Lotsa Pasta

The area is suddenly awash in pasta, pizza, and Peroni.
Rigatoni with “Sunday gravy” at Potenza. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

In the ’80s, superchef Roberto Donna reigned over the culinary landscape. His spinoffs were everywhere, and Washington was in thrall to Italian cooking. Then came an explosion of Japanese, Thai, Indian, and other cuisines. Diners looked elsewhere for culinary thrills.

That may be changing. The area is suddenly awash in pasta, pizza, and Peroni.

DC’s Siroc, Potenza, and Posto, Alexandria’s Pizzaiolo Cafe & Bar, Rockville’s Baci, and Annapolis’s Carpaccio have all debuted in the last several months. On the horizon: Forno Italian Oven & Grill opens this month in Ashburn, Acqua al Due is coming to Capitol Hill, Ashok Bajaj (Oval Room, Bombay Club) has plans to open Bibiana Osteria–Enoteca at 11th Street and New York Avenue in the fall, and the people behind Teatro Goldoni are launching a casual spinoff later in the year.

Cuisines go in and out of fashion like hemlines, but insiders attribute the current trend to the downturn in the economy. Nothing soothes quite like a bowl of ravioli or a crisp-crust pizza, and Italian is less costly for both restaurateurs and diners than ambitious renditions of French or sushi.


So long as it means good bread, reasonably priced wines, simple, rustic preparations, and great values, let’s applaud the development.

This appeared in the July, 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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