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NoVa Pizza inside the beltway?

I love 2 Amy's, Pizza Paradiso, Red Rocks Pizza, but live in Alexandria, and am looking for similar quality pizza place close-in Northern Virginia, Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church...

I thought that Pizzialo on 23rd Street in Crystal City had a pretty good product, but i've found the service can be real spotty.

Any suggestions?

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  1. i like the pizza from the Italian store in Arlington. Although if you care about customer service then they may be a lil problem. I found the best way is to call in the order cause if you try to order at the store its all sorts of mayhem.


    2 Replies
    1. re: victorianblood

      yes yes yes. italian store italian store italian store. my absolute favorite.

      for sit-down pizza, we go to either faccia luna or pie-tanza. both delicious.

      1. re: victorianblood

        i ordered one for pick-up on sunday afternoon. calling ahead for pick-up is the only way to go. i got the supreme.

        it is good, but don't get the extra large, because it gets gloppy in the middle.

        for those of you who want a semi-deep dish, the "sicilian" pie at joe's pizza and pasta on lee hwy in arlington used to be great. lots of toppings, and a good, crisp crust. it is huge -- enough for four *hungry* hounds.

        pie-tanza is a thin-crust, and is pretty good.
        the best pizza i've had *recently* was down in florida at monty's in punta gorda -- and it was much better than italian store (and 8 bucks cheaper). <monty's was much more generous with the toppings, too>.

      2. The pizza at Rustico in Alexandria is pretty good. I think it's a bit overpriced (especially for the portions), but good pizza and awesome beer! What's not to love!

        1. I suggest you consider swinging over to Pulcinella in McLean on Old Dominion. They have been cranking out Neopolitan wood oven pies for several decades and its a comfortable setting to enjoy an excellent pizza. IMHO, a real wood oven pizza with a variety of excellent ingredients to choose from (ie. real funghi, real proscuitto - not the industrial canned variety) is, well, special.

          5 Replies
          1. re: wristband

            pulcinella's pizza i found to be gloppy (mr. alka agreed), but i haven't been back in years, so it might have dramatically improved.

            1. re: alkapal

              Having a wood fired oven is not enough. The crust at Puclinella is more foamy than crispy (maybe not cooked long enough?). Overall the food here was never all that good and has even gone downhill from there.

              1. re: Steve

                Having consumed a bazillion pies in my time, I routinely request my wood oven pizza (at Pulcinella and elsewhere) to be "crocante" or crispy. Perfect pie each time - sans foamy crust or gloppy cheese.

                1. re: wristband

                  hmmm. good to know one can request a crispy crust. shouldn't that be the "default" setting, though? and -- do you just say "crocante" and the server at pulcinella understands?

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Yup. Say the magic word or substitute "crispy crust." They know.

                    Chowed down yesterday on a 1/2 plain, 1/2 sausage & funghi. Excellent crust, excellent flavor, excellent wood oven pie.

          2. There's one in Burke you should check out. It's been a few years since I've been but it used to be very good and they do it with wood. Villa Bella or something like that. It's in the same parking lot as the Burke WalMart.

            1. Valentino's off of Little River Turnkpike near 395. Best NY Style in the area.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bethheth

                Second Valentinos. When I don't make pizza on the weekend, I treat myself to a large pepperoni. Big, floppy, foldable NY slices like what you'd find at Ray's. It really is LARGE. Around twenty inches, unlike some place where 15" is a large. There's even a place that stopped selling their 15" pies, and now calls their 12" pies "a large." I told them where they can go.

              2. Pie-Tanza is one of the tastiest pizzas in the area. Lee Harrison Shopping Center in N. Arlington. I put it behind 2 Amys, PP, and Vace, but equal or better than other runners-up, plus it's my kind of pie: thin.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Steve

                  i was in that center this morning grabbing bagels and coffee and found myself lingering in front of the pietanza storefront window. too bad they're not open for breakfast ;-p

                2. I recently had a pizza at A La Lucia in Old Town for lunch -- about 10", braeseola and fontina topped with arugula on a thin crunchy crust. Very nice, great texture, although the crust could have had a little bit more of a yeasty flavor to it. Don't know if they offer the pizza at dinner or not, and don't know if they make a large pie.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: weezycom

                    I second the pizza at a la Lucia, the most underrated, I think, in town. (yes, yes, I realize EVERYBODY has a different tastebud on this, just like barbecue and burgers) They added a wood-burning oven last year, greatly improving their quality. I stop off frequently to pick up a pie, and it's a meal for me and my two kids for 11-12 bucks. Try the sausage and rapini pizza on a margherita base (or, for the kids, have them hold the rapini). Or the prosciutto with fontina. Actually, I think the pies in the restaurant can sometimes be just a little limp in the middle, so I prefer to take them home, throw a cast iron skillet on the stovetop at full blast, and add just a little more firmness in just a couple minutes. Perfect for reheating this way, as well. This is a terrific restaurant, top to bottom, extremely friendly, and this is a terrific deal.

                  2. Bertucci's makes very solid thin crust pizza that I think are better than Pietanza's.

                    1. I really like Cafe Pizzaiolo, I know you were looking for other options. They also have a newer location in Del Ray. For other options that have not been mentioned Liberty Tavern, puts out a good pie. Piola in Rosslyn is decent too. I like Cafe Pizzaiolo better than both of those places though.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chaofun

                        I didn't know they'd opened in Del Ray...looks like it's in the shopping center with Bombay Curry and Del Merei...like I said in the original post, I like the product a lot, maybe the service is better at Del Ray...it's actually closer to home anyway...lots of good sounding suggestions above everyone...thanks...

                      2. Another pizza that is worth trying in NOVA that I forgot to mention is Pupatella, pizza from a street cart in Ballston.

                        1. There are two NY style pizza joints in the Tysons area that I've eaten from and liked. They are McLean Pizza and Luciano's in Tysons Corner Mall.

                          I've eaten at Pie-Tanza and was not impressed. The "thin crust" is like putting a tiny bit of cheese and toppings on top of a dry cracker. No chewiness whatsoever.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Chownut

                            Luciano's in Tyson's has very good pizza, i agree. we were very surprised, in fact, and remarked how good it was. nice crust, good quality toppings with good flavor.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              I will have to try this... I saw it and was skeptical of mall pizza.

                          2. "anthony's" in falls church has good "ny style" pizza -- and a good value, too. we just got a 6 topping 16" for 18.35. http://www.anthonysrestaurantva.com/F... (the online menu price is a dollar less, but that is typical for online menus, in my experience).
                            a similar pizza at italian store (with similar quality toppings, may i add) would be 23 bucks.

                            so, there is a place to sit down inside an a/c restaurant in a booth, and no screaming, swarming kids (like pie-tanza on a sunday evening -- or any evening around 6:30 pm). we just didn't want to deal with that scene, and hadn't been to anthony's in a long time. we were both happy with the pizza. (although, i must say the lecturing quizmaster dad badgering his young son in the adjacent booth after a trip to the national archives was a little sad.) <ok ok, i admit, i eavesdrop all the time. don't you? ;-)>

                            ps, we ordered it "crispy". and it was -- still a crunch in the center crust (while hot) and not overdone on the outside edges.

                            it ain't trendy, but it is good. give it a try.

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: alkapal

                              I wonder why so many of these pizza joints have a greek twist to them. It seems that the Italian Store is the only hardcore Italian Pizza joint in this area.

                              BTW, avoid Listriani's in McLean. It's bad.

                              1. re: Chownut

                                there's also a greek twist at "mom's pizza" there at glebe and columbia pike. http://www.momspizzaarlington.com/
                                and they're not even greek, but maybe syrian, i believe. btw, i don't really rave for mom's pizza, but they make good dishes like braised lamb shank, at a reasonable price.

                                i knew a lebanese family in morgantown, wv, who had a pizza place. it is relatively easy to translate mid-eastern food techniques to italian/pizza (to generalize broadly, familiarity with the mediterranean foodways: breads, tomato sauces, fresh herbs, sausages, etc.), the pizza "cuisine" is well-known to customers (as opposed to, say, turkish or syrian cuisine), and if done well, will always be popular -- esp. if the price is right. that's good business in a precarious restaurant world.

                                1. re: Chownut

                                  More than 30 years ago, there was a pizza shop in that little strip on Glebe Road just north of Arlington Boulevard that made pizza that I liked (besides, I lived just on the other side of the overpass at the time). They also had some Greek specialties. I asked the owner about the connection and he said that his family was from Greece, and that the Greeks made the best pizza where he grew up. That shop has been gone for many years. I wonder if I'd still like it.

                                  1. re: MikeR


                                    No hint of bias at all from him.

                                    1. re: Chownut

                                      Mike is dead on. Most of the good pizza joints in Arlington were owned by Greeks back in the day. Pizza Castle in what is now Eden Center was probably my favorite pie. Great crust-light but crispy. Feta, kalamatas and fresh tomatoes-perfectly crafted pie that was never gloppy or wet in the middle. There was also Airborne Pizza in Westover, which occupied the current location of Lebanese Taverna. Hectors next to Baskin-Robbins in Falls Plaza had a classic thin-crust New York style pie that was decent. The only one left is Anthony's, which was not as good as I remember. Then again, what is?

                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                        One thing people should know about Anthony's -- a feature that is perfectly in line with New England Houses of Pizza -- is that their small pie makes the perfect meal for one reasonably hungry person.

                                        No glop, no flop. 8<D

                                        1. re: Bob W

                                          Lost Dog also has a nice crispy small Greek pie. Better, I think, than Anthony's. But that's just me.

                                          1. re: flavrmeistr

                                            Oh I'm sure Lost Dog makes a good pie. In all my years working in FC, I always stuck to the sandwiches at Lost Dog -- they had so many to choose from, I never worked my way through the entire menu.

                                  2. re: Chownut

                                    Pizza actually has some Greek history to it:


                                    Not that wikipedia is the end all be all of knowledge, though I have heard this fact elsewhere as well.

                                    On the topic of Greek and pizzas, I read somewhere that Astor Mediterranean in Arlington, puts out a decent pie. I have yet to try it, but I like their greek fare.

                                    1. re: chaofun

                                      I know this thread has been dead for a while but my take on Astor's pizza is that the dough is crispy (between crisp and thin-bready) not delicious... the tomato sauce a little acid for me. I would rather have greasy pizza in the Italian Store or drive all the way to 2Amys or Pizzeria Paradiso... I drove to Astor because I was craving Greek Pizza, but it is not what I expected.

                                      I also ordered the Falafel Platter and I am not an expert on this dish I can say that the Tzatziki tasted very nice, i would have liked a stronger yogurt flavour but i got a hint ot cucumber, mint and garlic.. the hummus was ok...

                                      I must admit that it is not expensive at all ($18 for everything) and there are some other dishes i saw other customer ordering I can't wait to try them.


                                  3. re: alkapal

                                    Anthony's is classic RI-style "House of Pizza" Greek pizza. Every town in RI and Eastern Mass has a Greek-run House of Pizza.

                                    A different animal from Italian Store pizza.

                                    1. re: Bob W

                                      yeah, it is different. italian store is gloppy in the middle.
                                      but, what is classic RI-style "House of Pizza" Greek pizza. ?

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        First, I have to say that I've never found IC's pizza to be gloppy in the least. In fact, I have found their slices to be great for eating in the car because they don't flop over. But then again, I have not had IC pizza all that often, so maybe I've just gotten lucky.

                                        Regardless, it's nothing like Anthony's.

                                        Now, as to RI Greek pizza. What you got at Anthony's is what I'm talking about.. Crispy, fairly thin crust. A healthy covering of salty cheese. Totally non-gourmet. Mocked by many, but incredibly popular in RI and eastern Mass.

                                        I call this "House of Pizza" pizza because you get it at a place usually called "[NAME OF TOWN] House of Pizza" or "[NAME OF OWNER]'s House of Pizza." In fact, the House of Pizza closest to my house was Anthony's House of Pizza.

                                        1. re: Bob W

                                          well bob, i guess i just like "totally non-gourmet" pizza. and it's odd that i do like anthony's for it doesn't have a "healthy covering of salty cheese."

                                          but...to each his own, obviously.

                                          i've been eating italian store pizza for about 25 years, i reckon. it is actually very close to me, and to a grocery store i use a fair amount. if you have had non-floppy italian store pizza, i'd say you've been the exception.

                                          bob, i'm curious: when did you last have pizza at anthony's?

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            alka -- it's been a couple of years. I used to eat there a lot when I worked in FC. I might just have a really low bar for what I consider a lot of cheese on pizza these days. But Anthony's is definitely closer to RI than to NY pizza-wise.

                                            Greek pizza is most definitely non-gourmet. In fact, I'd call it anti-gourmet. It's chowhound food. I didn't realize how salty the cheese was until I stopped in at one of my favorite Houses of Pizza a few years ago with Mrs. W. It was a nice nostalgia thing but I don't think I could eat it as often as I did when I was a kid.

                                            Do you ever get IC pizza by the slice? Maybe the reheating is what de-flopperizes it. Whenever I get it I can hold the slice by the crust and there is zero flop. I'm with you on not liking floppy pizza. Never having lived in NYC, I don't consider foldability to be a desirable characteristic of pizza.

                                            1. re: Bob W

                                              you, dear bob, get the award for chow neologism of the year:


                                              good one!

                                              usually, i'm buying a whole pizza there. i can't remember how long it's been since i just got a slice. i determined it was better to get the next-to-largest whole pie because of the crust issues -- reducing the "center flop-o-rama"!
                                              (flop-a-ganza?). (flop--alooza?).

                                              "sir, may i heat that slice to deflopperize it for you? we've been having problems with the flop factor. seems we're having a flopalooza."

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                LOL I'm always happy to make a small contribution to the chow lexicon.

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  Don't they make an herbal viagra to take care of that whole flopping problem?

                                    2. I just wanted to add Lost Dog to the list. I enjoy the white steak and cheese pizza. Their normal pizza is pretty good too.

                                      Valetinos is good definitely more NY style. I think the Italian Store is a little too much cheese, but I am not a big NY style fan.

                                      8 Replies
                                          1. re: helenahimm

                                            Valentino's is in the shopping center at the corner of Little River Turnpike (Rt. 236) and Beauregard St. Same shopping center as Maizbon (also the same owner), Total Beverage, and a bunch of little hole-in-the-wall mediocre chowsnack places.

                                          2. re: ktmoomau

                                            Valentino's is amazingly awful. Went there last night and my stomach is still recovering. Maybe NYC-style, but not on par with better NY pies by a mile.

                                            1. re: biscuit

                                              I thought it was ok, but not better. Based on one visit. Maybe if you get them to make a whole pie instead of ordering a slice..... but it's not a place I'd recommend on Chowhound.

                                              1. re: Steve

                                                I've always ordered whole pies (either plain or pepperoni) from Valentino's and they've always been tasty. The crust/cheese/sauce ratio is just right for me, and nothing overpowers anything else. Nothing comparable to it downtown; every NY slice style pie I've had has been aweful by comparison.

                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                  We always get whole pies too, never by the slice, so that might make a difference. I think it is worlds above the Italian Store, which I love for other things, but not their pizza, so wanted to suggest an alternative. I too agree that the ratio is right for an NY pizza of sauce, crust, cheese ratio on cheese and pepperoni pizzas. Not exactly like NY, but unless you bottle their water...

                                              2. re: biscuit

                                                I go there occasionally and get a slice. One is enough to fill me up. I always have to tell them to make it "well done" because if not, it comes out of the warming oven cool and a bit soggy, but they can make a reasonably fresh tasting slice if you ask. The one I usually get is one without meat - basil and something else. called somebody's (maybe Valentino's) special. Nothing to bother my stomach, but it's got to "handle" right in order for me to enjoy eating it.

                                            2. I noticed only one reply in this thread that mentioned Joe's. I haven't been there in quite some time, but last night ate with a couple of friends at the Joe's in Vienna. My friend who was sorting through some old photographs was musing over a pizza shop in Alexandria that he used to frequent (he thought it was a Pizza Box) and that got him in the mood for pizza.

                                              So we went to Joe's and ordered a "supreme" which he said was the kind of pizza he used to enjoy some 30 years ago. It had a little of everything on it (not the way I normally order pizza) and it was simply smothered. Floppy crust, soaked through (both with oil from the meats and water from the mushrooms) and not really enjoyable. The sauce did taste pretty good, what i could taste of it with all that stuff on the top, and the cheese was appropriately gooey.

                                              I'd be willing to give them a second try with a simpler pizza, but doubt we'll be going back any time soon. We're all getting old and it'll take a week or two to work off that heavy dose of cholesterol.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: MikeR

                                                we used to get the joe's sicilian with everything (right after isabel, we had to eat out because we had no power). that was the last pizza that we had that was any good at joe's in arlington. every time subsequent (3-4), it has become progressively worse.

                                                now, we would not return.

                                              2. you just got American Flatbread in Claredon and Fireworks (leesburg) just put up on their website that they're expanding to Arlington. Soooo... you are lucky. its us mid-NoVA people that keep getting screwed =(.

                                                1. In Short nothing to compares to 2 Amy's, Red Rocks or Paradiso in the NOVA area. I have dined at several pizza places in this area, including Cafe Pizzialo, Faccia Luna, Lost Dog Cafe, Lucias Pizza, Tony's Pizza, Church's Pizza, Italian Store, as well as Pietanza (they have decent Cannolis as well). To start Faccia Luna and Lost Dog suck, Lucias, Tony and Churchs are all very similar NY Style,and are all decent. I think Lucias and Churchs are the better choices from the group. Pietanza is decent, but lacking flavor. I like Pizzialo and this is probably the best option. I had a slice of the white pizza from the Italian Store and found it to be pretty bad, I would like to try a different slice from there next time I am there. Next time I have pizza I am going back to 2 Amys which is my favorite pizza place. There really is nothing worth it in NOVA Area, that comes close to 2 Amys . I just read the Red Rocks in opening a location in Alexandria soon! IMO Red Rocks is the 2nd best pizza in the area behind 2 Amys!

                                                  20 Replies
                                                  1. re: Jeremy303

                                                    jeremy, go to american flatbread. the new virginia sausage is divine (though the sundried tomatoes can overpower it a bit)

                                                    1. re: Crocken

                                                      I looked at their on-line menu and it looks like all of their pizzoids are $16-20 and are at least big enough for two. Do they have individual sized servings? I don't want to eat or spend that much on lunch.

                                                      1. re: MikeR

                                                        nope, they only have the one size. Pizza is meant for sharing and/or leftovers! :D

                                                    2. re: Jeremy303

                                                      It is hard to get there, but if you like Neapolitan style pizza (which from your likes above that seems to be your preference) you should check out the Pupatella cart in Ballston, it is really very very good, the best pizza in the neighborhood, I think. Red Rocks may be my favorite pizza, too. Although I haven't been to two Amy's in a while.

                                                      I have heard that both pizza paradisio and red rocks are coming to old town. American Flatbread is good. I think their sauce is really nice, although I wish their crust was just a tiny bit thinner, but that is a minor quibble, it is definitely pretty good. I like their red sauce better so far.

                                                      1. re: ktmoomau

                                                        its kind of ridiculous, DC's 'best' 2 pizza places and Loudon Countys 'best' 2 pizza places are both coming to arlingtonalexandria. You think one of them would realize there isn't a fancy/good pizza parlor in the entire restontysonswolftrapviennafairfaxburke corridor and expand there instead. There are 3 or 4 buildings in oldtown fairfax right now that are just begging for a quality restaurant right now, sigh.

                                                        1. re: Crocken

                                                          Ok so I know American Flatbread would be one, but what is the other of Loudoun's best coming to Arlington???

                                                          As I don't work in Fairfax anymore, but in Old Town and live in Arlington, I can't complain ;) I am glad American Flatbread has shown up. I am SUPER excited about Red Rocks it is one of my favorite pizzas in all DC.

                                                          1. re: ktmoomau

                                                            kt — we've got the same commute — live in arlington work in old town. we should get lunch there someday. shoot me an e-mail! we'll find some good pizza in old town and put it up on this thread :)

                                                            1. re: littlew1ng

                                                              We should do that. You can find my email on either websites under my blog on my profile on here, I didn't see yours. I forget if you are you on DR or fb, if so find me.

                                                      2. re: Jeremy303

                                                        Gotta admit, 2 Amy's is the most authentic burnt pizza soup you can buy, all served in an authentic screaming infant atmosphere.

                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                          There's definitely an SNL skit in there somewhere -- hipster foodies getting served something completely inedible at a place that has been hipster-foodie-certified and raving about how good it is, even though a screaming infant could tell that it is pure garbage.

                                                          NB: This is not a comment on 2 Amys, which I have never tried.

                                                          1. re: Bob W

                                                            There are multiple threads here where people get served runny/soupy/undercooked Neapolitans only to be told by the staff "that's how it's served in Naples!"

                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                              Was this 3-year old thread really revived just to randomly complain about 2 Amy's? Maybe I missed a more recent post...?

                                                              Anyway, the one time I went to 2 Amy's, I loved it, and I'm no hipster. There was nothing burnt (charred? yes; yum) and nothing soupy nor even soggy. There were screaming children, though!

                                                              My husband and I just completed our year of pizza research. We were supposed to try one a month, but only ended up at nine. 2 Amy's was way up there for us - we need to go back. Thanks for the reminder, ha ha.

                                                          2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                            i heart the authentic screaming infant atmosphere in places. i call it "mommy time" at pupatella -- and the pizza place on harrison street is the same (name escapes me…really thin crust place).

                                                            best pizza in arlington/falls church for me is 1. pupatella, 2. orso.

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              We loved Pupatella, too - brie & mushrooms, I crave it now.

                                                              Alka, have you been to Orso recently? It's on my list, but I've heard some reports that it's gone downhill - just curious, although I should probably just check it out for myself.

                                                              1. re: VaPaula

                                                                I think Orso is as good as it has ever been right now. Pizzas are excellent, but so are the small plates. For a neighborhood restaurant, Chef Artley is hitting it out of the park.

                                                                1. re: DanielK

                                                                  when ramps season is on, they do an awesome pizza at orso with fresh ramps and the egg on top.

                                                                2. re: VaPaula

                                                                  ok, here is my best tip ever, vapaula, go to pupatella on thursday-saturday and order the burratta (di bufala) platter (with basil/arugula, prosciutto, grape tomatoes, bread made from pizza dough, drizzled with olive oil)….oh yeah! call ahead to be sure they have the burratta. it'll set you back @$20 but in my estimation, it is well worth it.

                                                                  they changed the bread a while back (WHY????) , and stopped doing the pizza dough flatbread, and switched to some other bread…but see if they will make it the way i say…..

                                                                3. re: alkapal

                                                                  PieTanza is on Harrison Street. The steak and fire-roasted tomato salad is excellent.

                                                                  My new 'secret-topping' at Pupatella is now the ham. It is shaved so thin and the flavor has a gorgeous smoky quality. Goes great with onion and garlic. Could be a 'desert island' food.

                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                    This is one area in which I am jealous of you inside-the-Beltway folks. Especially wrt Pupatella. And now you're getting a Matchbox too, which I am sure will also be filled with screaming kids (which I don't mind at all, as long as the food is good).

                                                                    We had a nice American Flatbread out in Ashburn -- it closed a couple years ago. 8<(

                                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                                      For me at least, Matchbox has changed since this thread started 3 years ago. They've aggressively expanded onto 14th Street, Barracks Row, and Rockville, and my last 2 pies have been poor. The texture of the crust was like crackery frozen pizza. The sliders were still solid, but I've been avoiding their pies. Hope this isn't a trend.