50 Best Restaurants 2017: Dolce Vita Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar

An Italian restaurant in Fairfax

Two words: pizza cone.

Could a restaurant serve something as bro-friendly, as plebeian, as pedestrian as a pizza cone and still manage to be one of the best restaurants in Northern Virginia?
Two words: yes, actually.

The pizza cone is just as you imagine, if you’re envisioning pizza crust shaped like an ice-cream cone, stuffed with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and, if you want, sausage, pepperoni, pancetta, etc. It’s amazing, sinful, fun, a bar treat to get messy with, pulling cheese and letting sauce drip everywhere.

There’s sophistication, too: veal and beef fill housemade tortellacci, large, curvy pockets of fresh pasta bobbing in a meaty, mushroomy broth. Fettuccine Alfredo, a dish so simple it can often fail, feels light here (thanks to white wine) but remains soulfully creamy.
With new owners taking over the 20-plus-year-old restaurant over two years ago, Dolce Vita’s vibe sits firmly in the past with oversized booths and kitschy Italian murals. The neighboring wine bar feels fresher with bottles lining the walls and stacks of microgreens growing against the window. Both rooms offer the full menu, including cicchetti (Italian small plates) like meatballs, firm but tender and topped with pesto and feta, and chewy gnocchi under sauteed shrimp in a rich Pernod sauce. Oh, and there are pizza cones.

Dolce Vita Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar
Italian | $$
10824 Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax

(50 Best Restaurants 2017November 2017)