Chefs at Romantica Italian Grill & Pizzeria concoct pizzas, subs, pasta, and a smattering of other Italian entrees with traditional italian cheeses and fresh bread delivered daily. Twelve specialty selections of gourmet pizzas include creative amalgams such as the Romantica ($14.99 for a 12-inch pie; $17.99 for a 16-inch pie), which seasons sausage, ham, pepperoni, and meatballs with salty notes of anchovy and a sprinkling of veggies. Build-your-own options pile freshly forged dough and pizza sauce with a mix of more than 20 meat and veggie offerings, such as pancetta and roasted peppers, to create meals with more variety than a picnic on a holodeck. The pizza czars top off each pie with Pollio Italian Cheese Company's rich mozzarella, which also makes cameos in the baked ziti ($12.99) and eight styles of calzone ($7.59). Sandwiches, subs, and pastas provide options for patrons excommunicated by pizza kingdoms after accidentally revealing their favorite shape, the octagon.
The culinary wizards of Deli Italiano Gourmet Pizza & Subs court discerning palates with a menu of gourmet pizzas decoratable with 34 toppings, a large selection of sandwiches and wraps, 10 saucy pastas, and a well-heeled selection of bottled beer and wine. Catch a Greek dough disk ($15.99–$17.99), bedecked in gyro meat, feta, and black olives, or a white-sauce-slathered garlic-chicken pizza ($15.99–$17.99) smothered in ricotta and roasted red peppers. The 8-inch hot Paesano sub ($6.79) blankets grilled Italian sausage in provolone and marinara, and the cold Pavarotti sub ($6.79) composes a symphony of turkey and roast beef in a bread libretto that tells the story of their love triangle with a tomato. An arsenal of meaty calzones ($7.99–$8.99), double-patty burgers ($6.79+), and crisp salads ($3.49+) round out Deli Italiano's linguine-length menu.
Located inside Leigh House, a Victorian mansion built in 1880, Dante Ristorante fosters a homey atmosphere with friendly service and antique furnishings. Beneath high ceilings festooned with brass chandeliers, chef and owner Giuseppe Di Benigno mingles with his guests, discussing his herb- and vegetable-gardening techniques and sharing recipes from his hometown in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Meanwhile, waiters pile white tablecloths with house-made pastas, salmon topped with prosciutto, and Giuseppe's signature seafood soup brimming with scallops, mussels, calamari, and clams.
Chef Di Benigno was drawn to the Leigh House not only for its architecture, but its eclectic past: the mansion has served as everything from a dairy-farm headquarters to a hospital during its 130-year history. A 10-month renovation transformed it into a modern restaurant space with cozy dining areas, classic artwork, and natural lighting. Outside, a fountain gurgles on a patio lined with tables topped with umbrellas and patrons practicing their Mary Poppins impressions.:
Incorporating Spanish, Italian, and North African influences in their French-inspired Mediterranean fare, the eclectic Old-World cuisine of Mediterranee Restaurant earned a spot on Gayot's list of the Top 10 French Restaurants in Virginia Suburbs in 2012. In addition to classics such as house-prepared pâté and rack of lamb encrusted with herbs de provence, the chef and his staff occasionally move beyond the French borders by incorporating flavors like house-made curry into their dishes. For an extra twist, they'll also add Asian flavors with ingredients such as sichuan peppercorns and baby bok choy.
Ashwani Ahluwalia, proprietor of BRX American Bistro, has always set high standards for himself, graduating with honors from the Bermuda Hotel and Catering College at 18 and immediately joining the staff at the fine-dining restaurant Romanoff. After working in restaurants in the Grand Cayman Islands, cooking for celebrities, Supreme Court justices, and athletes, Ahluwalia eventually settled in Grand Falls. Here, he helms BRX American Bistro, pairing upscale American cuisine with more than 30 wines available by the glass and 95 by the bottle. This service strategy helped Ahluwalia's restaurant earn the 2012 Diners' Choice Award from Opentable.com. He draws inspiration for his menu from his background. This helps Ahluwalia create the hickory-smoked barbecue jamaican baby-back ribs with a housemade sauce's Caribbean flavor, as well as the samosas, which he fills with creamy potatoes and a fresh cilantro-mint chutney inspired by his Indian heritage.
Named for brix, the measure for the sugar content in grapes for wine making, the restaurant naturally features a glass-enclosed wine cellar and an extensive wine list. The establishment welcomes oenophiles to become cellar members and store their prized bottles, purchased at a discount through BRX, in the cellar lockers. Past the cellar and the full bar is the main dining room, lined with long booths and lit by a flickering fireplace and natural light streaming in from the patio doors. These doors grant views of wooden trellises covered with thick green vines and a certain jungle legend swinging from them: Tarzan's stunt double.
Ahluwalia also works hard to give back to the community by hosting charity events and fundraisers for organizations such as the Rotary Club and Food for Others. He notes, "What gives me joy is serving people and not just at the restaurant, but also through community activities," according to an interview on the restaurant's website..
The expert chefs at Mamma Lucia of Reston populate lunch and dinner menus with authentic Italian dishes that were deemed worthy of the 2011 Taste of Reston Judges’ Choice Ribbon for Best Food. Lunch farers stare hunger in the face before beating it over the head with meatball-parmigiana ($8) and italian cold-cut subs ($8). Insalata di mare ($15) unites marinated shrimp, calamari, and scallops to swirl taste buds in a shark-less sea of flavor. For dinner, patrons satiate stomachs with house-made lasagna ($14) or ravioli rose ($14), swimming in marinara sauce with a hint of cream and imported parmigiano cheese. Alternatively, the vitello parmigiana ($20) combines breaded veal cutlet, tomato sauce, and cheese to halt hunger like a seafloor stop sign halts judicious submarine captains. In between forkfuls of mouthwatering cuisine, diners can relax in Mamma Lucia's casual dining room or hang loose while admiring one of the restaurant's many widescreen TVs.
Zagat-rated El Manantial melds a mouthwatering marriage of French, Spanish, and Italian culinary traditions on their expansive dinner menu. Diners bask in a bevy of tapas, which include spanish omelettes ($5.95), crispy thai chicken ($5.95), and embutidos—a divinely delectable combination of cured meat, pork loin, sausage, and manchego cheese that fills conversational gaps and blazer pockets with scrumptiousness ($8). The restaurant's elegant dining room, which is lined with sweeping murals of Mediterranean seascapes, comfortably houses massive entrees from flounder imperial—a blackened mahi mahi filet bedecked in cognac cream sauce ($22.95)—to thinly sliced duck breast ornamented with raspberry dressing ($25.95). The extensive wine list regales palates with Spanish tempranillos and other international vintages by the glass (starting at $7), bottle, and trough.