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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Italian, Pizza
Casual restaurant

Mon–Thu 5:30pm–9:30pm
Fri 5:30pm–10:30pm
Sat noon–10:30pm
Sun 5:00pm–9:30pm

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Cleveland Park
3518 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 537-4800
Pizzas that will put a smile on your face—especially if you’re on the red line

We’re not sure if Sorriso’s location is its virtue or simply its burden to bear. The restaurant sits literally at mouth of the Cleveland Park metro station. The escalator steadily spits out riders a few feet from a smattering of outdoor tables. We suppose the seeming urbanity of it could be a bit fun—if terribly distracting. On the other hand, it’s got to drum up some business; consider the unsuspecting and famished WMATA patron, happy to eat the first thing in sight.

Not that said red-line rider needs to be suspicious of Sorriso. We’ve had some solid pizzas here. A classically simple margherita hits all the right pleasure points. Its cheese is evenly spread (not too thick, not too thin), not dispersed in a few gob-like mounds, as you often see. (It’s not that one method is necessarily preferable to the other—we just find that the former creates a more consistent flavor profile.) Tomato sauce, the crucial ingredient that has the power to make or break the pie, plays sweetness off acidity, and the result is flavorful and balanced. Aah. (Thank God there were no raw tomatoes on this margherita—the hallmark of inauthenticity.) Other permutations are more or less equally successful.

But do keep in mind that it’s the pizzas that are the focus here. Execution on pastas, while not bad, is not on the same level as that of the pizzas. And other Italian-American mains (think veal saltimbocca) aren’t too exciting either. But, for better or for worse, you won’t find anything that’s overstretching on the menu. Preparations are kept largely simple. (For more fancy-schmancy, ambitious, or delicate fare head elsewhere in town—Palena, perhaps?)

Those outdoor tables are nice if you can get past the fact that the metro is right there. But indoors is even cozier, more like the living room and kitchen of a home in rural Italy (all right, maybe there’s some Disneyification going on...). Service, however, can be a bit rushed and distracted, but these guys’ hearts are in the right place.

And that just about sums it up here. It’s not the best, but hey, the price is right. And is it ever convenient...

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