Hi, I'm interested in finding some good italian food in DC, specifically in the city itself as opposed to the suburbs. I've looked at things like the Post's reviews, but I'm really more interested in what people here have to say.
Since there may be a lot of different opinions about what consistutes a "good italian place" let me state a few criteria: I'm a grad student; while I'm not impoverished, I'd like to find a place that is not too expensive (prefferably entres for about $20 or less). I don't drink wine, so the quality and selection of wines is completely immaterial. I'm mainly concerened with the taste of the food, not so much with presentation of food or decor of the restaurant, etc. At this point it may become clear that my criteria probably differ somewhat from those of a restaurant review column. Service is somewhat important. I don't need to be treated like "lord of the manner" but I also don't want to have to send out a search expedition to find the waiter nor be treated with outright rudeness (which does sometimes happen, as we know).
So, any good suggestions?
Some extra details: I like the "italian food" you get at most common restaurants, but I'd like to explore a wider veriety. Olive Garden is fine, but, for example, I'd love to see what interesting uses can be made of proscutto, which is delicious. I've been to a place called "That's Amore" in Vienna, VA, which was tasty, but I imagine there's a lot more variety in italian food out there than these restaurants represent. I'm particularly interested in trying some of the spicier italian cuisine that I'm told exists. I've also been told that most of the italian you find in the US is more southern italian and that northern italian cuisine is a lot different, so I'm also curious to try that.
Thanks for suggestions.