50 Best Restaurants: Assaggi Osteria & Assaggi Pizzeria duo shines with Italian favorites

What could be better than one great restaurant? Try two. You can find wood-fired pies at one, and more sophisticated Italian dishes at the other.

pizza going in oven
Photo courtesy of Rey Lopez

By Stefanie Gans and Rina Rapuano

Assaggi Osteria & Assaggi Pizzeria

Italian | McLean | $$$$ & $$

Farro swirled around a pot like risotto is even better than the Arborio rice version, nuttier, chewier, a mound of grains with more integrity, and somehow steals the spotlight from a duo of delicate scallops, pudgy rounds both tender and almost juicy.
During the day at Assaggi Osteria, it’s a ladies-who-lunch scene, and the women know where to find sophisticated dishes, housemade bucatini, long, hollow strands glossed in pecorino Romano and lots of pepper; crisp-skinned branzino next to a fresh, lively bed of greens; and a meal completed with foamy cappuccinos and bombolini, huge, round doughnut holes that are warm and creamy and even better swiped through a patch of Nutella or lemon curd.

This post originally appeared in our November 2019 issue’s 50 Best Restaurants cover story. For more food reviews, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Next door, a more casual solution is Assaggi Pizzeria, which fires up chewy pies decorated in creamy cheeses and salty meats. Snacks include fried pasta balls (because why fry up rice, as arancini, when noodles sauced in carbonara is an option?), and artichokes, fried where every petal is coated and crunchy and primed for dipping into a smoked aioli. The kitchens share pastry duties, so go ahead and order those doughnuts on this side too. // 6641 Old Dominion Drive, McLean

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