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2 Amy's?

Why does this place get such great reviews from the Washingtonian and Tom S?
Here's an exchange from one chat:

Bethesda, Md.: We stopped going to Two Amys a year ago, when we continually were served small, hard, burned pizzas with only a dab of tomato sauce, cheese, and basil as well as rice balls that were cold inside. Mia's is better so far.
Tom Sietsema: Okay, okay, okay. I went back to Two Amys recently.
My pie was:
Not "soupy."
Nor "burned."
Nor any less generous with its toppings than a true Italian pizzeria.
Just one man's experience.

Well, I was there the other day and I had the same experience as the Bethesda chatter. The pizza was bad (burnt outside, soupy inside, skimpy toppings), the service was disinterested, and the ambience was awful. (Notice it was Tom who first said "soupy", not the chatter - hmmmmm, a Freudian slip?) A good wine and beer list, some decent sides, and OK prices does not add up to much. There are many pizzas that are far better, including the near-by Vace store.

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  1. i went there last Sunday and thought my pizza and my appetizer, friend risotto? were both delicious. got the margherita and it was delicate, simple, flavorful and just yummy, overall. very worthy of the considerate praise it receives, that said service could be improved upon, i'm a stickler for service.

    1. I have never had a bad pie at 2 Amy's.

      That said, 2 Amy's does not serve American-style pies. They're Neopolitan-style pies, which does mean a well-cooked crust and spare toppings. If you want a big, hearty pizza with tons of stuff on it, this is not the place for you.

      I agree that the service could be improved, and I try to avoid peak times to miss the crowds and parking issues. But I've always been happy I went.

      1. Tom said soupy because that is what his complaint have been from months back if you read way way back in chats.

        I haven't been recently, but have never had that experience in the past year in which he has gotten those complaints.

        It is very neopolitan style which in Naples means there aren't mounds of cheese and toppings like we are used to in most US pizza styles.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ktmoomau

          Are there not both neopolitan-style and more Americanized versions at Amy's? If I'm not mistaken, the former are a bit better. And no, I don't like "mounds of cheese and toppings" - I usually have no meat or veggies added. There were big gobs of cheese that overwhelmed the sauce. I've had pizza in Rome and pasta in Naples, and they weren't anything like 2 Amys. Also, I'd like to be able to actually taste the sauce, and not have it soak through the crust. And even in the most ghettoized parts of Naples, I doubt that burnt crust is welcome.

          1. re: foodcheck

            Well that settles it very different experiences then. Sorry you had such a bad one, especially at a place so many people really like. I think I keep disagreeing with you on different posts, but I can't quite remember if it is you. If so perhaps we should just go to places the other one of us hates if so... avoid Tallula and Eat Bar at all costs they are my favorites ;) Oh and Hook and Central... Sushi Kaz, all yours buddy ;) ;)

            1. re: ktmoomau

              Having studied abroad in Italy and spent many more weeks travelling there, I absolutely adore 2 Amys. That being said I admit that the last two times that I have been there the pizzas have not been as good as I've been used too. Both times they have been "soupy" in the middle, which never makes sense when you don't have a lot of toppings on them. And also the crust has been doughy. The last time it had a huge chewy ring around the outside, a small inside and a wet middle. Still, the flavor was still so good and I'll keep going and hoping the fabulous pizzas I know come back. The rest of the menu is so good it's worth it.

              1. re: zooly1

                Some people in Tom's chat have said they request theirs well done now and they turn out good, I have never had that problem, but if you have completely undercooked (not burnt and undercooked) maybe you should ask for that? Seems like from his chats it worked for some people.

        2. I don't think that they are BAD but they certainly are not worth the money, the time, and the crowd. I too have lived in Italy. Not worth it. One of my favorite pizzas comes from Pines of Rome (in Bethesda). Both their plain cheese/tomato pizza and their white pizza w/ cheese (which is a form of crack IMHO). The decor, service, and basically the rest of the menu is crap. But the pizza is SO good. Not "authentic" good ... but GOOD! Plus ... pizza varies so much around Italy itself, so as long as it tastes great that is all that matters to me.

          3 Replies
          1. re: clemsonkd

            Interesting. We've been going to Pines of Rome for 20 years and it definitely has its ups and downs. Sometimes we get two pies and one is great and the other stinks. It is always the large pie that stinks - no matter how much we plead for well-baked, crisp crust, the large pie has flabby, undercooked crust. It doesn't matter if the place is busy or not. And sometimes, one pie (again, usually the large pie) will have a strong chemical taste - but only in one or two bites - we've speculated that it might be garlic, even though we didn't order garlic, because it would be logical that some garlic might accidentally get on to the pizza. But it doesn't really taste like garlic. Add in the crowding and the hassle of picking up (Montgomery County balances its budget from parking enforcement fines), and the unevenness of the cooking, and sometimes it is just too much like work. Good place to spot celebs, though. Among the regs are Cokie and Steve Roberts and a variety of politicians. Although it has a different style of pizza (and everything else) we have recently fallen in love with Mia's and would rather go there. We have talked and talked about trying Two Amy's but it sounds as though the pizza is really hit-or-miss in a very noisy place where parking is a major hassle. Maybe that's a sign of a good pizza place - they are always in places where parking is a pain in the rear?

            1. re: Just Visiting

              I like this parking test, except it doesn't hold true for my ultimate favorite pizza joint, but that is in Davis, WV (don't laugh there are a lot of Italians that settled in that region due to the mining jobs that were booming) and comparitively for the area surrounding it, it is harder to park directly in front of it.

              Matchbox, Vace and Pizza Paradisio's all are in notoriously hard to park areas, as well.

            2. re: clemsonkd

              clemsonkd - I've heard about the white pizza from Pines of Rome for years. Is it really that good? Aside from the obvious (cheese) what else comes on it?

            3. We've only been to Two Amy's once last summer and both of us were very impressed by the pizza. One thing that surprised me though is that I unknowingly ordered an expensive appetizer and my Fiance got glass of wine that was sort of expensive and the bill was a little bit of a surprise. All in all it was a good experience though. Pizza seems to be very subjective - one man's trash is another one's treasure.

              1. It boils down to individual taste. I went there this past week and had a great pizza. Loved the charred crust and the toppings were inventive. Is this red-checkered tablecloth italian? No. If you want that, try Papa Johns or something.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RealBev

                  There are quite a few pizzerias around that are neither as high-end as 2 Amys nor garbage-esque as Papa Johns. where you can get a perfectly edible pizza that isn't burnt or soupy; Luigi's and Bistro Italiano come to mind. The white pizza at the latter is one of the better ones in town, since A.V. closed.

                2. For anyone has gone to 2 Amys and did not appreciate the pizza, go back and order a Margherita. It is the essence of pizza and far better than other choices. If you don't like that, then I'm afraid you'll never appreciate what they do.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Steve

                    OK, but maybe if I return I'll stick to their sides or specials.

                  2. One more thing just came to me...
                    I remember my Fiance saying that she thought the signature pizzas seemed like a better bet then having your pizza made to order. I'm not sure if this tid-bit helps.

                    1. Went yesterday late afternoon. Surprised it was as busy as it was. I still hate the fact that there is NO PLACE TO STAND while waiting to be seated. For a place that doesn't take reservations, this is basically just plain stooopid. Sure, there is a bar, but it too is often packed to the gills. BAH!

                      Had some good pies with a hair too much char on the bottom, but still very very good.Had some beet salad and anchovies with bread too. All good.

                      Their chairs are awfully uncomfortable, but I guess that makes you not want to linger. That and the volume of the place makes it hard to carry on a decent conversation.

                      But still, the pies were good.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Pool Boy

                        "Their chairs are awfully uncomfortable, but I guess that makes you not want to linger."

                        If I didn't know any better, I'd say they did that on purpose.

                      2. I get the Margherita every time, it's good and the most solid thing on their menu.

                        1. Is it bad to admit that I like the char on the bottom? And the crust bubbles with a light char? MMM...

                          I may not be a pizza connoisseur, but I call that YUMMY. :-)

                          1. Went for the first time this weekend.
                            Friday night @ 10:30, seated immediately.
                            Loved it.
                            - buffalo mozzarella and anchovies
                            - roasted olives
                            - I got the norcia
                            - my date got a custom - mozzarella, goat cheese, + some other cheese, and summer tomatoes.

                            The pizza was "soupy", and great.

                            Better than Pizza Paradiso, Ella's, and Matchbox.
                            Definitely the best Pizza i've had in DC.

                            1. I frequented 2 Amy's for years when I lived in Tenley Town. In 2004, I moved to North Carolina and recently moved back to the District. My wife and I went back to 2 Amy's a month ago and both thought the pizza was not as good as we remembered. In fact, soupy is exactly as I would describe the four pies we shared with friends. A couple weeks later, we went to Pizzaria Paradiso in Dupont and had the experience we wanted and expected from 2 Amy's. It's a shame, because 2 Amy's really was quite good for a time.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: FlaHopper

                                We went for a 2amys feast tonight and I was just blown away. We had:

                                * fried risotto balls with a little piece of mozzarella stuffed inside. (so good it was unreal! - we never had them there before)
                                * mini plate of their special meatballs with house tomato sauce (to start)

                                * margarita pizza with little pepperoni (much more spicy than reg. pepperoni)
                                * their special pizza of the night which had morels, sausage and ramps

                                ^^The pizza's had a nice char on them (not too much) and they were thin and wonderful. (not soggy)

                                We didn't get their yummy house salad. Just fresh greens with the lemon olive oil vinaigrette - but we usually do.

                                I'm amazed how good their food is time after time. I wish they'd open another location. We had to wait 35 min. for a table (during prime sat. dinner hour) which wasn't too bad - once we had the food it was totally worth it.

                                1. re: beauxgoris

                                  Interesting. I wouldn't wait 35 minutes for a 2 Amys pizza, yet I waited close to an hour for my Langley Ledo's pizza. Yet we both think it was totally worth the wait.

                              2. I have lived within walking distance of 2 Amy's for the last 6 years. It is my favorite pizza in the city, and yes I have tried many of the other places and been to Italy. However, pizza preferences are subjective and I prefer 2 Amy's. Anyways, I always get the Margherita and I have never had a bad pizza there. That being said, I normally choose to not put up with the noise and the long wait times. Instead I phone my order in, pick up my pizza and my supli, and head home to enjoy it.

                                1. AGREED! It's really over-rated. I think that if you praise 2Amys then you just like to be with the in-crowd.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: clemsonkd

                                    I disagree. Stray from the conventional offerings and you'll find some of the best, simple, fresh preparations of the most current and seasonal ingredients in the area. Eat at the bar one evening and don't get pizza. Make a meal out of the items on the wine bar menu. The magic is there. Peter is a Beard award nominated chef multiple times over for good reason. Ordering a mixed green salad and a Margherita with mushrooms might leave you disappointed and feeling like you missed out. A crostino with goat cheese and house-cured salmon? Pigs head salad? Batter fried mussels? Lamb meatballs with almond and cinnamon sauce? Rabbit stuffed with rapini? These items are of the moment and anything but disappointing. 2Amys is the sort of place where sticking with the most conventional items will leave you wondering why some people are religious about the place. Explore the small white menu and you're sure to find out why the place is so busy. Not to mention...the ice cream is the best in DC.

                                    1. re: clemsonkd

                                      By in-crowd, do you mean all those toddlers and moms with strollers? Or do you mean the lunch guys from WTOP wearing jackets that say "Traffic and Weather on the 8s!"

                                      1. re: Steve

                                        Hey, I thought they were all fueled by Ledo's!

                                      1. re: 180hearted

                                        I agree. The crust on mine was just as hard and had even less flavor.

                                      2. Blah, overrated...

                                        Trust me, I can burn my own food at home. That's why I go out to eat to avoid these things. Oh, and I can get a headache from the construction outside my apartment and people screaming via my next door neighbors on the verge of divorce. I can wait in a very long line at CVS because I need to fill a vital prescription, I don't need to do that at a medicore restaurant with screaming kids and burnt food.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Jacey

                                          You must be talking about the pizza. JFW above makes the case, some of those small dishes are incredible. The pizza - as already stated, seems to have become too watery or something. Did not used to be that way from what I recall. But if you hit the place right, a good wine by the glass and a few of those small plates can be an amazing experience.

                                          1. re: KevinS

                                            But you go to 2 Amy's for the pizza, not small plates!! You can get wonderful small plates at many other restaurants in the city that has a lot better atmosphere, a lot calmer (no screaming kids around) and more manageable wait.

                                            1. re: Jacey


                                              No. No, I don't go to to 2Amys for the pizza. I go for the small plates. And I go for some really great deals on excellent Italian wine.

                                              My wife and I go at very reasonable hours when there aren't screaming children or long waits. Also, the 'screaming children' argument seems to be losing steam lately, as I don't see much of that even at peak hours. Plus, you can sit upstairs and away from the children. That's always an option.

                                              So, I stand by my point. 2Amys offer wonderful small plates...on par with or better than many other places in DC. Further, I know of few Italian restaurants that offer small plates. Cafe Ole is, er, Mediterranean. Zaytinya is also. Jaleo is Spanish. Bar Pilar offers a few seemingly Italian options, but it's hard to corner their cuisine. Needless to say, I think people need to not pigeon hole 2Amys as a pizza joint. Alas, I don't think too many people trust my assessment. Not the end of the world.

                                        2. I actually agree with the OP. I went have only been to the place one and given the hype my expectations were through the roof. I ended up being disappointed - not due to my expectations, however. We ordered the risotto balls and they were over salted (not slightly), one of the two pizzas we ordered had a ridiculous char on it and to top it all off, the service was horrible!! This was on a Sunday afternoon/early evening. Now you can call me picky but I am one to always give servers and cooks the benefit of the doubt and always make sure to leave a tip no matter how bad the service. I am happy for those of you who have never had a bad experience. This was mine.
                                          I assure you I haven't been back.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: DeprivedinDC

                                            Doesn't tipping for bad service kinda defeat the purpose of tipping? Where's the motivation to improve service?

                                            Never had a service problem with 2 Amys. Just noise and burnt pies.