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best pizza that's not Two Amys

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Hungry Celeste Feb 10, 2011 11:31 AM

Besides Two Amys, what's the scoop on DC pizza? I'm most interested in neapolitan style...Pizzeria Paradiso is fine, but not quite what I seek. Any wood-fired ovens hiding in otherwise non-pizza joints? TIA.

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Two Amys
3715 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016

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    sekelmaan Feb 10, 2011 12:11 PM

    There are four that have popped up in Arlington recently. Pupatella, Pizzeria Orso and Fireworks as well as Rustico now in Ballston. Seems to be quite the trend. I am not a fan of this style of pizza apparently, but the first two listed are quite in with the CH/reviewer crowd.

    6 Replies
    1. re: sekelmaan
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      mjhals Feb 10, 2011 05:02 PM

      I'm a fan of Fireworks in Arlington (on Clarendon Blvd, very close to the Courthouse metro). I love their "sopranos" pizza- with sausage, big chunks of mushrooms and onions, and a little truffle oil (I wouldn't recommend it if you don't care for truffle oil, it's subtle, but it's there). I've also liked their grilled cheese- great bread, made with three cheeses and served with some sort of tomato marmalade). It's a great place, surprised I haven't seen more of it on chowhound- the people are really friendly too.

      1. re: mjhals
        s
        sekelmaan Feb 10, 2011 07:08 PM

        Fireworks is my favorite of the bunch as well. I don't think that the pizza is as "Neapolitan" perhaps as some of the others, but the crust is better and it holds up. I hate the soggy crust places.

        1. re: sekelmaan
          alkapal Feb 13, 2011 03:51 PM

          our pizza at orso could've won a "flop"-"sog" contest. just pathetic! the liquid was pooling for goodness sake (i was looking for tadpoles). that crust (other than the outside edge) was like a piece of paper that got wet in the rain.

          tasty ingredients, technique in great need of improvement.

          1. re: alkapal
            alkapal Mar 4, 2011 02:31 PM

            here are some photos:

             
             
            1. re: alkapal
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              Guy Incognito Mar 7, 2011 12:23 PM

              That's unfortunate. Looks like it was an off night. When were these taken? And was Edan manning the oven?

              I've been there three times -- twice when Edan was working -- and had a total of 6 pizzas and none of them resembled these pictures. They were all perfectally cooked with a good amount of char.

              I'd say you should go back and try it again, but as I posted below, he has now left Orso.

              1. re: Guy Incognito
                alkapal Mar 7, 2011 06:00 PM

                photos were taken on february 10, 2011.

    2. s
      Snd485 Feb 10, 2011 12:37 PM

      I'm a fan of Rustico (Arlington) and Matchbox (DC). Both have yummy pizza baked in wood fired ovens.

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      Rustico
      827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314

      1. s
        Steve Feb 10, 2011 03:43 PM

        Places that are not primarily pizzerias rarely take the time to make a great dough. So if you are looking for something special I would avoid those. The only serious place for neapolitan very close to a metro stop is 7th Hill in DC. I haven't been yet.

        Pupatella in Arlington, VA and Pizzeria Orso in Falls Church, VA are bot excellent, although I prefer Pupatella. You'll probably need wheels for both.

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        Pupatella
        5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

        1 Reply
        1. re: Steve
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          spinachandchocolate Feb 16, 2011 03:19 PM

          Seventh Hill is just so-so in my books. Matchbox has a better pizza, neapolitan or not. Take it from someone who has been there. However, I do like 7H for their non-pizza items.

        2. w
          wysguymd Feb 10, 2011 04:02 PM

          Oro in Rockville Town Center can be good. Matchbox is more ordinary, but good.

          1. m
            marcj Feb 10, 2011 05:15 PM

            Well, it's neither neapolitan nor (to my knowledge) the product of a wood-fired oven, but Vace's pizza is superb.

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            Vace
            3315 Connecticut Avenue NW, DC 20008

            5 Replies
            1. re: marcj
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              flavrmeistr Feb 11, 2011 04:53 AM

              Vace for sure. I like a crispy, well-done (not burnt) pie. Lost Dog in Westover usually gets it right, as does Al Forno in Frederick if you don't order larger than a medium. Vace makes a perfect large pie every time. One thing I cannot abide is a soupy, undercooked pizza.

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              Lost Dog Cafe
              Arlington , VA, Arlington, VA

              1. re: flavrmeistr
                Bob W Feb 11, 2011 05:32 AM

                flav, what do you think about the Italian Store's pizza? If you like a crispy crust, it's for you -- great car pizza because you can hold a slice by the crust while driving and it won't flop over.

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                Italian Store
                3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                1. re: Bob W
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                  flavrmeistr Feb 11, 2011 06:50 AM

                  It's pretty good if you catch it right out of the oven, but the half-life is fairly short. It becomes a wizened, greasy shingle after 15 minutes in the hot box. Mostly, I'm there for the subs.

                  1. re: Bob W
                    alkapal Feb 13, 2011 03:52 PM

                    italian store pizza does not have a crispy crust.

                  2. re: flavrmeistr
                    m
                    marcj Feb 11, 2011 06:14 PM

                    Yeah, I hate that soupy stuff. I used to be a huge 2 Amy's fan, but the last couple of times I've been my pizza has been served more liquid than solid. At this point, I might prefer Comet Ping-Pong; the upside is not as high as at 2 Amy's, but I feel like there's a baseline of performance that's much better. Also, the Yalie is delicious.

                2. d
                  Doh Feb 10, 2011 06:58 PM

                  I don't know about "best" and they aren't in downtown DC, but Mia's in Bethesda, Pete's Apizza, and maybe Comet Ping Pong are worth trying.

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                  Comet Ping Pong
                  5037 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

                  Pete's Apizza
                  , Washington, DC 20001

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Doh
                    woodleyparkhound Feb 13, 2011 07:14 AM

                    I like Mia's, Pete's, Comet PP and Red Rocks best. Seventh Hill and Il Canale are in the next tier down IMHO, but still good. I'm not a big fan of Matchbox pizza, but others seem to love it. I haven't tried Orso and Pupatella yet.

                    1. re: woodleyparkhound
                      ChristinaMason Mar 11, 2011 09:41 AM

                      I'll second Red Rocks. Keep it simple with the toppings and you'll have a delicious, crispy pizza. I usually go for cheese, meatball, or sausage. The grilled eggplant pizza is also good.

                      I've found Red Rocks to be consistently better than Two Amy's. The last two pies I tried at Amy's were atrocious---doughy, flavorless, undersalted, sopping messes. There is no excuse for that. Quality has gone way down. The small plates (aka "little things") are definitely in a league of their own there, however. So good.

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                      Two Amys
                      3715 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016

                      Red Rock Cafe
                      385 Muddy Branch Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

                  2. monkeyrotica Feb 11, 2011 03:05 AM

                    Seventh Hill does a fine pizza with an excellent crust, although I usually go for their outstanding sandwiches made with the same bread

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

                    1. f
                      Flaxen_Vixen Feb 11, 2011 07:07 AM

                      I adore Il Canale. Their crust is very flavorful and toppings authentic.

                      http://www.ilcanaledc.com/

                      1. ktmoomau Feb 11, 2011 04:21 PM

                        For strictly neapolitan style, of which many of the above are not. My ratings are:
                        Pizzeria Orso- really good I love the diavolo
                        Red Rocks
                        And lasty Pupatella, which I find even if you eat in store just isn't as good as the other two as much as I would like to will it to be so.

                        I haven't tried Il Canale, but have heard good things.

                        I like Matchbox, but don't consider it to be anywhere close to Orso or Red Rocks and not neapolitan, just wood fired and thin crust, like Fireworks (which isn't as good as Matchbox for that). Pete's is good for a thicker style crust, not neapolitan. Italian Store has way too much cheese on it.

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                        Red Rock Cafe
                        385 Muddy Branch Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

                        Pupatella
                        5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ktmoomau
                          h
                          Hungry Celeste Feb 11, 2011 06:24 PM

                          Tried Matchbox today; it was okay....nice enough, but not something I'd go out of my way to get.

                          1. re: Hungry Celeste
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                            Lewes Feb 12, 2011 11:22 AM

                            Never been a fan of Two Amys; would second the rec on Mia's Pizzas in Bethesda (4926 Cordell Ave).

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                            Two Amys
                            3715 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016

                            1. re: Hungry Celeste
                              s
                              Steve Feb 12, 2011 02:38 PM

                              Matchbox is not a 'detour' pizza.

                          2. l
                            Linda513 Feb 13, 2011 06:24 AM

                            I like Mia's in Bethesda also.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Linda513
                              JeffCraddock Feb 13, 2011 09:03 PM

                              Happy to see Mia's getting so much love. It was our go-to for good pizza before we moved away from the area. Coming up next week and you can bet I'll go to Mia's....the first time we tried MIa's was the last time we went to Two Amys. Mia's was closer to home and, IMO, was at least as good.

                            2. s
                              spider Feb 14, 2011 06:40 PM

                              Also not in downtown, but I have become a huge fan of Pacci's in downtown Silver Spring. It is authentic Neopolitan and not soggy. I'm a little afraid to tell CH, because of the potential overrun of the place, but it is good and the spirit of this board is to share the knowledge. http://www.paccispizzeria.com/

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: spider
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                                4X4 Feb 17, 2011 05:47 AM

                                I'll have to check this out some time. Thanks for the post!

                                1. re: spider
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                                  gooniegoogoo Mar 7, 2011 05:16 AM

                                  I have been looking to try this place.....as I drive by it on georgia ave through silver spring all the time. Looks like a cute little place.

                                  I personally have been loving Pupatella & Pizzeria Orso lately.

                                  I love pizza and always check out new joints as soon as possible in the hope that they can replicate some of my favorite NY Pizza Haunts (Faves being - Patsy's, DiFara, Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, Bleecker St.....none are better...they each have their own unique thing).

                                  You know a good pizza when you just can't stop eating....and the closest I've come to that is the 1st time I went to Pizzeria Orso. The crust was crisp & perfect and was like eating air. The 2nd time I went it wasn't as good. the 3rd Time it was perfect again.....so methinks their consistency depends on who is manning the ovens that night.

                                  Matchbox I wouldn't put in the same leagues as these places personally...as i consider their pizza like their sliders.....perfect for the happy hour junkie but not going to blow you away or make you go cringe in a corner. Some would say that VAPIANO's pizzas are actually better but basically are in the same league imo.

                                  A step below Pupatella & Pizzeria Orso are 2 AMYs, Rustico, Pizzeria Paradiso, Casa Nonna and Fireworks and it seems a forgotten old reliable of FACCIA LUNA....All of them have nicer digs than Pupatella & Pizzeria Orso.....but we are here for the pies not the ambient lighting.

                                  I've been meaning to check out WE THE PIZZA. I've also seen a number of people on CH saying PIZZA PINO inside Cafe Cantina is good (but I am fearful...because if you like food why would you be anywhere near Cafe Cantina's food court?)

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                                  Rustico
                                  827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314

                                  Pizzeria Paradiso
                                  3282 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007

                                  Pupatella
                                  5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                                  1. re: gooniegoogoo
                                    n
                                    nickdanger Mar 7, 2011 09:36 AM

                                    I really liked Orso. First time I ever found a Roman staple - raw egg cooked atop pizza; becomes basically over easy, a little runny and you know the rest. I swore If I ever found it in this country I would go back everytime. Turns out they will put an egg on almost any pizza they cook. Owners are from 2 Amys and Paradiso, fyi. Interesting, but small beer selection. I also liked Pete's, although you must get there for fresh pies. Pretty close to New Haven style (especially the clam pie); small salads, decent beer and wine, and a Boylan's soda dispenser. Avoid prime time weekends.

                                    1. re: nickdanger
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                                      Guy Incognito Mar 7, 2011 12:07 PM

                                      Just a slight correction -- the owners are actually the same owners as 2941. The main pizzaiolo was from 2 Amys. I say "was" because news just broke that he has now left Orso: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/goin...

                                      1. re: Guy Incognito
                                        n
                                        nickdanger Mar 8, 2011 09:58 AM

                                        Wow that's interesting news, considering just 10 days ago, I had a long converstion with Thea at the bar during lunch, and she was effusive about the future of Orso, and Falls Church (Orso being in a kind of no-man's land location). Did not know of 2941's involvement, however.

                                2. e
                                  elledeepea Feb 15, 2011 04:36 AM

                                  I like Matchbox and Bertucci's for wood-fired pizza.

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                                  Bertucci's Restaurant
                                  2800 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: elledeepea
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                                    sekelmaan Feb 16, 2011 07:28 AM

                                    I really enjoy Bertucci's spicy rosemary oven-roasted wings. My favorite thing there.

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                                    Bertucci's Restaurant
                                    2800 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                    1. re: sekelmaan
                                      e
                                      elledeepea Feb 16, 2011 08:05 AM

                                      Yes! That's pretty much my meal, when I'm in the mood for "bar food".

                                    2. re: elledeepea
                                      Bob W Mar 7, 2011 07:36 AM

                                      We hit the Bertucci's in Ashburn (a fairly new one) and found the pizza to be as good as ever. It's clearly the class of the chain pizza joints.

                                      Also, the pizzas are really big. Mrs. W and I each got an "individual." They were big enough to share. The table next to us got four large pizzas, and they were monstrous. One would easily serve four people.

                                    3. d
                                      Doh Feb 17, 2011 06:58 AM

                                      For what it's worth, a new neapolitan pizza place, with an imported wood burning oven, is scheduled to open in Bethesda at the end of March.

                                      http://www.dmvdining.com/2011/02/pizz...

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: Doh
                                        agarnett100 Mar 7, 2011 06:34 PM

                                        The original Ledo's which is now in College Park the pizza way better then the franhise verisons

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                                        Ledo Restaurant
                                        4509 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

                                        1. re: agarnett100
                                          e
                                          elledeepea Mar 8, 2011 10:28 AM

                                          Hopefully, its better than the Laurel (Route 1) location -- where they suggest that you request that your pizza be prepared "well done" to avoid uncooked dough and soggy toppings.

                                          1. re: elledeepea
                                            g
                                            Guy Incognito Mar 8, 2011 11:10 AM

                                            I've only been to the original Ledo's when it was in Adelphi. If the pizza hasn't changed since the move (it sounds like it hasn't), then yes, it is much better than any of the franchises, which don't seem to enforce any kind of quality control. However, I wouldn't call it the best pizza in the area, especially considering that the OP was most interested in Neapolitan style...

                                            1. re: elledeepea
                                              agarnett100 Mar 8, 2011 11:10 AM

                                              The original was located in Adlephi and moved to College Park this past summer. The other franchise are independent of the original and the food quality at those location varies

                                              1. re: agarnett100
                                                monkeyrotica Mar 9, 2011 02:20 AM

                                                The franchises paid to use the Ledo's name and nothing else: not the recipes, the ovens, the techniques. Nothing. About all they have in common is that they're square-ish pies with a sweet sauce.

                                                As for consistency, they do have that in common. Of the three Ledo's franchises I've tried, they've been uniformly aweful: undercooked soggy dough, sickly sweet sauce, unusually "creamy" cheese. The original Ledo's is the only one worth going to.

                                                1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                  Mister Big Mar 9, 2011 04:41 AM

                                                  The Ledo's in Wheaton (in the original location of the first Jerry's Subs) does a serviceable job.

                                          2. re: Doh
                                            woodleyparkhound Mar 7, 2011 08:22 PM

                                            I'm totally excited about the Italian Shirt Laundry (I live very near it - can't wait to stroll a block for a (hopefully excellent) pizza!

                                            http://www.welovedc.com/2011/01/21/al...

                                          3. c
                                            CDouglas Mar 11, 2011 09:45 AM

                                            Casa Nonna. Buffalo mozz, San Marzanos and Ligurian EVOO.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: CDouglas
                                              v
                                              VaPaula Mar 12, 2011 12:40 PM

                                              I'm so happy to see this thread. We're fairly new to the area and whenever we move to a new place (unfortunately WAY too many times over the last decade), we embark on a Pizza Research Tour. We just started today with Pupatella - loved it. We had the mushroom (brie and truffle oil - wow) and sausage. Loved the crust and it wasn't soggy at all (despite the FAQs on the website saying it might be).

                                              Happy to hear about the egg at Orso - that will have to be our next stop. I love eggs on pizza.

                                              We went to Paradiso a couple years ago, before we moved here. It was good, but not memorable.

                                            2. alkapal Mar 14, 2011 04:57 AM

                                              i thought that you all might like to check out some of the variety in rome's boutique pizzerias: http://www.parlafood.com/a-guide-to-r...

                                              1. t
                                                theamusedbouche Mar 14, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                Pete's Apizza! The eggplant one is so delish. I love their pizza. I have only been to the Columbia Heights one.

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                                                Pete's Apizza
                                                , Washington, DC 20001

                                                1. k
                                                  KevinS Mar 14, 2011 10:55 AM

                                                  Il Canale. IMOH, the very best Neopolitan pie in the city.

                                                  1. a
                                                    abigail99 Mar 28, 2011 02:32 PM

                                                    Another vote here for Mia's. I also do love Paradiso but only the one at Dupont. I think on the right day, it can be the best pizza in the city.

                                                    1. alkapal Apr 7, 2011 11:55 AM

                                                      i see that orso got NOMINATED for the rammy. (and chef bernard chemel @2941). orso for "best new restaurant" -- chemel nominated for "chef of the year" and 2941 for "wine program of the year).

                                                      rammy info: http://www.ramw.org/Rammy-s/2011/

                                                      here are all the nominees: http://www.ramw.org/Rammy-s/2011/2011...

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