100 Very Best Restaurants: #26 – Centrolina/Piccolina

Chef and owner Amy Brandwein of Centrolina. Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Centrolina/Piccolina

974 Palmer Aly NW
Washington, DC 20001
963 Palmer Aly NW
Washington, DC 20001

At first glance, the menu at Centrolina, Amy Brandwein’s CityCenterDC Italian place, seems straightforward: crudos, pastas, a good old roasted branzino. And while her cooking is spare and elegant—she lets high-quality ingredients speak for themselves—it also manages to keep us on our toes. When was the last time you had linguine tossed with fried oysters? Or a white Bolognese made with veal and sage? The lineup is forever changing, but Caitlin Dysart’s nicely crafted desserts are a sure thing, both here and at Piccolina, the casual cafe across the way. Inexpensive to expensive.