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Best Pizza in DC Metro Area

I'm new to the area and I'm coming from New York City where there is great pizza on every corner. I haven't been able to find anything that comes even close to New York style pizza in the district. Anyone have suggestions?

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  1. Pizzeria Paradiso and 2 Amys are the best pizzas around here. They are Neopolitan style and not New York style. As for New York style, there probably won't be anything here that will satisfy you.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ChewFun

      I agree with ChewFun. There's some good pizza here, but there aren't good corner slice joints, and most of it isn't NY style. I humbly recommend you learn to enjoy what is unique and good about DC (and there is lots), and don't look for NY here.

      1. re: Smokey

        I third both of these posters. DC isn't a New York pizza town. But that certainly never turned me off of 2 Amys, which I think is the best in the area, and among my favorite pizzas anywhere. Vace is also terrific, if you want takeout.

        1. re: ftrain

          I completely agree with ftrain, ChewFun, and Smokey. IMHO, 2 Amys is the best Neapolitan style pizza in DC with Pizzeria Paradiso coming in a close second. As for New York style, I've yet to try anything comparable here in DC. One pizza place I wonder about is Ella's in Penn Quarter, but I've never been there.

          1. re: Gigi007

            Ella's has nothing in common with NY-style pizza.

      2. re: ChewFun

        Tony's is good. I live about 10 minutes from Tony's.

        THOMAS'S in Woodbridge, VA on Route 1....blows it away in my opinion though. It's just so delicious. It's NY style. Even the fried calamari is delicious.

        1. re: JEDIKNIGHT

          if Tony's is NY-style, it's *bad* NY-style. doesn't even come close to the better offerings up north.

      3. Washington Deli at 20th and I says it's pizza is "Long Island style.'' No Grandma pizza in sight but they do have good pies with basic toppings plus a happening Sicilian. I agree that nothing in DC compares to NYC but this place is worth checking out if you';re downtown.
        Also, Matthew's in Baltimore is great. Not NY style, but delicious and totally original. The place has been around since WW II.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dan f.

          As a born and raised New Yorker I also bemoan the lack of neighborhood pizza. Washington Deli is pretty good if you're looking for slices and sicilian. Their lunch special is pretty good. I'd go here again.

        2. I believe there have been some recent threads on this you could search. I would link, but I am just too lazy at the moment. Some really long ones as I remember. Italian Store in Arlington is good, but there has been general agreement in almost all threads that nothing here is going to be quite the same so be prepared.

          1. If you like Patsy's pizza in NY, you might like the pizza at Amici Mei in Potomac, or is it Rockville? Its not cooked in a coal oven, but its similar.

            1. Matchbox or Ella's in Penn Quarter (wood-burning ovens). Vacce in Cleveland Park (for take out), and the Italian Store in Arlington (take out) are probably the closest to NY style. 2 Amys and Pizzeria Paradiso are good too. I had a very good pizza once at Sorriso in Cleveland Park, but that was a couple years ago.

              3 Replies
              1. re: MBinDC

                I 2nd Vacce in Cleveland Park. I'm not even a big pizza lover but I tried my bfs once and it was pretty tasty.

                1. re: MBinDC

                  MBinDC: Are you affiliated with MatchBox in DC? If so, you should be candid about your affialition when recommending your own restaurant.

                  1. re: MBinDC

                    Matchbox is nothing like a New York slice. Although, it's quality gourmet.

                  2. The best pizzas in the area are:
                    2 Amys margherita
                    Pizzeria Paradiso's Atomica
                    Vace with olives, onions and sweet peppers (carry out only)
                    PieTanza (Arlington) Red and Yellow Tomato Pie

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Steve

                      Second this. The Atomica is wow!

                      1. re: Steve

                        I'll be in DC in 3 weeks, which one is a must - if I have to do just one?

                      2. I moved from NYC to DC years ago and mourned the loss of pizza for many months. That said, Vace in Cleveland Park is the best slice option. Pizzeria Paradiso is fine, but I became a big fan of 2 Amys when it opened. I get the Margherita, but with oregano. Also, absolutely everything on the daily bar menu is delicious.

                        1. Pizzaiolo in Crystal City is a new contender and a new fave of mine and Mrs D's, the NY style not the Neopolitan. comes pretty darn close to our CT homeland. they do our combo of kalamata olive and onion, yum yum yum!

                          we recently tried Piola in Rosslyn, it LOOKED good but the dough was soggy, limp. eh

                          1. Two choices, a classic is the Italian Store in Arlington, great sandwiches as well and a new up and comer is Vapiano, they make awesome personal pies, better than NY. I just moved down from NYC in July and have come to grips by surviving on the pizza from these two places, Vapiano is a little New York style, where the Italian store doesn't always measure up.

                            1. Tony's NY Pizza in Fair Lakes (Fairfax) comes as close as I've found around here. Pizzeria Paradiso and 2 Amys offer fancypants gourmet Neapolitan-style pies that probably aren't what you're looking for.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Lowbar

                                I haven't been to Tony's but have heard from a couple of people that it's the closest to NY that you can possibly find in DC. I met someone in an elevator in downtown DC who had gone out to Fairfax for lunch b/c he had a craving for NY pizza. Vace is great if you order it ahead; usually the pies sitting out have gone stale.

                                1. re: Lowbar

                                  I completely agree about Tony's. As a former New Yorker, I would even recommend renting a car if you have to. The pizza is a close as you're going to get to NYC, but more to the point, it *feels* like home. It's owned and run by an Italian family, complete with accents and generous treatment. The last time I was there, the folks from Chutzpah (the closest thing to a NY deli in this area) showed up after their own kitchen closed, and the time before that, the owner/manager was insisting that some of his regulars take home some profiteroles "on the house." I love places like that.

                                  1. re: FoodieGrrl

                                    Tony's in Fair Oaks and Ciro's in Centreville, VA are the closest I've found since moving here from NJ 14 Years ago. Ciro's is greasier, which is why I prefer them over Tony's.

                                    1. re: bootsolo

                                      Ciro's used to be Tony's. I understand there was a falling out of the owners (were they brothers?) and hence the name change to Ciro's.

                                  2. re: Lowbar

                                    I agree. I've been here since 1983 and Tony's in Fair Lakes (now also in Gainesville but not to be confused with Manassas) is the best I've found so far.

                                    I also had great pizza at an event that was supplied by the pizza place at Washington Harbour, where Sequoia and Tony & Joe's is. I don't remember the name.

                                  3. Mia's in Bethesda has great pizza. It's not NY style, but I love it.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                      I have found two great places for NY Style pizza. Valentinos just off Little River Tpke, next to Arbys is very good. ZPizza--I have seen a few around, but have eaten at one on 7 in Falls Church and one in Springfield, next to Home Depot. These pizzas are great--mainly gormet, but they have wonderful plain cheese and pepperoni. I believe they use organic sauce. At both you can have in by the slice.

                                      1. re: Custis

                                        I will have to try this Valentino's. I don't think there is anything NYC about ZPizza, other than being able to order by the slice and being somewhat thin...it's what's coming to be known as "California" style. I also think ZPizza sucks, but I generally thought all of the California-style places sucked when I was living in California (there were fortunately good NY style joints to be found though), so its just a matter of taste/preference most likely as most other people here seem to like it.

                                        1. re: Lowbar

                                          I think Zpizza is, well, just fine. I agree with you, lowbar, it ain't NY pizza.

                                          1. re: Smokey

                                            ZPizza is not bad, but for the money their plain pizza stinks. Stick to some of their "gourmet" combinations, like the Tuscan mushroom.

                                            And yes, there's nothing NY about it. It's closer to CPK-style.

                                            I'll second the recs for Tony's in Fair Lakes, the Italian Store, and Vace.

                                            1. re: Bob W

                                              yes! their tuscan mushroom pizza is great... if that's what you like. Also, their california veggie pizza. But the best around is Tony's, hands down, for what the OP is looking for.

                                        2. re: Custis

                                          Is there a secret to getting hot and fully cooked pizza at Valentino's? Do you have to order a whole pie? I can't eat that much. <g>

                                          They heat up the slices, and I usually ask them to put them back in the oven for a while longer, but it gets to tasting like warmed over pizza (which is what I'd be eating for a week if I ordered a whole pie.

                                          1. re: Custis

                                            Ordered a large 20" Valentino's pepperoni this weekend. A huge $19 pie, big floppy foldable slices, nice chewy crust. And the leftovers were good hot and cold.

                                            Valentino's New York Style
                                            4813 Beauregard St, Alexandria, VA 22312

                                        3. It's not like New York or New England pizza, but you may enjoy Faccia Luna in Clarendon.

                                          1. I'll echo the others. Looking for NY style in DC is setting yourself up for disappointment. As such, you owe it to yourself to try Ledo's/Mario's DC style pizza. One taste of their unique combination of Bisquick/catsup/smoked cheese "food" and you'll go screaming back to NYC. Or you may love it.

                                            14 Replies
                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                              You can simplify that to "looking for pizza in DC is setting yourself up for disappointment"

                                              1. re: jpschust

                                                Pizza in DC is uniformly dreadful. I lived in Woodley Park, just across the street from Vace, and I like their white pizza, but I've had mixed experiences with other varieties. You need to eat it immediately, I don't think it keeps well.

                                                We used to get pizza delivered from Listrani's on MacArthur Blvd. They now have shops in McLean and Arlington. It is decent pizza but they take forever to get to your house (allow 90 minutes and make sure they have good directions.) http://www.listranis.com/aboutus.htm

                                                2Amy's isn't NY pizza by a long shot (the crust is too thin) but it is good and the atmosphere in the restaurant is great.

                                                1. re: brendastarlet

                                                  2Amys is good pizza, but the downstairs atmosphere is one I'd characterize as authentic Neapolitan nursery and stroller garage. The adults only section upstairs has improved this dramatically.

                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                    did they open the upstairs?
                                                    I've not been in so long and I like their pizza.

                                                    I like Neopolitan over NY-style (i like less cheese and more crispy)

                                                    1. re: Jeserf

                                                      Is it just me, or did 2Amys get skimpier on the toppings in the past, oh, 4 months or so? I used to go there at least once every 2 weeks to pick up a pizza, but was disappointed the last few times I went (pizza of choice: Margherita with olives & mushrooms). [Note: I don't eat there, but take out only -- no waiting in line with screaming children for me - I haven't been there since upstairs opened, if it has]

                                                      I second the vote for The Italian Store, especially their white pizza -- closest I've been to NY style pizza since leaving Manhattan (and my favorite hole in the wall pizza place, Frank's Pizza on 23rd betw/2nd & 3rd ave.) 5 years ago. I only wish it was located closer to NW DC.

                                                      1. re: drjimkim

                                                        2 amys lost their main pizza man not too long ago so that's probably one of the reasons.

                                                        1. re: drjimkim

                                                          I also really like the Italian Store - I use to live right near it and would get a sub from there a couple times a week.

                                                          1. re: CerealKiller

                                                            white pizza at italian store..

                                                            ledos crust can be good.. and they use good pepperoni.. ledos is to pizza hut what chipotle is to taco bell.. maybe?

                                                            I had good pizza at the Il Radicchio on 17th St which is now Vivo a Trattoria.

                                                            bebo in crystal city is great.. how come they dont have pizza on the menu?

                                                            generous georges near old town alexandria is awful.. but worth a look.. as a kid I always had a great time there.

                                                            1. re: jessesaves

                                                              As an adult with a couple schooners of beer, I always have a great time there! But yeah, the kids can take the place over for parties. Still their pizza crust is what most people would agree is pizza crust, unlike the really buttery, almost cake-like crust at Ledos/Unos.

                                                2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                  Oh goodie, another chance to insult Ledo's and those of us that like it.

                                                  1. re: Mister Big

                                                    I've known people that like Ledo's pizza. I don't understand them.

                                                    1. re: Hal Laurent

                                                      I remember enjoying the Ledo's pizza at the original Langley Park location. Ate there in college all the time. What's being sold now at the franchise stores does not resemble what was sold back then, either in quality, flavor, or execution. All they've done is bought the right to use the name and a lot of rectangular pizza pans.

                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                        I've eaten at the Langley Park Ledo's back in the 1980s. I still don't get it.

                                                        1. re: Hal Laurent

                                                          Ledo's is great if you approach it right. Don't think of it as pizza, it is old school Maryland Meat Pie. As such it is the best of its kind. And it does kind of grow on you. At the Langley Park location anyway, the Rte 7 Ledo's is serving something completely different, it is filling but not as tasty.

                                                3. Try Kavanagh Pizza Pub on Wisconsin just south of Calvert St (almost across from Whole Foods). They come very close to NY-style. I know the name doesn't sound very promising but try it anyway. When my son and I visited my daughter (who lives within walking distance) in early April, we ate four of the large pies over the course of a few days. Delicious. My daughter loves 2 Amys and a couple of other stores mentioned in this thread, but she (and my son and I) swears by Kavanagh's. BTW, I'm from NY and I know what you mean by "great pizza on every corner".

                                                  1. You might not think about Laurel, Md. for good Pizza, but Pizza and Pasta Plus on Rt.1 and Route 198 uses a Wood Burning Oven and makes wonderful pie. A Italian owner and lots of fine Italian wine. Even as a Northern New Jersey person, I like it!

                                                    1. It's not NY pizza, but I have always enjoyed Faccia Luna in Old Town - hardly ever see that mentioned on the board. I also like that red and white checked tablecloth place on 19th street - can't remember the name - maybe Lucianos?

                                                      In the VA suburbs, I actually love this place named Victor's in the Whole Fields shopping center in Burke/West Springfield. I'm not advising anyone to make a road trip from DC just for this, but if you are in the area, it's worth a try. It's the closest thing I've found to the pizza I grew up with in South Jersey.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: baconjen

                                                        Luigi's is the red and white checked tablecloth place.

                                                      2. I tried Cafe Pizzaiolo in Crystal City for lunch, though not quite a NYC pizza, it was the best I had here in the DC metro area. They have a great personal lunch pizza that turned out great, I'll be back there.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: gourmetpizza

                                                          I just ate at Cafe Pizzaiolo this weekend and really liked it. I definitely agree with Jamie D (from another thread) that the NY Style is better than the Neopolitan. B-friend and I split one of each of the lunch sized. I would highly recommend it. The prices aren't too bad either. If I remember correctly, a 16" cheese pie is about $12

                                                          1. re: sam21479

                                                            Just had a late lunch at Cafe P. yesterday, and it was pretty mediocre. The pizza special (12" chicken, mozz., artichoke, and olive) was cheap ($8), but not very flavorful--even the dough was undersalted, and the sauce tasted like it was made from the same insipid pink tomatoes on the salad that I had there. I might give it another try if I'm in the area, since I saw a sign mentioning free WiFi there and I often need a place to grab a bite while checking email, but I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to eat there.

                                                            1. re: sweth

                                                              did you get the NY style or Neopolitan? if it was the Neopolitan, try the NY next time, the NY dough is definitely better. I'm surprised the sauce was bad, that hasn't been my experience.

                                                            2. re: sam21479

                                                              I'm surprised you had that experience. I eat at Cafe Pizzailo at least 3 times a week and have not had anything but incredible pizza with fresh and flavorful ingredients. The Neapolitan is less flavorful than the NY but I love it for what it is, fresh basil, tomato and mozzarella on crispy, perfectly cooked crust

                                                              1. re: Leanne2

                                                                I tried Cafe Pizzaiolo last night. We got 2 "NY Style" pies: one plain and one with roasted garlic and mushrooms. I thought it was just okay. Too greasy and they need more sauce (there was virtually none- way overwhelmed by the cheese). I really wanted to love but did not. It is better than average though.

                                                                The prices are good, especially for the 14''

                                                                1. re: ChocoHound

                                                                  greasy and light on sauce...sounds like NY style to me. I'll have to give this place a try next time I am down there.

                                                          2. its not NY pizza, but Pizza Mart is a trip - check it out at about 2AM...

                                                            14 Replies
                                                              1. re: rdflig

                                                                I have a real problem with Pizza Mart even being mentioned in a thread titled "Best Pizza in DC Metro Area." The place makes its entire income off drunk clubbers at 2am on weekends. The rat population nearby is at Willard levels, thanks to customers dropping leftovers everywhere. And it's no better than Dominos, just bigger.

                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                  Like I said, its not NY pizza. I lived in DC for four years for college and still go down there four or five times a year. Pizza Mart was pretty good when I was drunk at 2am. I don't think there is any good pizza in that city, so if I have memories of at least enjoying this at 2am, figured I'd throw it out there.

                                                                  1. re: rdflig

                                                                    I think what we have here is the pizza equivalent of "beer goggles." But if you have to have Pizza Mart, 2am and drunk is the way to do it.

                                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                      Nice reference to beer goggles, but yeah, its definitely a 2am drunk treat.

                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                        Its a formula which works pretty well for Mario's

                                                                          1. re: rdflig

                                                                            Yep, Mario's...Arlington pizza and sub joint, open late night, which serves the worst pizza I have ever had in my life other than some of the worse frozen ones. Somehow, it has many fans. The crust is kind of like Ellio's. and the sauce is gross. I can't even eat it wasted. Fortunately, I could eat their subs, so it was still a good late-night drunk option for me if I couldn't catch Hunan Number One before closing...

                                                                            1. re: Lowbar

                                                                              This is totally off the pizza track, but the only other thing I ate late night in DC was Little Cafe. Is that still open?

                                                                              1. re: rdflig

                                                                                Little Cafe in Georgetown is gone.

                                                                                1. re: ChocoHound

                                                                                  I thought it "evolved" into Bistro Med but was still under the same ownership. Bistro Med still has the late night hours. Unless that also closed, its been a while since I was over that way.

                                                                                  1. re: Lowbar

                                                                                    Bistro Med -- next door to Pizzeria Paradiso? that's closed.

                                                                                    1. re: zelda68

                                                                                      this is embarrassing, but silver diner in clarendon was the best late night eat.... lol

                                                                              2. re: Lowbar

                                                                                I have never tried Mario's pizza, it looks kind of mediocre, at best. Their steak and cheese, on the other hand is a fistfull of delicious, greasy, goodness.

                                                                  2. im surprised no one has mentioned The Corner Slice in downtown Bethesda. new york style and it sells by the slice. its a big pizza, something like 20" i think. and i heard they just started staying open til 2 or 3 am for the summer bar crowds. try the white pizza there, my personal favorite

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: whanlon

                                                                      Agreed, when they're on, they're as close to NY pizza as any in the DC area.

                                                                    2. I use to live in DC for 6 years and had the luxury of living behind Cafe Romeo's in Glover Park. I have not found pizza even close to as good as where I live now. It is not thin crust. Mostly a heavier, thicker garlic crust with sesame topping. Order one of their special pizzas. The classic was my favorite, although w/o black olives. They also make a mean calzone and I would litterally kill to have their chicken portobella wrap sandwich again. A little messy/spicy, but so good. Open until 2am weeknights, and 3-4 on weekends. Not sure if it is the same owners, but that place is great.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: juice

                                                                        Never heard of it before. Anyone else know if this is for real?
                                                                        Just found this listing for Romero's:
                                                                        Cafe Romeros
                                                                        2132 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20007
                                                                        phone: (202) 337-1111

                                                                        1. re: Steve

                                                                          That is the correct listing for it. I work a block from there and have never tried it. I'll report back once I do.

                                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                                            This is real, not very good either.

                                                                          2. re: juice

                                                                            This is real, not very good either

                                                                          3. Don Correleone's in Sterling off of Cascades Parkway is a good choice for those of us who live in the NOVA ex-urbs. Delicious NY thin crust, but not too thin. They now have expanded so more than a few people can sit and eat a pie.

                                                                            In DC, Vace's spinach and garlic pizza is a fave.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: sherah1918

                                                                              My vote for NY-style pizza goes to Rubino's at the Herndon Clocktower. You can order a whole or slices. Don's in Sterling is pretty good. Alberto's at Dupont (across from paradiso) is ok but will definately fill you up. IMO, Valentino's (@ duke st) dough works for the sicilian but not for the regular pizza. Corner Slice in Bethesda only if you're really hungry and broke.
                                                                              For gourmet pizza, I prefer Pizzeria Paradiso. Toppings at 2 Amy's wins hands down but I don't get why you'd have to order the pizza well-done AND sliced. Been 3 times, and 3x soggy.

                                                                            2. I can't believe no one has mentioned Rustico's pizza! Sure the service is spotty but c'mon! The BEER!
                                                                              And my favorite Rustico pizzas are the Duck Confit with arugula and balsamic drizzle and the Wild Mushroom -- it has an actual sauce made out of wild mushrooms that is so good. Stay away from the shrimp pizza....Now that Rustico is so close, I don't have to order Montery's California style delivery anymore. If I am feeling like calzone I get it delivered from Marino's on Rte. 1 across from Target. It's loaded with toppings and cheese and ridiculously cheap.
                                                                              Obviously, these won't taste like home/NYC, but they are, objectively, good pizzas.

                                                                                1. re: washdcrealestate

                                                                                  Palisades pizza on MacArthur blvd. Only real NY style pizza in DC.

                                                                                2. I might get criticized for this one but...

                                                                                  I really like Bugsy's pizza in Old Town Alexandria on King St. It isn't NY style by any means, but their deep dish is just so tasty, the thinner crust is pretty darn good too. Be forewarned, it's definetely for the cheese lover!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: MDoodle

                                                                                    I'll second Bugsys. It's Chicago style and much prefferrable to Unos, both service- and flavor-wise. Bugsys doesn't drown their pan in butter-flavored spray.

                                                                                  2. One pizza that is not the best is Armands pizza, delivered. I used to like it reasonably well. But something has changed. We ordered two large pizzas today and they were flat out awful -- I was shocked. The sauce and cheese ended quite far from the edge, which would have been fine if the crust were tasty but it tasted like cardboard -- not even salty, let alone yeasty or olive-oily or tender or crisp. A very different quality of pizza (much worse) than they sell at their restaurants.

                                                                                    My favorite is still Vace's.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: happy_macomb

                                                                                      Armand's has been going down hill since the mid 80's really. Which is really a shame because it was really the only good chicago style pizza in DC. Now I dont know of any.

                                                                                    2. I'll throw Liberty Tavern in the mix. Its not NY style, but its solid pizza.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: chaofun

                                                                                        This is embarrasing, but I just had a pretty good NY slice at the Manhattan Deli, at the Archives Metro plaza. Not great, but pretty good, and definitely NY style. Unfortunately, they have a crappy conveyor belt pizza oven, so the crust doesn't get properly blistered, but they have the crust thickness just right, the sauce isn't too sweet or too plentiful, and the cheese ratio was spot on.

                                                                                        At lunch rush, the pies are flying out so quickly reheating slices isn't necessary to get a hot slice. Outside of that, I can't vouch for quality. But my two slices of cheese, from a pie that had been out 2-3 minutes, were among the best slices I have had in DC.

                                                                                        I don't think they're open through dinner, though they are open Saturdays, and it's only a few blocks from the Mall!

                                                                                        Manhattan Deli
                                                                                        801 Pennsylvania Ave NW Lbby 2, Washington, DC 20004

                                                                                      2. The Neopolitan doc pizza's at two amy's are the best IMO. They don't look like much but their extremely flavorfull and will keep you coming back despite lackluster service and loud cramped quarters.

                                                                                        1. In terms of the type of place where you can walk in, stand at the counter, and take out a great slice - Vace (pronounced va-chay) on Connecticut Avenue.

                                                                                          For dining in, fork-and-knife pizza - 2Amys.

                                                                                          For delivery from a widely available source - Papa Johns

                                                                                          For those who like lots of dough - Armands

                                                                                          For those who like a Greek-inspired pie - the Gyro Pizza at Ambrosia in Rockville (Montrose Crossing)

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Sean D

                                                                                            You lost me at Papa Johns, Sean. It's the most uninspired pizza I think I've ever had.

                                                                                            1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                              I don't blame you, Dennis. In my opinion, none of the major chains (Pizza Hut, Dominos, Papa Johns, Little Caesars, etc) make great pie. However, the reality is that, at some point, you will need to order from one of these places. I find that Dominos is so oily that it makes me sick. Pizza Hut is the same way, but the crust is even more oily than Dominos. Papa Johns is the least of the evils.

                                                                                              Though, I would remind you all of the very wise proverb: "Pizza is like sex. When it's good, it's great and when it's bad....uh...it's still pretty darned good!!" (Some of you may disagree. :)

                                                                                              1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                                And by "uninspired" you mean "sauce like catsup and Karo syrup." The last Papa Johns practically put me in a diabetic coma.

                                                                                                The best franchise pizzas I've had have been Z Pizza and Stone Hot Pizza; the latter offering halal pizza meat if that's how you swing.

                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                  Sean D - I know we have to order occasionally - just the other week I was planning on picking up pies from Flippin' Pizza in Reston for my daughter's b-day party - but they don't deliver and it didn't make sense for me to leave. However - both Domino's and PH have decent enough thin crust - and I haven't found either of those oily. I can't speak for the other types of crust - I only get thin.

                                                                                                  And by uninspired, the dough always reminds me of the pizzas my mom made from pillsbury dough, and yes the sauce is too sweet. Papa John's is just blah. Very gray in flavor color.

                                                                                                  And Sean - generally I agree with the sex metaphor. However, Papa John's really is one of those cases where I'd rather just leave it there and keep my pants on : )

                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                    I also like Stone Hot for delivery pie. I do not like the cheese they use at Zpizza for some reason. For greasy pie, we go to La Casa in Foxchase. Close and decent.

                                                                                              2. I've seen several people mention Ella's Brick Oven Pizza just west of Verizon Center in this post. I ate there tonight after the Nats game and my party and I were thoroughly disappointed. Four of us had different varieties of their 10" personal pizzas and another had a calzone special. The crust was very thin and crisp but unfortunately tasteless. The marinara sauce was unremarkable. The various cheeses which were used could have been good, but the the crust was very distracting. Overall we were unsatisfied.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: HHavi

                                                                                                  Everything gets a bump eventually on Chowhound. Personally, I was horrified the one time I went to Ella's - I thought it tasted like one of those English muffin pizzas you might make in a college dorm room. My advice is next time to do a search (even going back a few years) and try to get a broad picture of Chowhound criticism, not just a snapshot.

                                                                                                2. To see pictures and descriptions of 60+ pizza places around DC, check this guide out: www.myilive.com/dc/guides/pizza.

                                                                                                  Personally, for NY Style I recommend Corner Slice in Bethesda, Valentinos in Alexandria, Vace in Cleveland Park, or Tony's in Fairfax.

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                                                                                                  1. re: bkoch1975

                                                                                                    I also really like Corner slice in Bethesda! The white pie and traditional cheese are my favorites.

                                                                                                    1. Faccia Luna in Arlington is pretty good NY Style pizza. The bottom line is you wont find anything in this area that will match the real NY stuff. I find that there is very little difference in all the "boutique" pizza's around here (ie. 2 Amy's, Pizza Paradiso). They all pretty much taste the same with slight variations on cheeses and sauces....

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                                                                                                      1. re: ciaoda

                                                                                                        I think you should compare restaurant to restaurant. 2 Amy's is certainly better than 99% of the pizzas you can find in NYC. In fact, of my old haunts in the Village (John's, Arturo's, 2 Boots, Ben's), I don't recall any one really better than 2 Amys.

                                                                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                          The last time I was at 2 Amy's our meal our pizza's were delivered within four minutes of ordering (not sure how they pulled that off) and it was basically a wet cheese and sauce soup in the middle of the dough. Ive had tremendous pizza's on Long Island that would run cirlces around the drek you find around here

                                                                                                          1. re: ciaoda

                                                                                                            What places would you recommend if one were in that area?

                                                                                                            I think Faccia Luna is terribly salty, I often leave just absolutely parched despite the amount of water or diet coke I drink. Have you noticed this?

                                                                                                            Is NY pizza supposed to be really salty? As I am not from that area (and quite frankly when I go to NYC I go to Angelo's which is probably not authentic NY style as I believe it is coal fired and it was convenient for all my wedding planning) I am not attune to the "NY" style.

                                                                                                            1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                              No, a NY slice isn't supposed to be salty. It should be crisp yet foldable. The closest example to the style I've found locally that's worth eating is at Valentino's.

                                                                                                              1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                                Which FL? I think the salt level is about right in Alexandria, but I've found it salty once or twice in Arlington. I think they may use different cheeses.

                                                                                                                (And no, NY-style shouldn't be salty. I think the defining characteristic of a NY-style slice is a crust that's crisp on the outside but tender on the inside, so that when you fold it in half lengthwise, the crust "cracks" a bit but doesn't break. The sauce should also not be too sweet, and most NY-style fans also seem to prefer less sauce (although that does seem to vary) and also not too much cheese.)

                                                                                                                1. re: sweth

                                                                                                                  Arlington location is the salt culprit...

                                                                                                              2. re: ciaoda

                                                                                                                Sorry, Cioda, you had such a lousy pizza at 2 Amys. From my experience, as well as many others throughout the years, that would be a rare aberration. Even according to Ed Levine, noted NY pizza authority:


                                                                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                  I agree w/ Steve (I think it would be very hard for me to disagree w him b/c he has excellent taste!).. And ciaoda, I've had some bad experiences w/ highly rated, normally good quality pizza in NYC too. For example, I love Luzzo's (which like 2 Amy's is Neapolitan style), but have, on occasion, found the crust to be less than crisp. And don't get me started on DiFara's...that's a whole other story...

                                                                                                          2. For what it's worth (a popularity contest surely, at least in part), Flippin' Pizza recently won Washintonian Magazine's best pizza in DC poll. They sent me a card for a free pie to celebrate.
                                                                                                            I have no idea what real NY pizza is, nor does I think there's really a consensus other than among things that it is NOT, but five bucks gets two slices and a drink, which I find is a pretty a tasty occasional lunch.

                                                                                                            1. Cafe Pizzaiolo in crystal city - they also have 2 other restaurants in Alexandria - has the best "NY Style" pizza I've had in 10+ years in D.C. And I'm from NY. My family, who still lives there, enjoys it as well. The owners are a couple from NY and are super friendly. They have good bottled beers too - a variety of microbrews.


                                                                                                              1. I have tried so many DC Pizza's and never found NY pizza. I do not like the Italian Store Pizza, nor do I like their sandwiches, there is nothing Italian about either. Two Amy's is good but can be inconsistent and Red Rocks is also a pretty good pie. One of my favorites is at a little real Italian place in Fort Hunt part of Alexandria called "The Via Veneto" run by two ladies for the past 25 years. They are from Italy and their pizza are the best kept secret in the area. Their white pizza with ricotta is killer good!

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                                                                                                                1. re: GianCarlo

                                                                                                                  I live just around the corner from Via Veneto and used to order their pies at least a couple times a month. They recently raised their prices and I just can't justify going there anymore. Instead, I make the trek to Valentino's. For $20 at Valentinos, I get a 20" thin crust, foldable pepperoni that's just as good as any I've had from any corner pizza joint in NYC. And you've got plenty of leftovers. That same $20 gets you a measly 12" at Via Veneto.

                                                                                                                2. The closest to New York Pizza in the DC area is Mamma Lucia's--they have several locations but are all family/friend run.
                                                                                                                  Bon Apetit!!

                                                                                                                  New York Pizza
                                                                                                                  1401 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

                                                                                                                  1. There are two places I've been to that are good and are at least in the same ballpark as New York-style pizza available in New York - Mama Lucia's (a small Italian restaurant chain that I believe primarily has locations in Maryland), and Flippin' Pizza, which is very new to the area (or at least to Silver Spring). The latter will be opening its first location inside the District near Dupont Circle in the near future.

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                                                                                                                    1. re: CHIP1972

                                                                                                                      Flippin' is good, but not great (or at least at Reston). However - Joe H has said that it requires buying a whole pie to get the glory.

                                                                                                                      I think Mama Lucia's has at least a couple of locations in Nova, including Reston/Herndon.

                                                                                                                      Outside of Villa Bella (which we haven't been to in a while now) or Pomodoro (esp. for their Quattro Stagioni pie) we've figured out how to cook a great pie at home, somewhat following guidance from my college years at a joint and that crazy dude in NYC with the blog post - why doesn't HE have a place?

                                                                                                                      Btw - I googled something really quick and came across this place - anyone know anything about it?


                                                                                                                      1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                                                        The Mama Lucia in NoVa is unrelated to the Mamma Lucia mini-chain in MD.

                                                                                                                        And I strongly argue that the original Rockville Pike (Federal Plaza) location of MLs is far far superior to the others in the chain.

                                                                                                                        Flippin is pretty decent, but there's a richness to the crust that's missing, because they rise their dough in water, not oil.

                                                                                                                        1. re: DanielK

                                                                                                                          Daniel - just curious on your last statement - specifically the "in". (b/c we've been working up some mean stuff at home - more later). For rising, I thought that was when the dough was done, and you're letting it "proof" (or am I confusing the two).

                                                                                                                          Anyway, my wife was trying to wipe oil on the dough balls while they proofed last week and I said it wasn't needed (which it isn't). Just trying to learn a bit more.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                                                            This is the guy in NYC: http://slice.seriouseats.com/jvpizza/

                                                                                                                            I'm actually leaning more to St. Louis style, again with great success, but the crust isn't too different. (Cheese is).

                                                                                                                            1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                                                              At one point Varsano mentions rising the dough in a (lightly) oiled container. When I learned from a guy who ran a NY-style red-sauce Italian joint, he used probably 1/8" oil in the bottom of the container. Probably making up for the fact that nobody is as anal as Varsano in ingredient and technique.

                                                                                                                              Anyhow, perhaps I'm just attributing a blander crust to the lack of oil, but Flippin makes a point that they use NO oil in the process.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Dennis S

                                                                                                                          Joe H is probably right. We've had three pizzas from Flippin' this week--two plain cheese (I love plain cheese with no add-ons) from Bethesda and one mushroom from the Silver Spring location. All three were surprisingly good pies, about as good as we've had outside of the more expensive boutique pizzas at Two Amys and Mia's. With a coupon, we paid about $11 for an 18" w/mushrooms tonight.

                                                                                                                          1. re: JeffCraddock

                                                                                                                            Alright - will try a full pie soon - thanks Jeff for the input!

                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                            I really love 7H near Eastern Market. I love the pie with roast peppers and proscuitto.

                                                                                                                        3. I just returned from NYC and while I had a good slice of pizza, I have to admit to being partial to Seventh Hill and I am so glad they opened on Capitol Hill. We had zero good options before they arrived. The crust is crispy on the outside, thin and just a touch of chewy on the inside with the taste that only comes from a wood fire oven. They use only the best toppings and it shows in the taste. The price is a bit higher than average, but it is worth it. The only big negative I have is they close from 3 to 5? Maybe not a big deal during the week, but on weekends it can be an issue.

                                                                                                                          Seventh Hill Pizza
                                                                                                                          327 7th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

                                                                                                                          1. Has anyone had the Pizza at IL Canale in Georgetown? I recently heard that it was pretty good. Thanks.

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                                                                                                                            1. re: Jeremy303

                                                                                                                              I had it a few weeks ago. I thought it was pretty good, but not as good as other places in town that I like (Mia's, Paradiso et. al.). The place also had a weird "hipper than thou" Georgetown-type atmosphere that wasn't conducive to ordering pizza. I won't be back. Others have differing views though. It's probably worth checking it out on your own to form your own opinion.

                                                                                                                              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                wonder why the pizzablogger from Baltimore hasn't posted. he has in the recent Baltimore pizza thread. dos reviews of bmore/dc places and some nyc places. outside of those areas at least one in Indiana. other areas not sure.


                                                                                                                                here' sthe review of Pete's A Pizza and Redrocks both in col hts

                                                                                                                                based on it I need to try redrocks
                                                                                                                                pete's is decent but haven't been wowed by it.

                                                                                                                                1. re: vivinator

                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the mention Vivinator.

                                                                                                                                  Call it a symantics issue, but I get a little tired (my opinion only, which is the opinion of a ranting fool!) of people saying such and such a place serves "great" pizza. I think "great" is a candidate for a list of the most over abused words in the English language. I am NOT an expert on pizza, but my moderate amount of pizza eating has shown me that the amount of pizzerias selling "great" pizza is ridiculously small. From a perspective of the pizza itself only (not how a place looks, service, etc), I am not yet sold that there is a single "great" pizzeria in DC or in Baltimore....but I would be a fool to claim I have been to every place in those areas. However, we are definitely blessed that there is a healthy amount of places selling some darned good pizza in the DC-Baltimore area!

                                                                                                                                  It's also interesting to hear people say a pizza place is the "best" place in <insert geographic area here>. Really? It may be the person's favorite they have tried, but the "best"?

                                                                                                                                  In truth, there is no "best" pizza in DC, or anywhere. One could say a place is the "best" pizzeria in a geographic area only if they have been to *every* single pizza place in that area....and *more than once* to get a gauge on consistency. Even then, said person's "best" pizzeria would more aptly be called their "favorite" pizza.

                                                                                                                                  A lot of discussion and debates on topics like this are purely subjective in manner...they reflect one person's preference in pizza style, ambiance of the location, sentimentality of a place being an old stand-by and/or the service at a place or any combination of possibilities.

                                                                                                                                  I do not feel it is fair to even compare a place like, for example, 2Amys to Vace as they serve two completely different styles of pizza. That's like saying Guinness is "better" than Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Yes, they are both beers, but represent two completely different styles. Again, it's subjective.

                                                                                                                                  Now, one could more accurately compare and talk about "better" when comparing Pizza Paradiso to, say, RedRocks or 2Amys as these all proffer a product within the same style of pizza -- Neapolitan influenced pizzas. But again, not everyone is even going to like all the different pizza styles, so we are still largely stuck in the realm of subjectivity and opinion only.

                                                                                                                                  Potentially the only fair argument is whether or not a pizza is "good". This is somewhat easier to determine, but again it depends on an individual's exposure to pizza. A person who grew up in an area where only major chains or mom and pop shops selling similar pizzas were available may be thrilled at their first taste of a place like Vace's (and rightly so), which would definitely be a "better" pizza than what they have been previously exposed to. They might ardently say it's the "best", even though in other areas of the city, or in other cities, there are other pizzerias selling similar styled pizzas which are even better than Vace's.

                                                                                                                                  So, these types of posts basically get you only so far. Again, I will ardently claim that in a city with a realitively wide selection of "good" or better pizzerias, any "rankings" and claims of the "best" should be viewed with a degree of skepticism. On the other hand, subjective arguments often inspire the most passion and as such are the most interesting to follow and take part of.

                                                                                                                                  Most importantly, these posts bring to play names of pizzerias some of us may have never even heard of before, which is always a potential treat! So this is why these threads are very much needed. I have a couple of new places in DC I look forward to trying....

                                                                                                                                  All this novel long blathering by me is just another opinion about pizza, and opinions are like ar*eholes, we all got one and they can often stink! ;-P

                                                                                                                                  In the end, as long as a person is eating a pizza they really enjoy, then that's a very good thing indeed. Happy eating. --K