Your guide to the best restaurants and dining hot spots in DC's "Little Rome."
The concentration of Catholic churches and monasteries surrounding the campus of Catholic University in this leafy neighborhood earned it the nickname of "Little Rome." In addition to the attendant Italian restaurants that come with that suitable nickname, Brookland is also home to a handful of worth-the-trip restaurants buoyed by an arts and retail center.
The largest Catholic church in the U.S., The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the serene Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land of America, both call Brookland home. The Italian theme continues with the authentic Menomale Pizza Napoletana, serving up wood-fired Neopolitan pizzas and other Naples-inspired dishes. The owners, Ettore and Maria Rusciano, are both certified to make authentic pizza by the (and yes, this is a real thing) Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana in Naples, Italy.
Monroe Street Market is home to the neighborhood's Arts Walk. Nearly 30 artists' studios line an alleyway and welcome Washingtonians to observe, shop and engage as local artists get creative. A stroll along the Arts Walk followed by a meal in a nearby restaurant makes for an inspiring afternoon or evening. No place embodies the artful spirit like Busboys and Poets, a cafe and bookstore inspired by African-American poet Langston Hughes, while Brookland’s Finest serves seasonal, locally sourced food in a casual setting.
Primrose is straight from the wine-and-design-oriented minds of restaurateur Sebastian Zutant and his wife Lauren Winter. The whimsical French bistro greets diners with feathered chandeliers and a baby blue bar boasting 70-plus wines, many from France’s lesser-known regions. Combine the extensive drink list with a small-but-mighty menu of French classics and you have a recipe for the coziest Parisian-inspired evening.
Brookland also makes it easy to sit back and relax with a good, old-fashioned beer. Right Proper Brewing Company's Brookland Tasting Room offers free tours on weekends and pours from 12 taps. At Smith Public Trust, explore the craft beer selection while you listen to some live music or soak in the sun on the deck in the summer. Brookland Pint is another al fresco option, and serves its suds with sustainability in mind. Only American craft beers are on the menu to eliminate transatlantic shipping and most beers are on draft to cut down on the use of recyclable bottles. The pairing menu is also reducing the restaurant’s carbon footprint with locally sourced entrees, appetizers and cheeses.