Food critic

This restaurant is one of 10 classics in The Washington Post’s 2019 Fall Dining Guide.

Bucatini with pancetta, onions and spicy tomato sauce at Il Pizzico in Rockville. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Il Pizzico


Hoping to be home at night, Enzo Livia opened his business — 29 years ago — as an Italian deli. A year in, customers told the Sicilian native they wanted to linger, and he turned the Rockville storefront into a first-come, first-served restaurant. Here’s to squeaky wheels and the chef who listened to them.

Il Pizzico is a checklist of what diners want from a neighborhood restaurant. Bread, served with black olive tapenade, is warm. The dining rooms are softly lit and soundproofed. The cooking — sweet corvina kissed with lemon butter, bucatini tossed with pancetta and a kicky tomato sauce — is devoted to good ingredients, simply handled. The icing on the torta is suave service.

“It’s been a good run so far,” says Livia. Here’s to decades more, and to the hope that the aioli-striped salmon croquettes and lemon cake with limoncello gelato — pure sunshine — live on.

2 stars (Good)

Il Pizzico: 15209 Frederick Rd., Rockville. 301-309-0610.

Open: Dinner Monday through Saturday, lunch weekdays.

Prices: Dinner mains $17-$29.

Sound check: 70 decibels / Conversation is easy.