Washington has seen a surge in ambitious neighborhood restaurants, and one of its happiest byproducts has been the rise in laid-back Italian spots. Take Jamie Leeds’s Old Town pasta house, which marries a homey, gray-painted room with a raucous family-dinner vibe. It’s worth going all-in on the house-made pastas and sharing a fixed-price menu featuring three to five selections. We love the messily torn mafalde noodles done up with a creamy sauce and fennel sausage or the chewy strands of bucatini gilded in carbonara. To start, there are generous antipasti boards and interesting salads, such as a mix of shaved Brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds and anchovy-raisin vinaigrette. Moderate.
Also great: Burrata with pesto; arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette; wild-mushroom lasagna; vanilla panna cotta; Key-lime pie.