Chef Frank Ruti named his popular Cleveland Park eatery after the small Italian village that his mother hails from, and that deep connection to the land and its people informs each and every one of his dishes. Palena offers two very different eating experiences. The dining room is open from Tuesday through Saturday and offers a popular prix fixe tasting menu, while the café is open seven days a week, doesn’t take reservations, and offers all menu items a la carte. Whichever you choose, you’re in for a truly fantastic meal. Some dishes that draw raves from seasoned diners include the monkfish with large salted beans, which transforms the notoriously difficult fish into a spectacular entrée, as well as all of the hand-made pastas. The café has become famous for its exceptional hamburgers, made from the best beef and garnished with a simple slice of cheese and pickles.