Washington DC has a variety of excellent Italian restaurants, ranging from casual pizza joints to fancy spots for special occasions. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite, a cozy date night, or a family feast, you’ll find something to suit your cravings and budget in the nation’s capital. In this article, we’ll provide a guide to the best Italian restaurants in DC, covering different styles, locations, and price points.
Address: 1065 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007, United States
Phone: +1 202-337-4444
For a more authentic Italian experience, head to il Canale in Georgetown. This Sicilian family restaurant is named after the nearby canal that runs through the historic district. The restaurant focuses on authenticity, using an imported wood-fired oven and Italian 00 flour to make their pizzas and pastas.
The Margherita pizza and the fresh daily pasta are highly recommended, as well as the seafood dishes like the calamari fritti and the linguine alle vongole. il Canale offers a great location, reasonable prices, and outstanding food. You can dine in their cozy indoor space or their outdoor patio overlooking the canal.
Address: 914 14th St SE, Washington, DC 20003, United States
Phone: +1 202-661-0148
If you’re looking for some classic red-sauce dishes, you’ll love Caruso’s Grocery. This new addition to The Roost Food Hall is styled like an old Italian-American spot in Brooklyn, with vintage posters and memorabilia on the walls.
It’s gaining a reputation for dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, rigatoni alla vodka, and chicken parmigiana, all served with generous portions of sauce and cheese. The restaurant also offers salads, antipasti, and desserts like tiramisu and cannoli. Despite being new, it’s quickly becoming one of the best Italian restaurants in DC. You can order online or visit The Roost Food Hall in Capitol Hill.
Address: 1063 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007, United States
Phone: +1 202-338-8800
Filomena Ristorante is located in Georgetown, and it has been serving old-school Italian food for nearly 40 years. The restaurant is known for its cozy dining room that features antiques, chandeliers, and photos of celebrities who have dined there.
The restaurant also has hand-made pastas that are prepared in front of your eyes by pasta mamas. You can enjoy a variety of dishes, such as arancini rice balls, gnocchi, lasagna, and Tortellini Di Michele with prosciutto and peas.
Filomena Ristorante is known for its large portions and incredible desserts, such as tiramisu, cannoli, and cheesecake. If you want to experience a classic Italian feast, this is the place to go.
Address: 79 Potomac Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003
For a more upscale pizza experience, try All-Purpose. This restaurant has two locations, one on the waterfront with views of the Anacostia River and one in Shaw with a central DC neighborhood vibe. The menu changes seasonally, with strong appetizer options like burrata, meatballs, and fried calamari.
The pizza is inspired by Rome and New Jersey, with a dough that is fermented for three days and baked in a 650-degree oven. The result is a thin crust with a chewy texture and a charred edge.
The toppings are creative and delicious, such as the Buona (with tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, chili honey, and basil) and the Casanova (with ricotta cream sauce, mozzarella, smoked salmon, capers, red onion, and everything bagel spice).
All-Purpose is a great place to enjoy pizza with wine or cocktails in a stylish setting.
Address: 1120 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, United States
Phone: +1 202-747-5222
Officina is an Italian-inspired culinary collective from Michelin-star Chef Nicholas Stefanelli. Located at the Wharf, this restaurant offers more than just a meal. It’s a place to shop, dine, and drink, all under one roof.
You can start your visit by browsing the market, where you’ll find imported cheeses, meats, wines, and other specialty products. Then, head to the trattoria for a sit-down dinner, where you’ll enjoy seasonal dishes made with fresh ingredients.
The menu changes frequently, but you can expect to find handmade pastas and unique salads, such as the roasted beet and ricotta salad. For the main course, try the whole branzino or the pork chop, both cooked to perfection and served with flavorful sauces. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, because Officina has some of the best cannolis in town.
Officina is a favorite place to dine at the Wharf, offering views of the sunset and the bustling area. Whether you’re looking for a romantic date night or a fun family outing, Officina has something for everyone.
Address: 650 K St NW, Washington, DC 20001, United States
Phone: +1 202-204-4480
RPM Italian is a swanky, upscale Italian restaurant in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, perfect for a romantic night out. Owned by celebrity couple Giuliana and Bill Rancic, this restaurant offers high-end service, with a modern and exquisite dining room.
The menu features classic and contemporary Italian dishes, with an emphasis on quality and presentation. You can start with some rosemary focaccia or truffled garlic bread, both warm and buttery. Then, move on to the pasta section, where you’ll find dishes like spaghetti carbonara and lobster ravioli, both rich and creamy. For the main course, you can choose from a variety of meat and seafood options, such as the grilled octopus or the veal chop.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, you’ll want to order the Torta Meringata for dessert. This show-stopping cake consists of layers of lemon cake, lemon curd, and toasted meringue. It’s light, tangy, and sweet, and will make your night unforgettable.
2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria
Address: 3715 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016, United States
Phone: +1 202-885-5700
2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria is a well-known pizza joint located in Cleveland Park. This restaurant has a great atmosphere, with an open kitchen and black and white tiled floors. You can watch the pizza makers toss and stretch the dough, then slide it into the wood-fired oven.
The pizza here is authentic Neapolitan style, with a soft and salty crust that bubbles and chars in all the right places. The toppings are simple but delicious, with the traditional Margherita with buffalo mozzarella being a favorite. You can also try some of their specialty pizzas, such as the Norcia with sausage and grilled peppers or the Etna with spicy salami and olives.
The restaurant also offers other dishes besides pizza, such as meatballs, stuffed pizza calzones, and homemade pastries for dessert. You can pair your meal with a glass of wine or beer from their extensive list.
2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, so be prepared to wait for a table or order takeout. Either way, you’ll be glad you did.
Address: 1099 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, United States
Phone: +1 202-628-1099
Sfoglina is named after the master of pasta making in Italy, and it shows. The restaurant is known for its handmade pastas that are made fresh every day. You can choose from a variety of pasta dishes, including Squid Ink Paccheri with Maine lobster, Fabio’s Ravioli San Leo with ricotta and spinach, and Tagliatelle Bolognese.
You can also enjoy unique desserts, such as Piemontese Chocolate Gianduja Cake with hazelnut gelato and caramel sauce. Sfoglina has three locations in DC: Downtown, Van Ness, and Rosslyn. No matter where you go, you will be treated to a delicious and authentic Italian meal.
Address: 301 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003, United States
Phone: +1 202-484-0660
Osteria Morini offers food inspired by the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, which is known for its rich and hearty cuisine. The restaurant is known for its beautiful dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Anacostia riverfront.
You can start your meal with a selection of cured meats, imported Italian cheeses, and fresh breads. Then, you can move on to one of the scratch-made pastas, such as Cappelletti with truffled ricotta and prosciutto or Gramigna with sausage ragu and broccolini.
You can also try one of the meat or fish dishes cooked over a wood-fired grill, such as Branzino with fennel and lemon or Pollo al Mattone with rosemary potatoes. Osteria Morini is a great place to enjoy a romantic dinner or a family gathering.
Address: 124 N Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22046, United States
Phone: +1 703-269-0893
Thompson Italian is a cozy and charming restaurant in Falls Church, owned by husband and wife chefs Gabe and Katherine Thompson. The couple met while working at Del Posto in New York City, and decided to open their own place in their hometown.
Thompson Italian is known for its casual vibe and family-friendly atmosphere. The restaurant welcomes guests with a warm and inviting decor, featuring wood accents and colorful artwork. The service is friendly and attentive, making you feel right at home.
The menu offers a variety of dishes that showcase the Thompsons’ culinary skills and passion for Italian cuisine. You can start with some garlic bread or fried baby artichokes, both crispy and flavorful. Then, move on to the pasta section, where you’ll find freshly made noodles in different shapes and sauces. Some of the highlights include the rigatoni bolognese and the squid ink spaghetti with crab and lemon.
Katherine’s pastry chef skills are highlighted in the desserts section, where you’ll find tempting treats like tiramisu and chocolate cake. But the star of the show is the olive oil cake, which is moist, fluffy, and infused with citrus zest. It’s a simple but satisfying way to end your meal.
Side Door Pizza
Address: 909 New Jersey Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003, United States
Phone: +1 202-817-9302
If you’re in the mood for some Detroit-style pizza, you’ll want to check out Side Door Pizza. This small spot started as a pop-up and is now a permanent fixture in the Shaw neighborhood. The pizza has a thick, square crust with Wisconsin brick cheese that creates a crispy edge.
The menu has expanded from simple cheese or pepperoni to include unique vegetarian offerings like the Mushroom Madness (with roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, and truffle oil) and the Green Machine (with pesto, spinach, artichokes, and feta).
You can also customize your own pizza with toppings like sausage, pepperoni, bacon, chicken, anchovies, olives, peppers, and more. Side Door Pizza is a great place to grab a slice or a whole pie for takeout or delivery.
Pupatella is another great option for pizza lovers in DC. This restaurant is known for its Neapolitan pizza, which is certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, a non-profit organization that promotes and protects the authentic Neapolitan pizza.
Pupatella’s pizzas are topped with San Marzano tomatoes from Italy and cooked in a wood-burning oven that reaches temperatures of over 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The result is a thin and chewy crust with a smoky flavor and a charred edge. You can choose from a variety of pizzas, including the classic Margherita and the Pizza Fritta, a fried calzone stuffed with ricotta and ham.
Pupatella also offers a selection of house-made gelato, which is creamy and refreshing. You can choose from flavors like pistachio, hazelnut, and stracciatella.
Pupatella has two locations in DC, one in Arlington and one in Dupont Circle. Both are cozy and casual, with a red and white color scheme and a mural of Naples on the wall. You can order at the counter and enjoy your pizza at one of the tables or on the patio.
Address: 1801 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, United States
Phone: +1 202-506-1999
Maialino Mare is a Roman-style trattoria that focuses on pasta, fish, and pork. The menu is created from seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers and fishers, ensuring freshness and quality. You can enjoy a variety of house-made pastas, such as Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Rigatoni Carbonara, and Spaghetti alle Vongole.
You can also savor dishes featuring suckling pig, such as Porchetta and Maialino al Forno. Maialino Mare is known for its beautiful restaurant setting and great service, but it is on the expensive side. If you want to splurge on a special occasion, this is the place to go.
The Red Hen
Address: 1822 1st St NW, Washington, DC 20001, United States
Phone: +1 202-525-3021
The Red Hen is located in the Bloomingdale neighborhood, and it has a rustic and cozy dining room that makes you feel at home.
The restaurant offers a variety of unique toasts, antipastas, and pasta dishes that are made with seasonal and local ingredients. You can try the Burrata Toast with roasted grapes and pistachios, the Roasted Cauliflower with capers and raisins, or the Squid Ink Linguine with shrimp and Calabrian chili.
The Red Hen is known for its attentive service and requires early reservations. If you are lucky, you may be able to order the off-menu cacio e pepe or the olive oil cake for dessert.
Whether you’re a pizza lover or a pasta fan, you’ll find something to satisfy your appetite at these amazing Italian restaurants in DC. From casual to fancy, from traditional to modern, there’s an option for every taste and occasion. Buon appetito!
Hi, I’m Ben Holland. I love cooking, traveling, and spending time with my family! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes, travel tips, and stories about my adventures with my wife and kids.