Robert Z. Easley

Patrenella's Italian Restaurant

Robert Z. Easley
This old-school Italian spot has been in the Heights off Washington since well before the neighborhood became a nightlife hotspot (the Patrenella family built the house where the restaurant is now located in 1938), and eating here still feels more like visiting an Italian neighbor's place for a plate of spaghetti than going out to dinner. The service at Patrenella's is endearingly familial, and the cozy, elegant dining room and leafy patio next to the bocce court are ideal places to peruse the wine list and choose between the menu's pasta, seafood, chicken and veal dishes. Josephine's lasagna – named for owner Sammy Petrenella's wife – is particularly delicious. At least ten layers of pasta, each covered with homemade meat sauce, ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, are topped off with slices of mozzarella that have blistered under the broiler. Seafood offerings include pan-roasted salmon accompanied by an eggplant Napoleon and seared scallops served with a hearty basil risotto.

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