Food

Cheap Eats 2009: M Cafe

Great food, low prices, lots of fun

Why go: Euro-chic style and grandmotherly food crisscross at this lofty address with a well-tuned lineup of pastas, pizzas, panini, and salads and a backdrop of mosaic walls and stark white tables and chairs.

What to get: An airy fritto misto of calamari and zucchini; thin-crusted pizzas such as the Margherita (the new chef is from Naples, and the cafe has upgraded its pizza oven); penne Bolognese; silky panna cotta.

Best for: A bite before or after a movie or shopping; a gal-pal lunch; a great cup of Lavazza coffee.

Insider tip: The revamped menu includes a section of pricier entrées, but plenty of gently priced options remain. Check mcafebar.com for coupons—a recent one offered 20 percent off a meal Monday through Friday from 5 to 7.

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here 

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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.