Enjoy elegant Italian at this Bethesda trattoria
Almost every major street in downtown Bethesda is dotted with one or two Italian restaurants aiming to distinguish themselves from the rest with unique flourishes and affectations. From the minute you step into Cesco to the second you leave, this trattoria will make you feel like royalty, if only for one night.
Cesco's special touches are evident from the beginning of the night. Inside, the restaurant is decorated like a posh Italian villa, with muted beige walls, soft, romantic lighting and white flowers in glass vases. About twenty five tables covered in bright white tablecloths fill the spacious main room, with plenty of space between tables to give diners privacy while eating and a large bar with a collection of sparkling glasses that hang from the ceiling in ordered rows.
After seating patrons, waiters bring about small dishes of frittata, the Italian take on an omelet. The frittata, which is packed with the flavors of eggs and peppers, is delicious alone or with the tomato sauce that accompanies it. Along with the frittata comes a basket with a collection of delicious breads and breadsticks. And while it is tempting to ask for a refill of the bread basket, exercise self-control — the food only gets better.
Another tasty entrée is the cappellacci, a collection of a dozen filled pasta shells for $14.50. Fans of the herb rosemary will love its appearance in this dish, where it enlivens the pasta filling and adds fragrance to the meal. Though the shells seemed a little gummy and undercooked, the flavors in the ricotta cheese and spinach filling made up for any lack of goodness in the shells.
But the "piece de resistance" at Cesco isn't a pasta dish; it's the vendure griglia, a plate of grilled vegetables. The dish comes out from the oven smoking hot and fills the air with scents that will make you reminisce about summer nights on the deck with a barbecue grill. The vegetables include peppers, zucchini and cabbage, and they are each grilled perfectly – with crispy outsides and juicy, tender insides. At only $6, the vendure griglia should be a staple at every table.
Since food alone does not make a dining experience enjoyable, Cesco also pays attention to small details. The waiters are polite and friendly, and food is served almost immediately after being ordered. The ambient music – sounds of famous Italian performers – also adds to the diner's enjoyment. The restaurant exudes an atmosphere of casual elegance, and makes all patrons feel at home.
So, if you have a special event coming up, or if you just want to make an ordinary night special, head out to Cesco trattoria for an evening of dining in style.
The Cesco Trattoria is located on 4871 Cordell Ave., in Bethesda. For timings and reservations, call (301) 654-8333.
Priyanka Gokhale. More »