100 Best Restaurants 2009: 2 Amys

No. 30: 2 Amys

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.

Service: •½

Open Monday for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Moderate.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants

Get Our “Brunches This Weekend” Newsletter

The best breakfasts and brunches to try every weekend, plus our most popular food stories of the week.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
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.