Foodie Finds: il Canale, the Best Restaurant in Georgetown

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Dec 16, 2014 / 0 comments

It is rare, when traveling, to find THE perfect restaurant. You know what I mean – we do the research (urbanspoon, yelp, chowhound), look at maps, try to figure out where you’re staying and what’s around there. But you still never know about service, food quality, location, and if it will fit your family.

Such was the case when we were in Washington, DC last week to attend the White House Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship. But you know me – travel is all about the food. So I subscribed to the food truck newsletters (if you live in the country, you don’t have access to food trucks!), read newspapers and food guides, and narrowed down our one meal we had open to an extraordinary restaurant in the Georgetown neighborhood – il Canale.


Pizza at il Canale

OK. I have to say it. Best. Pizza. Ever.


I couldn’t have chosen better. il Canale was PERFECT.


Setting: Georgetown - a vibrant, eclectic, hip neighborhood in DC.


il Canale, Georgetown, DC

A trip to Italy, via Georgetown


Dusk, and il Canale beckoned with brightly lit lights, colorful interior, amazing hanging lights that I covet, and a cheerful crowd, ranging from dates to families to student groups. Come in the daytime, and peek around the corner to see the beautiful canal (hence the name).


Canal in Georgetown, next to il Canale restaurant

Georgetown canal, next to il Canale (above and below)

Canal in Georgetown, next to il Canale restaurant


But I digress...


il Canale, Georgetown, DC

Doesn't it make you want to go inside?


Enter and see a hot wood-fired pizza oven imported from Naples, people waiting for their ordered pizzas to go, and a welcoming hostess to seat us.


Pizza oven at il Canale, Georgetown

Wood fired pizza oven


We meandered through the room, through conversations and happy diners. Once at our table, our Italian waitress came and helped us decide what was best – we ordered crispy bruschetta, flavorful meatballs, and two different pizzas (Ed is allergic to cheese).

And then the food began to arrive at the table. We were hungry and didn’t want to stop to take photos, yet the travel blogger in me insisted (aren’t you lucky? Order these things when you go there!). The meatballs were the best we’ve ever had. The bruschetta had a perfect balance of ingredients; I wished I had ordered a double plate.


menu at il Canale, Georgetown

Reading this menu makes me happy


Bruschetta at il Canale, Georgetown

Can you smell the basil?


Appetizer: Meatballs at il Canale, Georgetown

Lillie ate 3 of the 4 meatballs (lucky girl!)


AND then the pizza…

Words fail me, but let me try: Extraordinary. Light. Flavorful. Chewy. Authentic.

Serving Neapolitan pizza, il Canale has the best pizza in town (I asked around, at our hotel, on the street, online. YES.). Once you’ve had this, why go anywhere else? The happy crowds are a sure sign of goodness. My tastebuds concur.


no cheese pizza at il Canale, Georgetown

No cheese pizza (Ed's allergic)


Did I mention dessert? Crisp cannoli with luscious filling, and a hazelnut gelato. Swoon:


hazelnut gelato, il Canale restaurant, Georgetown

Ed's dessert (above) and our dessert (below). If i had eaten 3 pizzas, I'd still have found room to fit these in.

Cannoli - il Canale restaurant, Georgetown


But in addition to the delicious food, warm buzz of the room, and atmosphere, there’s something that sets il Canale apart.


The people.


Our waitress was kindness personified, as well as helpful and knowledgeable about food allergies.

A shining star was the manager, Giorgio Greco. He went to every table to ascertain if there was anything needed – and was so solicitous of our meals and happiness. I loved delving into a talk about Italy with him – check out this AMAZING photo from Lampedusa, near his home in Sicily:


Lampedusa, Sicily.


Giorgio left Sicily (and that clear, blue sea) to head to DC to work in the family business that is il Canale. I, for one, am glad he’s here – his passion for the delicious food and the satisfaction of his customers shows through in everything in the restaurant. He is truly an authentic restauranteur, which makes, for me, this restaurant stand out from the crowd. His warm welcome, chatting about Italy, and genuine caring for us provided, by far, the best restaurant experience we’ve ever had.


Highly recommended!


colorful art in il Canale, Georgetown

colorful art


And report back:  when you eat at il Canale, tell us what you ordered...


My favorite art at il Canale – this gorgeous (and enormous) sea sculpture called to the mermaid in me:

Art at il Canale, Georgetown



il Canale

1063 31st St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 337-4444



Il Canale on Urbanspoon



Photos courtesy of Jessie Voigts and Giorgio Greco (that amazing Sicily photo, and the canal photos - thank you!)