Positano Ristorante

$$$$ ($15-$24)
A local favorite with a homemade recipe for success.
Mon-Thu 11:30am-10:00pm Fri 11:30am-10:30pm Sat noon-10:30pm Sun noon-9:00pm
Bethesda (Red Line)

Editorial Review

Updated December 2011

Positano, housed in a series of buildings along nearby Fairmont Avenue, has the feel of a small Italian village -- an entire village. The restaurant features terra cotta tile floors, terra cotta tile roofs, faux grape vines, a warren of dining rooms, rustic-style chairs (which, like those in Italy, aren't particularly comfortable), and realistic murals of Venice, though most of the dishes aren't remotely Venetian.

The menu is little different from what one might find in a trattoria in Rome or along the Amalfi coast: lasagne, manicotti, penne and spaghetti, as well as several veal and chicken preparations. The house carafe is a perfectly suited accompaniment.

The white pizza was excellent, garlicky and chewy with cheese on one visit, but a bit dry on another. The cannelloni, stuffed with a rustic meat filling of chicken, veal and cheese, is made of exquisitely thin pasta and accompanied by a fresh-tasting chunky tomato sauce.

The veal is fork tender and moist, whether prepared Milanese style (flattened and breaded), piccata (with a lemon caper sauce) or Marsala (with a wine mushroom sauce). Each of the sauces complemented rather than overwhelmed the delicate meat.

The ice cream desserts were best: the traditional fruit- and nut-laden spumoni and the chocolate-dipped tartufo.

-- Going Out Guide staff