100 Best Restaurants 2009: Dino

No. 55: Dino

Cuisine: Rustic Italian cooking backed by one of the area’s best wine lists.

Mood: The glass-walled corner space—it used to be a bank—has its disadvantages, but when the wine is flowing and the place is jammed, Dino strikes a neat balance between the charm of a Little Italy–style neighborhood joint and the elegance of one of DC’s upscale Italian dining rooms.

Best for: A round of small plates and half pours of wine before a movie at the Uptown Theater or a leisurely, postshow repast fueled by lots of red wine.

Best dishes: Creamy buffalo mozzarella from Puglia, with olive and red-pepper tapenades; light veal and pork meatballs in tomato sauce; crispy fried squid; house-made fusilli with rich duck ragu; homey lasagnette made with pork, veal, and crispy bacon; a roll-up of rotisserie-roasted milk-fed pig, deboned and stuffed with herbs and garlic; superbly kept Italian cheeses; Nutella-and-mascarpone pot de crème; Venice-style ice-cream sundae with bittersweet-chocolate gelato, hazelnut gelato, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream.

Insider tips: Owner Dean Gold has positioned Dino as a premier destination for oenophiles. Wines more than $50 are a third off Sunday and Monday, and Tuesday and Thursday you can bring a bottle of your own at no charge.

Service: ••

Open daily for dinner. Moderate.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurant

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.