Best Italian Contemporary: Spinasse

From the outside, it’s easy to overlook Spinasse. Its minuscule signage and the lace curtains blocking any view into the interior of the Capitol Hill restaurant mean many would-be diners unwittingly pass it up. But oh, are they missing out. Inside, dine on Northern Italian cuisine perfected: unfussy dishes with very few ingredients, which means every element of the dish sings. A favorite is the delightfully delicate, finely cut egg pasta with sage and butter—and that’s it. Bits of aromatic sage cling to the moist, thin noodles, and it all goes down so effortlessly that I’m genuinely sad when it’s over. Sitting at the bar means you get a front-row seat to the busy kitchen, where true artisans are hard at work stuffing ravioli, rolling sheets of pasta again and again through a machine before draping them in the kitchen window, or slicing disks of crusty bread. Spinasse’s kitchen also makes its own salumi and vinegars, other small gestures that lend to outstanding dining.

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