Chef Mattoe Venini comes straight from of Lake Como, Italy to bring you the best of Northern Italy. Authentic dishes abound, like the ravioli stuffed with braised short ribs, which is a recipe his grandmother taught him to make. Dishes focus on butter and cheese, but the Northern Italian bistro also plays with seasonal flavors in the elegant, neutral-toned setting. You’ll find dishes like pasta with rabbit ragu and grilled fois gras or salmon tartare. The menu also features a daily selection of fish and other favorites, like Chilean sea bass.
Ristorante Tosca, 1112 F St NW Washington, D.C. 20004 202-367-1990
Located in Downtown, Fiola is the first creation of Maria and Fabio Trabocchi’s trifecta of restaurants. Their raw seafood dishes, referred to as ‘Italian sushi,’ and pasta dishes topped with truffles or lobster are must-trys. They also have creative takes on classic dishes like the prosciutto-wrapped veal chop. The ingredients are flown in from Italy, and you’ll get mind-blowing service well worth the price. Fiola is upscale, but to save some money, try visiting during happy hour.
Fiola, 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20004 202-628-2888
Acqua Al 2, originally located in Florence, Italy, comes from Chef Ari Gejdenson, who relocated the Florentine favorite with a nearly identical menu. The menu boasts quality steaks, a staple of Florence, and top notch pasta courses with toppings of cheeses and fresh vegetables. A perk is that you can sample five pastas from their pasta sample option. Try their selection of Italian beers while sitting on their patio.
Acqua Al 2, 212 7th St SE Washington, D.C. 20003 202-525-4375
Located in a row house in Dupont Circle, Obelisk is an established gem of the city with a great reputation. The menu is handwritten moments before each evening, but you can always find an infusion of rich and salty concoctions like the black bass with clams and elegant cheeses. You’ll be sure to find everything perfectly seasoned and prepared. Although it’s fine dining, Obelisk is not stuffy or pretentious at all and there is no dress code.
Obelisk, 2029 P St NW Washington, D.C. 20036 202-872-1180
Walking into Filomena you’ll see women making pasta. Filomena serves up authentic plates of rich, flavorful sauces and Italian staples like three kinds of ravioli and the classic and perfect arancini and fried calamari appetizers. Try different plates, from the linguine cardinale with huge chunks of lobster to the tender gnocchi, and don’t miss the decadent desserts like the tiramisu. Occasionally and unfairly labeled a tourist trap, Filomena is beloved by locals as one of the best Italian restaurants in the city.
Filomena Restaurant, 1063 Wisconsin Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20007 202-338-8800