100 Best Restaurants 2010: Assaggi

No. 90: Assaggi

Cuisine: The mozzarella bar might intrigue curiosity seekers, but the real draw is chef/owner Domenico Cornacchia’s cooking. It pulls from many regions of his homeland but rings truest when he draws from the stick-to-your-ribs, tomato-based dishes of central Italy. And he’s a whiz with pasta.

Mood: The open dining room channels the buzz of a DC hot spot, right down to the glimpse of the chef intently finishing dishes in the open kitchen.

Best for: A family-style meal for groups who like to share—the staff is happy to bring plenty of plates.

Best dishes: Burrata cheese with condiments of pesto eggplant, tomato marmalade, and roasted red peppers; salumi; fritto misto; tiny clams in a broth with toasted Israeli-couscous-like pasta; a vinegary kale-and-escarole salad; gnocchi topped with veal-short-rib ragu and pungent caciocavallo-cheese sauce; pasta with blue crab and spicy tomato sauce; zeppole, sugared batons of fried dough with zabaglione dip; raspberry-and-white-chocolate cake.

Insider tips: Specials include a $14 two-course lunch and a 15-percent discount on dinner checks daily between 4 and 6.

Service: •••

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate to expensive.


See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants


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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.