Growing up in Rome, Savino Recine became accustomed to a weekly tradition among his family and close friends. Every Sunday, relatives would gather and leave the city for a meal at one of the countryside restaurants alla fine del mondo—"at the end of the world" in Italian. The memories of these rustic Italian meals stuck with Recine after he became a chef. He founded a restaurant, built a menu of hearty Old-World recipes, and named the eatery Finemondo in honor of his attempt to re-create the flavors of the Italian countryside a world away. By and large, the Zagat-rated eatery’s menu sticks to faithful re-creations of iconic staples. The chefs make everything from spaghettini and cavatelli pastas to meatballs and mozzarella in-house, lending homestyle flavors to the entrees and antipasti. They occasionally use those flavors in innovative ways and design new dishes. Calamari meatballs are flavored with their own ink, and the caprese hamburger can arrive with an intensely spicy blend of calabrian hot peppers, eggplant, and porcini mushrooms. Flagstone walls, vaulted ceilings, and massive still-life paintings of artichokes, onions, and cured meats all lend Old-World charm to a dining room that already has plenty. The restaurant's wooden accents include a latticework that divides the rooms and walnut furniture imported from Italy via giant slingshot.
After visiting Ella's Wood Fired Pizza, a reviewer from the Washington City Paper went over the moon for its signature crust. Baked in the eatery's namesake oven, Ella's Neapolitan-style thin crusts are "perfectly crisp with a hint of smoke," while touches of olive oil and sea salt lend "tremendous flavor." Of course, the fixings atop that flavorful foundation are equally swoon-worthy. Ella's cooks handcraft nearly 20 specialty pies, from the di mare's pairing of pesto and shrimp to the bosco's medley of roasted tomatoes and roasted-garlic puree. The culinary team also yields decisions to diners, who can customize pizzas with 40-plus ingredients?including fingerling potatoes and vegan soy cheese?along with the option for a gluten-free crust.
Alongside pizzas, the kitchen staff specializes in traditional and creative Italian dishes, from mushroom ravioli with roasted red pepper sauce to risotto balls filled with gooey mozzarella. Plentiful beer and wine options complement meals, which unfold in a cozy interior with rustic Italian touches such as stone columns and a corner reserved for napping gondoliers.
Primi Piatti's executive chef, Savino Recine, is more than a culinary mastermind. When he's not in the kitchen, he’s often roaming the dining room floor, pouring champagne into a glass that appears suspended in midair, or performing other sleight of hand tricks—he's a trained magician, after all. As guests take in the magic or bite into grilled veal chop and saffron gnocchi with shrimp, an imported Italian wood-fired grill browns the crispy crusts of golden pizzas. Upon entering the high-ceilinged dining room, guests notice that the eatery values presentation and performance as much as flavor and aroma. Elegant sconces and pendant lights cast their glow over tables swathed in white linen. Green-striped columns hug the corners of the soaring space, which is made to look even larger by the massive mirrors that cling to its walls.
Though it’s located just steps from Georgetown’s bustling streets, Paper Moon transports diners back to the Old World hearth with homey steaks, pasta, seafood, and Italian specialties cut with creamy sauces and delicate herbs. The kitchen’s dedication earned the notice of the Washington Post, whose critic noted that "regulars praise the pizza, made in a wood-burning oven," before admiring the "wall-mounted fountains, terra-cotta friezes, tiled floors, potted palms, and touches of tapestry and red velvet” that populate the expansive dining room. Filled with the brassy sound of big-band swing, the dining room comfortably hosts big events, including group dinners, family gatherings, or a giant’s quinceañera.
Pronounced ?AH-beets,? Pete?s New Haven Style Apizza sets itself apart from more familiar pie prototypes with a crunchy yet chewy, stone oven-cooked crust. Combining their roots in fine dining with a dedication to fresh and simple Italian cuisine, Pete?s chefs make the gluten-free pizza crust in-house each day and top pies with savory sauce and locally-sourced toppings that are farm-fresh, organic, or made in house.
Pete?s menu also encompasses fresh pastas including homemade lasagna and spaghetti Bolognese. The fortress of feasting also offers a variety of draft and bottled beers, eclectic d?cor, and oven doors that bark out patrons? names when they walk through the door.
Located a few steps from the C&O Canal in the heart of Georgetown, this upscale eatery specializes in authentic Southern Italian cuisine and Neapolitan-style pizza. The sleek, modern dining room is accented by vibrant blues, while the pizza kitchen and wood-fired oven imported from Naples are situated up front for all to see. Pies are made within strict accordance of Verace Pizza Napolitana regulations, which require the use of imported mozzarella di bufala, San Marzano tomatoes and ‰ÛÏ00‰Û� flour. While pizza is the main draw at Il Canale, the restaurant also features a full menu of Italian classics like gnocchi, spaghetti al pomodoro and chicken marsala. The ‰ÛÏterrazzo,‰Û� or rooftop patio, offers views of the canal and is a good choice on spring and summer evenings.