1/30/2013 01:13:00 PM

5 Neighborhood Italian Gems in DC Metro

Floriana's dining room: Photo: Lorraine Fitzsimmons
There’s something about Italian food that works perfectly for a relaxed meal in cozy surroundings. Fortunately, there no shortage of neighborhood haunts dishing up the land of the red, white and green’s specialties. Here are five to check out around the area. Tell us your faves on Google + Local

A La Lucia
Food: 23
Décor: 18
Service: 22
Cost: $36

“Well off the much-traveled” Old Town tourist itinerary is this “much appreciated” “neighborhood favorite”, an Italian trattoria that treats its guests like “family” and is prized for “well-prepared” classics and year-round, restaurant-week–like deals (e.g. nightly prix fixe, discount wines Sunday–Tuesday); hence, most shrug off the “garage”-y space’s “noisy” echo and “funky” look as adding to the “fun vibe.”

315 Madison St, Alexandria, VA; 703- 836-5123.

Amici Mei
Food: 21
Décor: 18
Service: 20
Cost: $40

Potomac’s “go-to” Italian for “solid” pizza, “fresh pasta” and the like at “midrange prices” can easily “swing from a romantic dinner to a kid-friendly place”, offering something for “everyone”; “charming” owners preside over an “attractive” dining room lined with tasteful artwork, but many regulars skip the “hustle and bustle” inside, preferring to sit outdoors.

1093 Seven Locks Rd., Potomac, MD; 301-545-0966

Food: 24
Décor: 22
Service: 23
Cost: $40

In the diadem of “reasonably priced Italians”, this Dupont row-house “gem” shines, with a “brilliant” staff dishing up “lasagna just as good as it was 30 years ago” (at a prior location) along with more recent innovations; its “intimate” “Victorian” charm works for a “celebration meal” or for casual drinks with friends on “half-price wine nights.”

1206 17 St. NW; 202-667-5937

La Strada
Food: 23
Décor: 20
Service: 24
Cost: $41

To-die-for” housemade pasta is an “art form” with “great wines to match” at this “tasty”, family-style Northern Italian osteria/enoteca that “impresses” Del Ray locals; it’s not always cheap, but there’s a lot of “love” for the “pleasant” staff and the “cute” wine-cellar decor and sunny patio.

1905 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA; 703-548-2542

Toscana Café
Food: 25
Décor: 20
Service: 25
Cost: $42
Chef-owner Daniele Catalani evokes his native Tuscany in a "rustic" Capitol Hill townhouse, hidden behind Union Station, where "outstanding" housemade pastas, pizza and focaccia sandwiches are doled out in a first-floor counter-serve at lunch, while in the evening "fabulous" dinners are set in the trim upstairs dining room; relatively "reasonable" prices, "fast" service and an outdoor patio are highlights of this "funky" trattoria.

601 Second St. NE; 202- 525-2693


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