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Get eating around DC. By Anna Spiegel
Wicked Bloom from the DCity Smokehouse team dishes up barbecue sliders and smoky cocktails. Photograph courtesy of Wicked Bloom.

Wicked Bloom DC Social Club

540 North Capitol St., NW

We’ve often bemoaned the lack of seating—and whiskey—at DCity Smokehouse, so we welcomed the addition of this funky sister bar just steps away. Customers are encouraged to bring their carryout barbecue over, and can also order drink-friendly eats (think mac n’ cheese waffles) from a small separate menu. Barman Ben Matz is behind a curated list of craft cocktails and local beers.

San Francisco's legendary Tadich Grill opens its first-and-only spinoff in DC. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

Tadich Grill

1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

A San Francisco icon lands in DC with the debut of Tadich Grill—the first-ever spinoff of the 166 year-old restaurant. Though it’s impossible to duplicate the historic space, look for many similarities: a large menu filled West Coast seafood--we're anxious to try a Dungeness crab cocktail and bay shrimp Louie--house bloody Marys, and sourdough regularly imported from SF. Unlike the original, reservations are accepted.

Find Australian specialties like savory homemade pies (pictured) or an Aussie burger at Oz. Photograph via Facebook.


2950 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington

Aussies now have a restaurant to call home with the opening of this 200-seat Clarendon spot. The menu boasts some unusual finds like grilled kangaroo, as well as a number of favorites from Down Under such as a burger topped with “the lot” (pineapple, beetroot, fried egg), and Vegemite toast come brunch. Look for house-made sodas and a Painkiller cocktail at the bar.

Chef Tony Conte brings a Neapolitan pizzeria to Gaithersburg.

Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana

12207 Darnestown Rd., Gaithersburg

Veteran Oval Room chef Tony Conte debuts his first solo venture today: an ambitious (yet cozily small) pizzeria near his home in Gaithersburg. The wood-burning oven is central to the menu, turning out appetizers such as ember-roasted beets, and a lineup of Neapolitan-style pizzas. For dessert: homemade soft serve ice cream.

Bar Deco, a retro spot in Penn Quarter, stretches over four floors of the historic Bulletin Building. Photograph courtesy of Bar Deco.

Bar Deco

717 Sixth St., NW

Penn Quarter’s historic Bulletin Building is now home to a retro, four-story bar/restaurant from Noe Landini (Landini Brothers, Fish Market). Meats and seafood from a hickory smoker are a focus of the menu, along with elevated pub fare like poutine fries with duck gravy and a wood-grilled cheeseburger. Take advantage of the rooftop bar for classic cocktail while the warm weather lasts.

You'll find more creative sushi rolls on PassionFish Bethesda's menu. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

PassionFish Bethesda

7187 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda

After seven years in Reston, chef Jeff Tunks brings his globally-inspired seafood venture to downtown Bethesda. The menus are similar—don’t miss those fried clams or Thai red curry—though the Maryland branch has a larger selection of sushi from former Nobu chef Jonathan Goh.

Chef José Andrés opens a second veggie-centric, fast-casual restaurant in Dupont.

Beefsteak Dupont Circle

1528 Connecticut Ave., NW

José Andrés is all about the vegetables these days, opening a second veggie-centric restaurant in Dupont Circle. The fast-casual, customizable format allows guests to craft bowls with a garden’s-worth of ingredients—plus grains, sauces, and proteins like salt-cured salmon—or go with one of the house combinations (we like the Eden).

The Silver Diner team debuts an upscale spinoff of their popular chain. Photograph courtesy of Silver.


7150 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda

The team behind Silver Diner recently opened this upscale spinoff of their popular chain, meaning you can sip a cocktail and order small plates with that Creekstone burger. The menus differ from those at the casual diner, but around-the-clock service hasn’t changed; the kitchen opens for breakfast and all-day brunch at 7, and serves night owls until midnight (2 am on weekends).

Posted at 01:49 PM/ET, 10/09/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
As if you needed an excuse to eat pizza in the morning. By Anna Spiegel
The bacon and quail egg pie at Frankly...Pizza! is truly addictive. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Bacon and quail egg pie at Frankly...Pizza!

10417 Armory Ave., Kensington

The salty, smoky mess of house-cured bacon and Gruyére and Romano cheeses—plenty rich, thanks to runny quail eggs—is set on a puffy, oak-fired crust. The great news: even if you sleep through brunch, the dish is always available on the lunch and dinner menus.

Brunch potato pizza at Graffiato

707 Sixth St., NW

Chef Mike Isabella’s take on a morning pie reminds us of another favorite comfort food: a stuffed spud. The pizza comes topped with slices of potato, broccolini, cheddar cheese, and chewy bits of thick-cut bacon, plus a soft egg.

Egg and two-meat pie at Fireworks Pizza

2350 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington

Get your sausage and bacon fix at this Arlington pie joint, which heaps both breakfast meats on its pie. It wouldn’t be brunch without a little more excess, so you'll also find sliced potato, creamy white sauce, fontina cheese, and a sunny-side up egg.

Breakfast farmer’s market pizza from the Red Zebra

Sunday location: Dupont Circle farmer's market

Don’t miss this mobile wood-fired pizza oven, stationed at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm market on Sundays (among other locations). The seasonal lineup can change week to week, but one staple is a morning pie with smoky Surry Sausage from Virginia, sweet potatoes, cheddar, eggs, and a drizzle of spicy honey.

Mexican-style brunch pizza at Matchbox

Multiple area locations

Can’t decide between huevos rancheros and a pizza? Try Matchbox’s mashup pie, which combines sausage, smoked gouda, scrambled eggs, pico di gallo salsa, and chipotle sour cream.

Feta and egg pide at Cafe Divan

1834 Wisconsin Ave., NW

We’re fans of Divan’s wood-fired pides, canoe-shaped Turkish pizzas, filled with creative ingredients (spicy Turkish pastrami, smoked eggplant). Though it’s always on the menu, we’re partial to the brunch-like pita with Turkish feta and kashar cheeses, parsley, and baked eggs.

Posted at 10:48 AM/ET, 10/09/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Explore an ocean of toppings. By Anna Spiegel
The fried calamari-topped Jersey Shore pie from Graffiato. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Anchovies—and even clams—are ubiquitous pizza toppings around Washington, but there’s an ocean’s-worth of seafood to explore. The pairing may seem a little unusual, but consider these pies comfort food of the sea.

Crab and corn fugazza at Rural Society

1177 15th St., NW

We can’t get enough of the focaccia-like fugazzas, Argentine pizzas, at chef Jose Garces’s restaurant (think a South American version of deep-dish). All are tasty, but we’re partial to the Choclo topped with a creamy mix of crab, Asiago cheese, and roasted corn. ($16)

Lobster pizza at Menomale

2711 12th St., NE

Order the Aragosta and a thin crust round comes topped with cherry tomatoes, creamy fior di latte mozzarella, and sweet pieces of lobster meat. Sure, lobster pizza seems a little decadent, but the delicate Italian flavors highlight the crustacean more than a lobster mac n’ cheese. ($19)

Fried calamari pizza at Graffiato

707 Sixth St., NW

Chef Mike Isabella’s Jersey Shore pie has been on the menu since day one. Though the boardwalk-meets-pizzeria combo is no longer a novelty, we love the combination of crispy calamari, provolone cheese, and cherry pepper aioli. ($16)

Spicy grilled shrimp pizza at BlackJack

1612 14th St., NW

The flatbread-like pizzas make for great drinking snacks, especially this combination of roasted green chilies, pepper Jack cheese, garlic, and shrimp grilled over a wood-fired flame. The result is spicy, a bit smoky, and terrific with a cold beer--and even better at a discount during all-day Sunday happy hour. ($14)

Bottarga pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso

Locations in DC and Alexandria

Shaved mullet roe (a.k.a. bottarga) will never be the next pepperoni, but the briny flavor pairs well with Paradiso’s mix of parmesan, garlic, parsley, and a runny egg. ($14 to $20)

Smoked salmon flammekueche at Mintwood Place

1813 Columbia Rd., NW

Germany’s answer to pizza—a thin, crisp-edged Alsatian flatbread—is a Mintwood specialty. Try it at brunch topped with smoked salmon, capers, and chopped egg. ($17)

Italian tuna pizza at Piola

Arlington and DC locations

Canned tuna and pizza may seem like odd bedfellows—or something born out of desperation—but this Brazilian pizza chain does it right. The Tonno & Cipolla comes topped with Italian tuna (the fancy oil-packed kind) and sweet cipollini onions. ($14.75)

Posted at 02:01 PM/ET, 10/08/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Ohio-based chain brings sushi and steaks to Metro Center. By Anna Spiegel
Ocean Prime will open near Metro Center with steaks, seafood, and sushi. Photograph via Facebook.

DC will be home to yet another steakhouse chain when Ocean Prime opens near Metro Center. The Ohio-based operation from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants has 11 locations across the country, including Philadelphia and Beverly Hills, and announced plans to debut at 1341 G Street, Northwest by summer 2016.

The restaurant will occupy a large space in the Colorado Building—fit for roughly 280 guests—and serve an American menu of seafood and steaks. The house trick here: prime meat broiled at 1200 degrees. DC’s branch will also have a separate sushi counter. Stay tuned for more details.

Posted at 12:34 PM/ET, 10/08/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Take a look inside the first-ever spinoff in 166 years. By Anna Spiegel
San Francisco's iconic Tadich Grill opens its first sister restaurant in downtown DC. Photography by Jeff Elkins.

One of the biggest fall restaurant openings is here: Tadich Grill debuts today in downtown DC, marking the first expansion for the iconic San Francisco eatery in 166 years.

Tadich co-owners Steve and Michael Buich—whose family members have worked at the flagship since 1912—partnered with Icon, a Seattle-based company that specializes in expanding legendary restaurants; the group is also behidn DC's Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab. Though the idea was never to duplicate Tadich—impossible given its history—the team hopes to capture what's made it a special place for over a century.

“You can’t replicate the original,” says managing partner Rick Powers. “But we wanted to move the heart and soul to DC.”

Here’s what to know before you go.

Core Tadich traits carry over to the new location, including white-coated servers and the famous bloody Marys.

The sourdough bread is flown in from San Francisco.

One of the telling signs of the Tadich’s effort to embody the original starts with the bread. Partially-baked sourdough rolls are shipped by air from San Francisco’s Boudin bakery—founded around the same time as Tadich—and finished for each service in special ovens approved by the head baker. Though complimentary slices begin each meal, Powers says the cost is about one-and-a-half times higher than in SF. Just don’t expect the bread to be served piping hot. Slices are always room temperature at the original Tadich, having been baked fresh each morning, and so it will be in Washington.

A takeout window will offer seafood cocktails and sandwiches at lunch, and curb-side delivery for dinner.

Hard-to-find West Coast seafood fills the menu.

Homesick West Coasters will welcome the sight of dungeness crab, bay shrimp, petrale sole, sand dabs, and other fish and shellfish that are uncommon finds around Washington. That’s not to say the kitchen forgoes local catches. Chef Wil Going added East Coast-only dishes to the menu, including pan-fried soft-shell crabs and Chesapeake-style seafood stew. Can’t decide which direction to go? Try the dueling Crabcakes Coast to Coast appetizer, with both a dungeness and blue crab cake.

Seafood "baked en casserole" includes items like this crab and prawns a la monza with paprika béchamel and mushrooms.

Don’t overlook the seafood casseroles.

The menu (sample) follows in the grand American restaurant tradition of being large; over 100 dishes grace the pages. It’s tempting to gravitate towards the San Francisco classics—Louie salads, cioppino—or Tadich signatures, such as the hangtown fry (essentially an omelet with crispy oysters and bacon), or seafood and steaks from the mesquite charcoal broiler. Still, Powers says not to overlook the seemingly humbler lineup of seafood "baked en casserole," a lesser-known specialty. Think comfort food of the sea, such as crab and prawns baked with paprika bechamel and mushrooms over rice.

The dining counter (right) is a prime people-watching perch, just like at the original.

The counter is the place to be.

The mahogany-ensconced dining room offers nearly double the seating as the original, about 170 spots, serviced by a team of white-coated waiters. Some might consider the semi-private booths to be the best seats in the house, though don’t overlook the dining counter. Like in San Francisco, a row of stools extends from the bar for diners, and is poised near the entrance for prime people-watching.

A bowl of lemon wedges are set at every table.

Servers will deliver cioppino to your car.

A separate takeout window will open in the coming weeks, serving boardwalk-style seafood cocktails, Louie salads, crab grilled cheese, and other options for a quick lunch that can be eaten on the patio or taken to-go. Feeling lazy come dinnertime? Call in a a meal order by phone, and a runner will deliver it curb-side to your vehicle.

Traditional American dining means cloths on every table and a large menu of 100-plus dishes.

Bloody Marys are served around-the-clock.

The bar focuses on classic cocktails—martinis, Manhattans—as well as the house signature: the bloody Mary. The drink is a longtime staple of the restaurant, and not just for weekend afternoons. The mix is poured from bottles for consistency--and also for sale to customers--but you can ask the bartenders to kick it up with more horseradish and Tabasco.

The menu boasts a number of hard-to-find items from the West Coast, including dungeness crab and petrale sole.

The century-old “no reservation”policy has been tweaked.

The San Francisco Tadich is as famous for its no-reservation policy—and long wait times—but the seating policy has been tweaked for DC. Half of the tables will be left open for walk-in dining, while the other half may be reserved by calling the restaurant. Once warm weather arrives in 2016, an outdoor patio will hold another 50 seats.

Tadich Grill DC. 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-638-1849. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11. Lunch starting soon.

The mahogany-clad dining room is nearly double the size as the SF original.

Another popular seafood casserole with shellfish, mushrooms, and curry with rice.

Posted at 02:33 PM/ET, 10/07/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A limited morning menu launches nationwide. By Anna Spiegel
McDonald's launches all-day breakfast nationwide. Photograph via Flickr user istargazer.

Anyone who craves McDonald’s hash browns past 10:30 is in luck: the mega-chain officially launches all-day breakfast on Tuesday. A limited morning menu will run at locations nationwide.

The move isn’t just a response to consumers demanding McMuffins around the clock, though breakfast is arguably Mickey D’s strong suit. The company has been on a downward slide in the fast food market, and hopes to win the day by extending some of its more popular morning items.

Not all dishes are available past conventional breakfast time, and vary by location; ABC News has a handy rundown of what you can—and mostly can’t—get on the all-day menu. Sadly for McMuffin and biscuit fans, you’ll only have one of the two options when ordering a breakfast sandwich for lunch. Washington seems to be in the McMuffin zone, with locations in Chevy Chase and Columbia Heights serving a full lineup of muffin sandwiches and hash browns. Not all are so lucky.*

*This post has been updated from an earlier version.

Posted at 08:57 AM/ET, 10/06/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Chef Tony Conte readies to open his ambitious pizzeria in Gaithersburg. By Anna Spiegel
Chef/owner Tony Conte opens Pizzeria Inferno Napoletana in Gaithersburg. Photography by Jeff Elkins.

Washington will have a new chef-driven pizzeria this week with the opening of Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana in Gaithersburg. Former Oval Room toque Tony Conte struck out on his own after nine years at the downtown DC spot, building a 40-seat restaurant close to his home.

Conte comes from a fine dining background, but you could say pizza is in his blood. His father moved to the United States from a small town near Naples at 17, and raised his family in New Haven, Connecticut where Conte worked in a Sicilian pizzeria during high school. The pies at Inferno speak to the Conte family roots; once the restaurant is running smoothly the team will seek the Verace Pizza Napoletana certification, which establishes the pies as authentically Neapolitan. If earned, Inferno will be the only VPN-certified restaurant in Maryland, joining a handful of pizzerias in the area such as 2 Amys and Pupatella.

Conte hopes to get an Italian certification of authenticity for the Neapolitan pies.

Certain staples are required to pass the VPN test, including Inferno’s wood-burning oven—made by local producer Marra Forni—and dimensions of the crust. Still that doesn’t mean the pizzas will be identical to others.

“It’s kind of like NASCAR,” says Conte. “Everything is supposed to be the same under the rules and regulations, but everyone is tweaking something. Same with Neapolitan pizza.”

The cozy restaurant has 40 seats, plus four at a chef's counter that may offer tastings.

The opening menu will have seven pizzas, topped with creative combinations like potatoes, smoked onions, mozzarella, and rosemary, or porcini mushrooms with fontina. Appetizers also center around the wood-fired oven, such as ember-roasted beets with chili-spiked yoghurt and pecans, or burrata cheese with speck and plums (roasted and pickled). Starting in the next few weeks, Conte will use the oven for meat and seafood entrees, and eventually may offer a separate tasting menu for guests at the four-seat counter overlooking the kitchen.

Chef Tony Conte (pictured) worked at the Oval Room for nine years before striking out on his own for the pizzeria.

While Inferno has its ambitious elements, others are more familiar for a neighborhood pizzeria. Guests can design their own pies with staple ingredients like pepperoni and veggies, and the kitchen plans to offer carryout (not delivery). Though there’s no room for a bar in the cozy space, diners can wash down the fare with a small selection of Italian wines and beers, plus a few local options.

Inferno will initially open for dinner this week—stay tuned for an official date—with weekend lunch service to begin later.

Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana. 12207 Darnestown Rd., Gaithersburg; 301-963-0115. Open Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 10; Friday through Sunday, noon to 10. Closed Monday.

Seasonal appetizers include dishes like this burrata with speck, pickled and roasted plums. Photograph courtesy of Inferno.

Posted at 11:38 AM/ET, 10/05/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Try these globally-inspired pies. By Ann Limpert
The Naan Pizza at Spice 6 topped with spicy lamb. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Cuban Pizza at Graffiato

707 Sixth St., NW

Fans of a classic Cuban sandwich will love the Carlito’s Way pie, decked out with roasted pork, capicola ham, provolone, mustard sauce, and pickles ($17).

Naan Pizza at Spice 6

5501 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville

Our favorite bet at this Chipotle-style Indian eatery: a baked-till-crunchy naan loaded with spicy lamb kadai, mozzarella, finely chopped chilies, and cilantro ($9).

Alsace Pizza at Mia’s Pizzas

4926 Cordell Ave., Bethesda

A Neapolitan-style pie meets Alsatian flammekueche—the wonderfully rich bacon-and-onion tart—and the marriage makes for one of our favorite pizzas. The salty-sweet, sauceless round with pancetta, Gruyère, and caramelized onions is set off by a dusting of Parmesan ($15). For an authentic flammekueche try Mintwood Place, which dishes up

Barcelona Pizza at Fire Works

2350 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; 201 Harrison St., SE, Leesburg

These twin pizza-and-beer hangouts think beyond the mozz’ for many of their pizzas—and this Spanish-inspired pie ($13 for a small, $19 for a large) is one of their best. Besides nutty, melty Mahon cheese, the expert crust holds chorizo, colorful roasted peppers, and olive tapenade.

Thai Pizza at Franklins Restaurant

5123 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville

This peanut-sauced pizza ($13) with peanuts, cilantro, crunchy bean sprouts, and mozzarella sounds dubious, but trust us: It works. The ten-incher comes with smoked chicken, but we liked it even better when we asked the kitchen to sub in shrimp.

Greek Pie at We, the Pizza

305 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 2100 Crystal Dr., Arlington

Spike Mendelsohn channels his Grecian heritage with this cast-iron-baked creation ($4 a slice, $20 a pie) topped with kalamata olives, threads of red onion, tomatoes, plenty of oregano and feta, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Posted at 11:45 AM/ET, 10/02/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Tasty and weather-appropriate. By Philip Garrity
Dark and Stormy, our favorite foul weather drink. Photograph via Flickr user cityfoodsters.

Hurricane Joaquin may barrel down on the District this weekend, and in the meantime the forecast is dark and stormy (and we’re not just talking weather). We love a good Dark and Stormy cocktail—dark rum, spicy ginger beer, a squeeze of fresh lime—for warming the spirits and stomach. Here’s where to order your next round.

The Argonaut Tavern

1433 H St., NE

Head to this laid-back Atlas District joint for a well-made Stormy, which has been touted as the house drink since 2005.

The Fainting Goat

1330 U St. NW

This U Street pub’s version, Not so Dark, a Little Stormy, may sound like wishful thinking during a hurricane. Regardless, the combination of 12-year aged rum, house ginger soda, and kaffir lime is well worth a try.

Cafe Saint-Ex

1847 14th St., NW

14th Street drinkers can duck into this cozy bistro, and ask the bartender for a Dark and Stormy made with spice-forward Fentimans ginger beer.

Bourbon Steak

2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

In the mood for a nonalcoholic version of the classic? One of our favorite mocktails in town is the West Indian Limeade, a refreshing sip with lime, ginger syrup, bitters, and sparkling water. The bar will spike it with rum if you ask nicely.

Drafting Table

1529 14th St., NW

The name of this casual 14th Street watering hole makes you think beer, but the bar serves a tasty version dubbed Storm Noir, made with Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum and served in a copper mug.

Founding Farmers

Locations in Downtown DC; Potomac, MD; Tysons Corner, VA

Barman Jon Arroyo covers the classics, including a Dark and Stormy made the old fashioned way: Goslings black seal rum, ginger beer, and lime.


2519 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Both a Hurricane and Dark and Stormy are on the menu at this New Orleans-themed bar restaurant, so you’ll have plenty of options to get through the squall. Save the whiskey pickle-backs for when conditions turn dire.

Liberty Tavern

3195 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

Conquer the storm in Arlington like a king with a classic Dark and Stormy, served in a goblet.

Posted at 04:18 PM/ET, 10/01/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Thick and thin, cheap and fancy, Neapolitan-style and New York. By Ann Limpert, Anna Spiegel, Todd Kliman
Pupatella's spicy chorizo and pepper pizza, one of the many crave-inducing options around town. Photography by Scott Suchman.

We love pizza: thick and thin, fancy and cheap, Neapolitan-style and New York. Washington pie joints offer all kinds of styles, and we tasted around to find the best.


10417 Armory Ave., Kensington; 301-832-1065

Frank Linn traded his mobile farmers market pizza oven for this shoebox-size permanent space, outfitted with an oak-burning pizza oven. Take the excellent Hot Mess, accessorized with a trio of cheeses—mozzarella, Gruyère, and Romano—plus deeply sweet caramelized onions, pickled jalapeños, and house-cured bacon. We also like the plain, but not plain-tasting, cheese pie featuring tangy-sweet tomato sauce made from an heirloom recipe.

2 Amys

3715 Macomb St., NW; 202-885-5700

It used to be that people came for the pizzas and “discovered” the small plates. Now they come for the small plates and “rediscover” the pizzas. Many pies call themselves Neapolitan, but few are as topographically complex—the bubbling and marvelously hillocked surface makes for a different bite nearly every time. Chef Peter Pastan is obsessive in his pursuit of high-quality ingredients, so splurge on the cockle pie with tiny, sweet clams.

The cockle pie from 2 Amys is scattered with sweet, tiny clams.


1541 14th St., NW

2 Amys co-owner Peter Pastan creates a different kind of pizza at his intimate 14th Street dining room. A house grain mill produces hearty flour for the dough, which results in a more robust crust—perfect for assertive toppings such as roasted cauliflower, capers, anchovies, and bread crumbs (one of the best cheese-free options in the city). The seasonal small plates sometimes outshine the pizzas, but we’re happy with a mix of both.

Pete's spicy peppers pack some serious heat.

Il Canale

1063 31st St., NW; 202-337-4444

The crusts at the canal-side Georgetown spot are a near-perfect balance of chewy and crisp, and the wood-burning oven lends them an irresistible smoky perfume. In the Neapolitan fashion, you should expect a certain wetness at the center. Fold the flap back, and—in the case of the excellent La Regina—enjoy the creamy disks of buffalo mozzarella and tender prosciutto di Parma.

Il Canale's Neapolitan-style pizza covered with a delicious layer of prosciutto.


707 Sixth St., NW

There’s plenty to explore beyond pizza at Mike Isabella’s Italian-American joint—superb vegetable plates, Chinatown-style ribs—though we keep coming back to the pies. Thin-crust, perfectly-charred rounds emerge from the oven with creative toppings; we still love the Jersey Shore decked out with fried calamari, a staple since opening, as well as the Hawaiian-style Pineapple Express with country ham and charred pineapple.

Ledo Restaurant

4509 Knox Rd., College Park; 301-422-8122

Ledo’s been so comforting to so many for so long that it’s easy to forget that this landmark—a decades-old fixture in nearby Adelphi—produces such a strange and singular product. It’s rectangular. The crust is slightly sweet. The cheese is smoked provolone, and toppings include green olives and bacon. There are a lot of great pizzas out there, but nothing says home quite like this one.

Ledo's square, smoked provolone pies may not be traditional, but we're addicted.


1610 14th St., NW; 202-803-2389

There’s a reason wait-times stretch beyond an hour at this buzzy spot: the Neapolitan-style pizzas are some of the area’s best. The thin, pliable crusts are spread with a bright, tangy marinara, and never turn soupy. You won’t go wrong with any of the combinations, though we love the Finocchiona with salami, shaved fennel, olivata, and fiore di latte mozzarella. Deal-seekers should drop by the bar for daily happy hour (4 to 6:30 and late-night), where pizzas are served at a discount.

Mia’s Pizzas

4926 Cordell Ave., Bethesda; 301-718-6427

We love owner Mia Ballinger’s eight-year-old, yellow-painted pie shop. The wood-oven pizzas emerge with bubbling edges, and the Neapolitan-inspired crusts aren’t so thin that they disintegrate under their toppings. There’s a lovely Margherita, but the Salsiccia—with its fiery mix of pepperoni, sausage, pepper flakes, and mozzarella—might be our favorite.

Go spicy with the salsiccia at Mia's, topped with pepperoni, sausage, and chili flakes.


5104 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 571-312-7230

You don’t expect to find a slice of Naples in an Arlington strip mall, but co-owner Enzo Algarme recreates a sense of his home. A red-tiled wood oven churns out certified Neapolitan pies, as well as creatively-topped rounds with over 20 combinations. You can do well with a simple Margherita, but we gravitate toward less orthodox combinations, particularly a pie with chorizo and red peppers or garlic-roasted tomatoes with artichokes.

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Posted at 12:02 PM/ET, 10/01/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()