Pines of Rome: a forest of flavors

Feb. 13, 2007, midnight | By Alexis Egan Bridget Egan | 14 years, 9 months ago

Bethesda's Italian restaurant a good find

Despite the excess of restaurants in the D.C. metropolitan area, finding a perfect place to dine is often a process just as painful as watching somebody incorrectly answer the 200 dollar question on "Jeopardy." If the "Jeopardy" answer is "a superb Italian restaurant in Bethesda" then, without a doubt, the question is "What is Pines of Rome?"

Located just a block away from the Bethesda Metro station, Pines of Rome is tucked away at 4709 Hampden Drive. Although the restaurant consists of several large eating areas, each dining area maintains a small and cozy atmosphere without feeling cramped or loud. And while the vibrant posters of Rome and Italy that adorn the walls won't transport diners to Italy, they create a friendly and distinct ambiance.

Every meal begins with a complementary bread basket of soft white bread perfect for absorbing the extra flavor from the main course dishes. Before dining on the main course, various appetizers, or antipastos, are available, ranging from fried eggplant and artichoke hearts to side salads and calamari. Among these choices is a succulent mushroom dish, a savory blend of spices, oils and sauce served over sautéed mushrooms.

Of the many main courses, most are typical Italian dishes: spaghetti, lasagna and pasta. Try the daily fish choice, which is tender and moist, presented with angel hair pasta with homemade tomato sauce. The thick linguine with white sauce is both filling and creamy and will make a delicious addition to your meal.

For more conservative diners, the traditional spaghetti with meatballs will not disappoint. Tender meatballs mixed with a homemade tomato sauce and delicious pasta prove that going back to basics is okay and that the name of a dish does not have to be unpronounceable to be a winner.

Despite the appeal and flavor of the food, the staff and ambiance leaves much to be desired. The waiters rarely check on the customers, not even to refill water glasses or take away plates, and extreme effort must be used to flag down a waiter for the final check. Additionally, the restaurant, although beautiful adorned with paintings and decorations, is drafty, making dining very uncomfortable.

If diners are willing to wear an extra jacket and spend a little more time when dining at "Pines of Rome," this establishment will leave you satisfied.

Alexis Egan. Alexis is a (very) short junior, who is very pleased to be writing for Chips Online with all her friends. Along with writing, her other hobbies are playing soccer, reading about Mount Everest and listening to any Irish music. Her favorite movie is The Princess … More »

Bridget Egan. Bridget Egan is a Communications Art student (graduating in 2007) who loves "CSI" and The Who. When she isn't doing anything related to school work, she is drawing abstract art, reading comic books and normal books and learning to play the bagpipes. Bridget also has … More »

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