DC's Must-Visit Italian Restaurants for Food Enthusiasts

Buon Appetito: DC’s Must-Visit Italian Restaurants for Food Enthusiasts

The Italian restaurant scene in Washington, D.C. is a monument to the city’s vast diversity and its status as a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. D.C.’s Italian restaurants provide a range of flavors from the classic to the modern for those who want to travel across Italy’s cuisine without ever leaving the city.

In 2024, D.C.’s Italian restaurants are prepared to take your taste buds to the heart of Italy, whether you’re wanting the elegant setting of a Michelin-starred restaurant or the rustic appeal of a trattoria.

Come along as we discover the must-try Italian eateries that will satisfy any appetite.

The Red Hen

This quaint corner cafe in Bloomingdale is cozy, to put it mildly. Thanks to the open kitchen and its Argentine-style grill made entirely of Virginia oak, it’s practically one big hearth.

DC's Must-Visit Italian Restaurants for Food Enthusiasts

The majority of the Italian-inspired meals, such as the chicken with kale, fingerling potatoes, and currants, halt briefly in the fire before reaching your plate.

Chef Michael Friedman’s homemade rigatoni with sausage ragu is the best dish of all; it will make you forget all about your carb worries.


Chef Fabio Trabocchi made a name for himself as the go-to spot in Washington for delicious, decadent Italian food when he opened Fiola in 2011.

DC's Must-Visit Italian Restaurants for Food Enthusiasts

Of course, the star of the show is the pasta, notably the soft pappardelle with ragu bolognese. But seafood is a major supporting act, and the bar serves a substantial cocktail menu that includes six negroni varieties.

To cap off a decadent evening, request some bomboloni, which are ricotta donuts made in the Sardinian way.

Read More: This City Has Been Named the Foodie City in Colorado

Acqua Al 2

Ari Gejdenson, a resident of Washington, DC, has introduced Acqua al 2, renowned globally for authentic Tuscan cooking, to Capitol Hill.

DC's Must-Visit Italian Restaurants for Food Enthusiasts

Popular for its Balsamic and Blueberry fillets, Bisteca alla Fiorentina, assortment of vegetarian pasta dishes, and daily fresh fish options, this cozy and rustic eatery provides a genuine dining experience that will whisk you away to Florence.

Read More: Mouthwatering Mexicana: Where to Find the Best Mexican Food in San Jose

Fiola Mare

The same skillful chef behind Fiola and Casa Luca, Fabio Trabocchi, is the creator of this gem of the Georgetown waterfront. With pleasant diversions like docking boats and shimmering chandeliers in the luxurious dining area (maritime kitsch need not apply), it’s difficult to concentrate on your meal.

DC's Must-Visit Italian Restaurants for Food Enthusiasts

However, meals like whole doles sliced at the table and Maine halibut poached in olive oil capture your interest. Get a seafood tower that rivals Pisa for the complete rigmarole.

Full of raw and cooked seafood, clams, and more, the stack is served cold over crushed ice. For a memorable occasion, this is undoubtedly the spot—with a price tag to match.

Read More: Seafood Cravings: Where to Find the Best Crab Cake in Baltimore

Osteria Morini

Osteria Morini honors the relaxed, rustic atmosphere and food of Emilia-Romagna, in Northern Italy. Chef Michael White owns the informal Italian eatery Osteria Morini.

DC's Must-Visit Italian Restaurants for Food Enthusiasts

At Osteria Morini, Chef White carries on the legacy of hospitality by converting his original restaurant in Washington, D.C. into an authentic, old-world osteria featuring soulful food from the Emilia-Romagna area of Northern Italy. The word “osteria” in Italian refers to a place where the proprietor “hosts” visitors.

Read More: Explore Boston’s Japanese Food Scene: 5 Hidden Treasures


There is something for every taste and budget in Washington, D.C.’s Italian culinary scene, from small trattorias to Michelin-starred extravagance.

You’re sure to discover the ideal location to have a virtual trip to Italy without ever leaving the city, whether your cravings are for fresh seafood, homemade pasta, or substantial regional delicacies.

So gather your loved ones, peruse the varied selections, and embark on a culinary journey into the heart of Italy right here in Washington, D.C.