Italian / $$ / 14115 St. Germain Drive, Centreville
The wait time on a Tuesday at Ciao Osteria can be two hours long, so it’s no surpise owner Sal Speziale bought the space next door, adding gelato, a bar and 60-plus extra seats (set to open early next year). This little Italian restaurant, with homages to American-Italian hybrids and Neapolitan traditions, has become the answer for a night out in Centreville. A specials menu includes seasonal fare like figs wrapped in prosciutto and composed plates like a short rib, served bone-in, though the tender, fatty meat slides right off. It’s paired with saffron-scented risotto and, in the summer, sliced squash. With dishes you’ll recognize—spaghetti in a thin red sauce with snowflake-fragile meatballs, best when doused in Parmesan cheese, and wood-fired pizzas with sausage, salami and so many other Italian meats—it’s a menu with few surprises. It’s familiar in that good, comforting way. You know what to expect. And that’s probably why it’s so popular.