Last Updated: 7/5/2021
Current Status: Centrolina and its sidekick across the walk way, Piccolina, are doing sit-down service. Piccolina is open Weds – Sunday. You can continue to order Take-out and delivery plus the Market at Centrolina remains open.
Before Times Review:
First Visit: November 2019
Across Palmer Alley from its older sibling, Piccolina da Centrolina is an all-day café with a wood-fired oven. A few years ago, when making notes for a restaurant, I wrote: Amy Brandwein makes good things. Piccolina continues that track record with sumptuous food under the guise of modest fare.
There are eggs, breakfast pastries and coffee to start the day, sandwiches and salads for lunch and quick dinner, and a couple Italian classics like eggplant parma and spinach lasagna available as well. There are also dessert pastries to finish it all off. The lamb sausage scacce is like a squared-off calzone with meat, rapini and cheese in a toasted bread wrapping. Other sandwiches include a Porchetta and a caprese. The caponata is cooked to a deep, sweet flavor offset by the salty olives and acidic eggplant. Carrots, broccoli rabe and other sides can fill out a meal.
The website also notes they have, “a growing collection of bread—all inspired by traditional Italian products lovingly researched by Brandwein, who attended the San Francisco Bread Institute and traveled throughout Italy to bolster her knowledge—are baked fresh daily by in-house.”
The drink list is limited, but there are a red, white, pink and orange wines by the glass, wines in a can, beer, and spritzes! Centrolina/Piccolina recently added wine director Alissa Diaz to the team and her touch is already showing up.
The space is sunny with big windows looking out on the walkway. There are seven or eight tables inside, a few more outside and half-a-dozen seats at the bar are. The space is meant for relaxing and enjoying the snack, meal or coffee.
Other Guidance: Regardless of the seriousness of the cooking, the spot is casual, though being City Center some of the clientele’s lowbrow attire will still be expensive. Despite the focus on bread, pastries and sandwiches, there are enough choices for both GF and vegetarians to work with.
Rating: Worth Taking a Walk
Cuisine: Sandwiches/Salads (Italian style)
Neighborhood: Chinatown/City Center
Address: 963 Palmer Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001
Reservations: Opentable on Site
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