Before the chichi Palena Market opened down the street, Vace was the place to fortify your cupboards. At the spartan Italian market (and its sister location in Bethesda), every inch of shelf space is teeming with hard-to-find gems, including mozzarella made in-house every day, fresh ricotta salata, Italian truffle butter and dressings and spreads, Illy coffees and even fresh biscotti. For a fancy dinner in a hurry, head to the freezers, where you'll find every form of pasta, from veal-stuffed agnolotti to rich, ready-to-bake lasagnas, all freshly made by the shop and packed to go. Few customers leave without something from the deli, which cranks out a mean sub, slicing mortadella, Genoa salami and provolone cheese to order, then piling each an inch thick on crunchy bread with hot peppers, lettuce, onions and dressing.
The simple, thin-crust pizzas may be among the area's best pies. The white pizza with spinach and the plain cheese are big sellers ($1.70 a slice; medium pizzas start at $8). Wait until evening to grab one, and you may find yourself out of luck.
--Lavanya Ramanathan (Aug. 24, 2012)