Options abound when searching for good pizza in Washington DC – especially for those who are fond of the thin, Neapolitan-style crust. Allow us to be your guide as you search for the best pies in town and sample the flavors of Italy, Washington style.
Pizzeria, Restaurant, Italian, Fast Food, Vegetarian, $$$
2 Amys uses traditional ingredients and methods to produce authentic Neapolitan style pizzas, as outlined through the strict guidelines laid out by the Italian government. For the dough, the pizzeria uses soft-grain flour, fresh yeast, water and sea salt. Only Italian plum tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil and dried oregano are permitted as toppings. What’s more, all pies are fired in a traditional, wood-burning oven.
At Seventh Hill, customers can grab a seat at the bar to watch the pizza prep take place right before their eyes. This is a bright and cozy neighborhood restaurant, located just down the street from the Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. The restaurant’s oven, which is the centerpiece of the small space, is made from stones imported from France. Its heat produces perfectly charred and crispy crusts for the pizzas that are named after Capitol Hill landmarks.
Menomale – Italian for “thank goodness” – is another Neapolitan-inspired pizzeria that opened in DC’s Brookland neighborhood in 2012. Owners Ettore and Maria Rusciano are certified pizza makers – called pizzaioli in Italy – by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana in Naples. The wood-burning oven is hand-crafted and fires the pizzas at temperatures of up to 900°F, giving them a unique flavor and texture. The Brooklandissima is a veggie pie that includes zucchini, eggplant, peppers, artichokes, gorgonzola, mozzarella, garlic and basil – definitely worth a try.
Bacio Pizzeria is a carry-out pizzeria in the Bloomingdale neighborhood that was started up by Atilla Suzer, a Turkish immigrant who has worked his way up in the DC pizza scene over the years. Housed in a former garage, the space features several interesting design choices, such as an antique Coca-Cola refrigerator and Turkish floor tiles, a nod to Suzer’s heritage. The menu consists of nine creations named after different DC neighborhoods that are prepared using organic ingredients only.
Il Canale is aptly named, as it is located right next to the C&O Canal in the heart of Georgetown. Owner Joe Farruggio was born in Sicily and came to the United States at the age of 17. The pizza here follows in the Neapolitan tradition, with classic thin crusts and simple ingredients. For a pizza that’s kicked up a notch, go with the diavola – it’s topped with a spicy salami that packs quite the punch!
The original Pizzeria Paradiso opened in 1991 on the second floor of a small townhouse in Dupont Circle. The restaurant has since expanded into a new space in the same neighborhood and has two other locations in the DC area. Owner and chef Ruth Gresser trained at Madeleine Kamman’s Classical and Modern French Cooking School before focusing on pizza making. For a non-traditional pizza, check out the Bottarga – it comes with egg and cured fish roe, a Mediterranean delicacy.
Like Pizzeria Paradiso, Matchbox started out with just one location in the DC metro area and has since expanded to other parts of town. Located in Chinatown, the original restaurant is set in a skinny brick townhouse built in the 1920s that resembles a matchbox. It was obvious that the building had been abandoned for quite some time – it even had a tree growing in the middle of it! These days though, Matchbox is best known for its crisp, brick-oven pizzas and its sleek, modern decor.
Etto is owned by the same people in charge at 2 Amys. Given that connection, pizza is certainly the star at this Logan Circle restaurant. The crust here is slightly sweeter than the one at its sister restaurant, and there are about six toppings available that tend to change on a daily basis. One of the highlights is the roasted cauliflower pizza that includes capers, pine nuts, anchovies and breadcrumbs.
RedRocks owner James O’Brien’s passion for pizza dates back to his childhood years growing up in New Jersey, as well as time he spent in places like New York and New Haven, Connecticut. The Columbia Heights location is set in a converted rowhouse, with servers that will make any customer feel immediately welcome. For a pizza that is a bit out-of-the-ordinary, try the Coletta, a pie with roasted chicken, smoked mozzarella, red onion and Memphis style barbecue sauce.
The cleverly named District of Pi is located in Penn Quarter and serves up Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Speaking of Chicago and DC, President Barack Obama is a fan of this place – after first enjoying Pi pizza in 2008, he called the restaurant to tell them it was the best pizza he’d ever had. A year later, Pi Pizzeria ventured over to President Obama’s house and became the first restaurant to prepare a meal at the White House. While known for the thick, deep dish variety of pizzas, Pi also offers thin crust options to boot.