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Food and Restaurants

Best Italian Restaurant & Fried Calamari (Readers' Pick)

Olazzo

Red sauce rules at this friendly trattoria, which took home the “Best Italian” trophy both this year and last. Brothers Roberto and Riccardo Pietrobono focus on Roma’s greatest hits—from penne topped with plump, house-made meatballs ($14) and hearty lasagna Bolognese ($15) to chicken parmesan ($15) and saffron-accented arancini rice balls with molten mozzarella cores ($8).

“It’s the food we grew up on,” Roberto says. “A lot of these dishes are based on family recipes.”

With a crunchy crust that yields to tender bangles of meat inside, the calamari ($10) are peerless, earning Olazzo top honors in this year’s “Best Fried Calamari” category, as well. Gobble them up plain, with a spritz of lemon juice or dunked in warm marinara sauce. But no matter how you enjoy them, get a double order because these golden rings go quickly.

7921 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda, 301-654-9496; 8235 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, 301-588-2540, www.olazzo.com

Other Top Vote Getters: (Best Italian) Pines of Rome, Mamma Lucia, Assaggi, Il Pizzico; (Best Fried Calamari) Black’s Bar & Kitchen, Pines of Rome, Capital Grille