Greg Powers

Palena Café, Washington, D.C.

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Really the tale of two restaurants, Palena combines an upscale dining room with a prix fixe, and a less formal café with more options. Former White House chef-restaurateur Frank Ruta wows visitors to the Cleveland Park neighborhood with fresh ingredients, elegant pastas, and wood-fired pizza. Pickings include the Shenandoah rabbit, Bacon and Eggs (goose egg ravioli with smoked pork belly and shiitake), and, that’s right, the Palena cheeseburger: a house-ground patty, on a baked sesame bun, with truffle cheese and pickles.

Best Italian Restaurants in the U.S.

Palena Café, Washington, D.C.

Really the tale of two restaurants, Palena combines an upscale dining room with a prix fixe, and a less formal café with more options. Former White House chef-restaurateur Frank Ruta wows visitors to the Cleveland Park neighborhood with fresh ingredients, elegant pastas, and wood-fired pizza. Pickings include the Shenandoah rabbit, Bacon and Eggs (goose egg ravioli with smoked pork belly and shiitake), and, that’s right, the Palena cheeseburger: a house-ground patty, on a baked sesame bun, with truffle cheese and pickles.

Greg Powers

Best Italian Restaurants in the U.S.

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