Lined with outdoor eateries, this stretch of 17th Street in Dupont Circle is like an outdoor party in warm weather (and popular all year round in our post-pandemic life). Anchoring the corner of R and 17th is Dupont Italian Kitchen, opened in 1986 by two immigrant brothers, Michael and Tony. The restaurant’s welcoming vibe makes it a community hangout for loyal locals and a favorite among LGBTQ residents and their families. The upstairs bar features karaoke and drag (check with the restaurant for events) and is a favored spot to view the Pride Parade or the 17th Street High Heel Race, run the Tuesday before Halloween.
While the menu is heavily skewed towards homestyle pasta and pizza — a large selection including lasagna, ravioli and fettuccine Alfredo with shrimp, and an option to build your own pie from a dozen toppings– it’s a mistake to skip the less traditional Italian offerings – a plate of Brussels sprouts roasted crisply in the wood-fired grill, for example, or one of the best burgers in town, Italian-themed with pesto and fresh mozzarella. There is a full bar and an interesting list of craft cocktails plus a well-priced wine list with a house wine carafe option. Portions are generous, prices are fair, and the people watching prime.