Italian restaurant Washington DC

Laura Madden

4 mins read

Jun 14, 2024


Top-Notch Italian Restaurants in Washington DC

Do you know that warm feeling that runs through your chest when a waiter brings a plate of irresistible spaghetti to your table? Italian food has something about it—it’s comforting, satisfying, and never dull.

DC has many options for great food, but it stands out from the rest when we talk about Italian food, particularly. We have scoured the internet to give you a list of Italian restaurants in Washington, DC, that offer mouthwatering bites and meals.

Stick to the end of this blog post until the end to learn about the best restaurants and their must-try dishes.

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Stellina Pizzeria

Your #1 place for an authentic pizza should be Stellina Pizzeria, a self-proclaimed Neo-Neapolitan-style pizzeria. Stellina’s beauty lies in its ambiance. It is decorated with colorful tiles and red stools, adding to its lively atmosphere. The star of this restaurant is its wood-burning oven.

If you’re lucky, you might catch Chef Matteo Venini tossing pizzas in the oven faster than you can spell Italian. Stellina Pizzeria blisters their pizza perfectly; the crust is chewy (a hallmark of authentic Neapolitan pizza).

This place is even more interesting because they will serve you a whole pizza. You’re the one cutting your slices. (Good luck fighting to cut the bigger one for yourself).

We’ve talked enough about pizzas, but Stellina Pizzeria’s menu is not just about it.

They have an irresistible selection of starters, and you must try their crisp fritti before digging into the main course. For dessert, we recommend trying Tiramisu. Only a few places could mess up a Tiramisu, but Stellina Pizzeria makes it the best.

Caruso’s Grocery

For some people, being in an Italian restaurant in Washington, DC, doesn’t make that mark; they must be where they can savor a classic red sauce pasta. And if you’re one of those people- put Caruso’s Grocery on the map immediately.

Caruso’s Grocery is a 65-seat restaurant that will make you feel like you’re dining cozily in your home on a Sunday. Their menu features handmade pasta dishes like rigatoni alla vodka and five-cheese ravioli. The kitchen at Caruso’s Grocery ensures that these dishes are cooked rich, flavorful, and with high-quality ingredients.

To start dining, go with the hand-pulled mozzarella with basil-marinated tomatoes. This starter tastes better than it sounds and is a fresh and delicious option.

The entrees at this restaurant in Washington, DC, are just as impressive. The chicken parmigiana is perfectly breaded and covered in a tasty tomato sauce and melted cheese.

Another highlight is the pork chops pizzaiola-style, served with a robust sauce.

The New York-style cheesecake with strawberry preserves wins on their dessert menu.

The Red Hen

You’ll probably have to wake up before the rooster to be able to make a reservation at the Red Hen. The effort to book your seat at this eatery will be worth not just for one but for many reasons.

Let’s start with reason #1, it’s the food. Their pasta dishes are nothing short of perfection. The cacio e pepe “arancini” is a must-try, while the crowd-favorite mezzi rigatoni continues to impress diners daily.

If you’re someone for whom food is an adventure, you will get your hormones pumping once you order the mafalde verde. This dish features a sweet-and-savory combination of braised duck ragù, Calabrian chili, and pecorino romano.

Entrées like grilled short rib and scallops with pickled chili aïoli are as exquisite as their pasta. This restaurant in Washington, DC, shows its commitment to quality with its curated wine list, which includes selections that are as unusual as affordable.


Fiola combines retro charm with a rustic feel. It features stone walls, seasonal flowers, and Warhol-like prints. Friendly servers welcome you when you arrive, hinting at the excellent service to come.

Take your time with the menu filled with beautiful and inventive dishes. Fiola blends classic and modern Italian flavors, celebrating everything from Roman to Venetian cuisine.

One standout dish is the Ravioli alla Genovese, made with smoked beef ragu, mozzarella du bufala, and Genovese sauce.

Another highlight is the 48-hour dry-aged branzino, served with a tasty lemon butter sauce.

Finish your meal with the caramel corn budino, paired with poached apricot and yuzu sorbet.

Grazie Grazie

If you’re looking for some of the best Italian sandwiches in Washington, DC, head to Grazie Grazie at The Wharf. This Italian restaurant in Washington, DC, will quickly become your favorite spot for a quick and satisfying meal.

The Minelli is a classic Italian cold-cut sandwich made with fresh ingredients that you need to get on your tongue. Another do not miss is the 8+1, which combines various Italian meats and cheeses.

The highlight of the menu is the Nonna. This meatball sub is based on owner Casey Patten’s family recipe. It features a delicious blend of ground pork shank and Italian sausage, all covered in a rich gravy.


Sfoglina has a reputation for turning its first-time visitors into all-time comers. The name Sfoglina, which means pasta master in Italian, sets a high standard—and this Italian restaurant in Washington, DC, delivers with aplomb. You’ll see how your pasta is made in its working pasta station.

The menu at Sfoglina strikes a balance of classical and seasonal dishes. One of their standout starters is the Polenta. It’s almost whipped, folded with cacao and Pepe, and topped with fresh peas and pecorino. You should order a plate of spinach tonnarelli from the main course options.

This pasta is melded with a seasoned lamb ragù to give a hint of sweetness that complements the flavors of the lamb. And don’t even think about skipping dessert, especially when The hazelnut cake is on the menu. This dessert is smooth and crumbly exactly in the layers it should be and gives a lemony edge.

Bon Appétit

DC has many options for Italian culinary delights; there’s something for every Italian food lover in the nation’s capital. But what if you could enjoy these incredible flavors right in the comfort of your home?

CookinGenie is an online chef marketplace that allows you to hire a personal chef. With CookinGenie, you can experience the joy of Italian cuisine without the hassle of dining out.

A skilled private chef in Washington, DC, will come to your home, prepare a delicious meal tailored to your tastes, and even handle the cleanup. It’s the perfect way to savor the best of Italian food in a cozy, intimate setting. Buon appetito!

Laura Madden

Partnerships & Events Manager

With a flair for creating meaningful connections through food, Laura excels in crafting unique and engaging human experiences. Her calm and friendly approach makes complex problems look like a piece of cake. When she's not forging and fostering partnerships in hospitality, she's out trying new restaurants in town.

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