Tragara Ristorante

Italian
$$$$ ($25-$34)
Perhaps the priciest and fanciest restaurant in Bethesda. Take note of the appetizers.
Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2:30 pm Dinner Mon-Thu 5:30-10 pm Fri-Sat 5:30-10:30 pm Sun 5-9 pm
(Bethesda)
Bethesda (Red Line)
301-951-4935
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Editorial Review

Picture an elegant dining room bathed in soft beige, pink and mocha hues. A tiny vase with two roses sits on top of each pink tablecloth.

Tragara is a place for those times when money is no object and you want fine food in a pretty environment. The lunch crowd is a well-heeled group of businessmen, interspersed with a few tables of lunching ladies. At night, the tables are filled with businesspeople during the week and over-30 couples on the weekend.

Pay special attention to the appetizers. Pepperoni in padella, warm sweet red peppers cooked with garlic, capers and olives, is a subtle contrast of sweet and sour. Baked stuffed artichokes are dressed with olive oil, garlic, bits of olive and capers. Don't miss the sampler that combines spinach agnolotti in a cream sauce with capellini in a fresh tomato sauce. Talk about double dipping! It's available as either an appetizer or an entree.

The intense fruit sorbets make a refreshing end to a meal, and the moon-shaped sugar cookies on top are a nice touch.

-- Beth Brophy