100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 41 Graffiato

Fried calamari, tomato, provolone, and cherry pepper aioli top the Jersey Shore pizza. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The two-level dining room is nearly as loud as a show at the 9:30 Club, and you’ll likely be hustled in and out in less than an hour (especially if there’s a game across the street at the Verizon Center). Those are prices we’re willing to pay for Mike Isabella’s electric brand of Italian-American cooking.

The pepperoni sauce that won the hearts of Top Chef judges is still around, jazzing up juicy chicken thighs or a puffy flatbread. Pizzas arrive with just-thin-enough crusts and inventive accessories like kabocha squash, pumpkin seeds, and feta. And pastas are hearty but surprisingly unsloppy—Isabella’s silky corn agnolotti, which comes back every summer, is down-right elegant.

Don’t miss:

  • Roasted cauliflower with pecorino and mint
  • Brussels sprouts with yogurt and maple
  • Caesar salad
  • Mustard-barbecue ribs
  • Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and Thai basil
  • Jersey Shore (fried calamari), White House (Taleggio and ricotta with honey), and Pineapple Express (pineapple and ham) pizzas

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.