bare-bones decor, the dining room feels only slightly nicer than a cafeteria. For more ambience and less noise, try the back bar, the patio in summer, or upstairs, where nonparents—and parents who have babysitters—can escape the din.
Best for: Mild evenings when you’re not too hungry—get there after 6:30 or so and you’re in for a wait. Probably outside.
Best dishes: The antipasti change frequently, but good starters have included lentils with speck and parsley; batter-fried sardines, onion rings, and lemon slices; and white beans with bottarga and lemon zest. Elsewhere on the menu, look for Abruzzese pizza with meatballs; Vongole pizza topped with cockles; house-made sorbets and ice creams (the vanilla might be the city’s best ice cream); and almond cake with spiced cherry compote.
Insider tips: Specials make the most of the season’s best ingredients—pizzas might be topped with zucchini flowers, house-made sausage, or summery sweet bell peppers.
Open Monday for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Moderate.