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Al Tiramisu is like taking a trip to Italy without leaving metropolitan Washington DC. It’s the most authentic Italian restaurant in the nation’s capital.

The most distinctive food is imported from Italy””a large selection of whole fish such as Branzini and orata, buffalo mozzarella, sardines, Parma ham, porcini mushrooms, octopus, white and black truffles. Pasta is made on site. “Ragu is made as we did back home in Italy; we grind fine first cut meat. We focus on quality, not quantity,” emphasizes chef/owner Luigi Diotaiuti, “which we can do in a small space.”

The restaurant is cozy, warm, and joyful””reflecting the effervescent and playful personality of Chef Luigi. Witness the Jester logo, Al Tiramisu’s name (translation “cheer me up”), the welcoming “buona sera” greeting. “Al Tiramisu is my life””it’s who I am,” smiles Chef Luigi whose delightful Italian accent and charm sets the tone. “I want people to have great food AND a great time. When people leave happy, I know that what I’m doing in life touches people,” adds Diotaiuti. He has a huge scrapbook of handwritten notes from happy customers.

Happy customers include celebrities and well knowns. “George Clooney””who is fun and real and also brought mom and dad three times””has dined here about 20 times,” says the chef/owner. Others include Harrison Ford, Placido Domingo, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zita Jones, Demi Moore, Bill Cosby, Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Steve Case, Wolf Blitzer, and Pelé. Magic Johnson and David Letterman also ordered carry out.

Opening Al Tiramisu in March 1996 was Chef Luigi’s “American Dream.” A proud dual citizen of both Italy and the United States, the restaurateur has successfully managed the restaurant since then through turbulent economic times and two years of disruptive street construction. He credits his loyal customers and makes a point of giving back to the community.

Al Tiramisu’s kitchen is the scene of cooking classes covering all 20 regions of Italy. Chef Luigi provides a real “flavor” of each region””its history, culture, inhabitants, and food and wine specialties””before students enjoy three courses with wine pairings from the region. Chef Luigi has even hosted cooking classes for elementary school children in his kitchen.

Additional Details

  • Dinner, Fine Dining, Healthy, Lunch