The Food: Thin-crusted, Neapolitan pizzas are wood-fired for a slightly smoke-infused flavor. Nearly 20 pies are offered on the menu, including specialty combos such as the Lombardi (caramelized onions, gorgonzola, and rosemary), the Polpotini (meatballs, leeks, and parmesan), and the Pucillo (prosciutto with smoked mozzarella). Pizzas are offered in both 10-inch individual or 16-inch sharable sizes, and can be customized with any number of toppings, which range from vegan soy cheese to pancetta. A roster of small plates (risotto croquettes; miniature eggplant parmesan rolls) and creative salads complement the pies. The wine list is full of bottles in the $20 to $30 range, and the waitstaff is enthusiastic about recommending pairings.
The Scene: Sparely decorated, modern and relaxed, Ella’s is one of the more lowkey restaurants in its busy neighborhood. The mirrored, stone-columned dining room draws a mix of neighborhood dwellers and couples, while happy hour imbibers line up along the black granite bar.
What’s Nearby: Situated on Ninth Street between G and F streets, Ella’s is across the street from the Gallery Place Metro station (red, yellow, and green lines), and smack in the middle of the restaurants, galleries, and shops of Penn Quarter. Within a quick walk are the Reynolds Center (National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum), International Spy Museum, DC Convention Center, Verizon Center, and the National Mall.
Insider Tips: During the work week, happy hour runs from 4:00 to 7:00 PM, and you can get a seven-inch pizza with a variety of toppings for $5. Sangria is $3.50 a glass, and American draft beers are $1 off.