From gourmet spots, to food trucks, to noteworthy chains chains, here's the best of the best from Washington D.C.'s pizza scene:
1. 2 Amys
2 Amys is arguably the most popular of a handful of Neapolitan pizzarias in DC that can claim D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status, which means it makes authentic Neopolitan pizzas according to strict specifications set by the Italian government. The brick-oven pizzas generally stick to the basics, and prove that simplicity can be a revelation. On Saturdays at 4 p.m., stop by for the porchetta: half a pig, seasoned with garlic, rosemary, and fennel pollen, and roasted until crispy.
Many DC pizza lovers make the rare trip to the Virginia suburb of Arlington because of Pupatella, another D.O.C. pizzeria that is justly famous for its Neapolitan pies. The line can be long and the best bet for parking is at the Safeway across the street, but that doesn’t stop fans from flocking to the restaurant for pizzas like the chorizo with shaved onion and red pepper and the Mimosa, a white pizza with cream, roasted corn, prosciutto cotto, and imported buffalo mozzarella.
3. Red Zebra
It’s no wonder Red Zebra has developed a devoted following. The wood-fired pizza oven on wheels parks at various D.C. farmer’s markets, where it sources fresh, local ingredients for its single-serving, made-to-order pizzas. The menu changes daily, but if you’re lucky, you might get to try the lamb sausage and goat cheese pizza with fresh mint pesto or a mushroom ragout pizza with smoked cheddar and goat ricotta. This is gourmet pizza at food-truck prices.
Flour power is alive and well in the District of Columbia at Mellow Mushroom. The rooftop deck is the perfect place to enjoy mind-blowing pizzas like the Holy Shiitake, with three kinds of mushrooms, carmelized onions, a combination of cheeses, garlic aioli, and black truffle oil. The place hosts trivia nights on Tuesdays, wild and crazy Drag Queen Bingo on the second Wednesday of the month, and live music on Thursdays and every fourth Wednesday.
Mellow Mushroom (credit: Facebook/Mellow Mushroom)
5. Seventh Hill
Seventh Hill is a great little pizzeria near the Eastern Market metro station. The Italian sister of French bistro Montmartre, which is located next door, Seventh Hill serves inventive hand-tossed pizzas. Find a seat on the outdoor patio and sample the Potomac Avenue (an olive oil-brushed crust with parmesan, mozzarella, and pecorino cheeses, salami and arugula). A word of advice: order the soup of the day. Seventh Hill’s soups are as widely coveted as those doled out by Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, but without the shushing.
For a friendly neighborhood vibe and a little Middle Eastern fusion, check out the Rustik Tavern. The dog-friendly patio is an ever-changing welcome mat, and the pizzas feature crispy, almost cracker-thin crusts. Popular starters include goat cheese and fig and olive tapenade, served with fresh, house-made pita bread. But save room for the pizza. With selections like the Pep Pep (lamb and roasted peppers) and the Ward 5 (mushroom, zahtar, and preserved lemon), you really can’t go wrong.
If a one-of-a-kind family-run restaurant is your style, try Sorriso. Pietro Polles opened the pizzaria in 2004. His wife, Rosemarie, is the restaurant’s gracious hostess, and the couple’s son, Stefano, is the head pizzaiolo and the genius behind the pizzaria’s gelato. Try the Pizza Diavola with spicy sopressata and hot red peppers and then cool off with one of Stefano’s gelatos, or better yet, head for his new gelato shop, Café Sorriso, in adjoining Woodley Park.
District of Pi knows how to put pizza on a pedestal, literally and metaphorically. The Penn Quarter restaurant serves its glorious deep dish pizzas on a raised stand – a smart idea that leaves the table open for appetizers. The pizzeria likes to mix things up, putting the cheese on the bottom and the sauce on top, but the results are undisputably delicious, especially with one of the dozens of craft beers on the menu. The servers are knowledgeable and can steer you to one that will pair perfectly with your pie.
&Pizza is DC’s smoking-hot Italian version of Chipotle: customers can created their own pizzas choosing from three doughs, eight sauces, three cheeses, any combination of meat and/or vegetables, and toppers like capers and red pepper chili oil. The restaurant believes in supporting the neighborhoods it serves and backs it up by offering free pizza to anyone who tells the staff about his or her own personal charitable cause.
&pizza (credit: Facebook/&pizza)
10. Wiseguy NY Pizza
Want your pizza on the run? Wiseguy NY Pizza is the place to go. A mostly takeout place near the Judiciary Square metro station, Wiseguy serves New York-style pizza whole and by the slice, and is open until 5 a.m. on the weekends, 3 a.m. on Thursdays, and 1 a.m. the rest of the week. Try the cheesy penne pasta pizza or the extra popular buffalo pizza with chicken breast and spicy buffalo sauce.