Its atmosphere suffers some from the strip-mall locale—the rough charm of its elder sibling isn’t quite there. But the food has the same DNA: The pizzas are excellent. The Neapolitan pie, its crust infused with olive oil, is wonderfully thin, while the New York–style has a heftier crust with a hint of sourdough. Both those crusts survive best with few toppings; they start to wilt under a crowded array of, say, feta, chicken, olives, spinach, and red onion—the trimmings of the Mediterranean pizza.
Starters, which can be ordered on the cafe’s bar side, include such nods to the wine-bar blueprint as a plate of charcuterie, cheese, and olives and little squares of fried mozzarella. Of the nonpizza entrées, a bowl of ricotta cavatelli with Italian sausage was overcooked and the sauce underwhelming.
But Alexandria residents finally have a good neighborhood pizza joint—even if it is dressed in fancier clothes.
Pizzaiolo Café & Bar, 3112 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-837-0666. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Starters $2.95 to $9.50, entrées, subs, and pizzas $7.95 to $19.95.
This appeared in the April, 2009 issue of the Washingtonian.
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