Pizzeria Paradiso – Dupont Circle

A spare, always-crowded spot for Neapolitan-style pies.

From June 2006 Cheap Eats

Both branches of this Neapolitan-style pizza bistro offer enviable pies with blistered, cornmeal-dusted crusts. Both are brilliant successes.

And both, naturally, are overrun with business. Be prepared for a lot of squeezing in at the original Dupont location, which 15 years after opening is still no bigger than a studio apartment. Here, families and first-daters spill onto the front stoop while they wait for one of the handful of tables set under a trompe l'oeil sky. The newer Georgetown location–dinner spot of choice for many an undergrad–is roomier. It's also home to Birreria Paradiso–manager Thor Cheston's curated lineup of esoteric stouts, pilsners, and ales.

Whichever you pick, stick with what comes out of the wood oven. Our favorite pizzas are the Bottarga, with generous tosses of garlic, parsley, Parmesan, and its namesake mullet roe with an oozing egg; the Atomica, with salami and hot-pepper flakes; and the simple Margherita, which lets the pizza's elemental ingredients shine.

Happy-hour specials run at both spots. On Tuesday nights, two people get a plate of antipasto, a 12-inch pizza, and a bottle of wine for $50.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.