Food

The Five Best New Pizza Places, Ranked

Where to get Roman slices, Sicilian squares, and grandma pies.
Sonny's cheese pizza with fresh basil. Photograph by Scott Suchman

For many years, Washington’s pizza landscape was dominated by one type of pie: Neapolitan. Chefs devoted themselves to studying the strictly controlled, wood-fired style—using specific flour, tomatoes, and mozzarella for their thin, bubbling Margaritas. The scene has come a long way in the last five years, but it’s really come a long way in the last nine months, during which 16 pizzerias of many varieties have opened. Here, our five favorite newcomers, ranked.

1. Sonny’s Pizza

3120 Georgia Ave., NW

Sonny's cheese pizza with fresh basil. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Sonny’s cheese pizza with fresh basil. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Neighborhood: Park View.
Style: Sicilian—the slices and pies have an olive-oily, pan-baked crust that tastes like a thinner focaccia.
Go if you like: Red-sauce Italian-American places with 2019 touches such as rosé cider.
Who’s behind it: Colony Club proprietors Max Zuckerman and Ben Heller, who also run No Kisses, an adjoining bar.
Most creative offering: The Pesky Mario pie, loaded with mushrooms, chilies, and rapini.
Best pie: The Pizza Don, with salami and arugula.
Don’t leave without trying: The Italian cold-cut sandwich with provolone, arugula, and plenty of vinaigrette.

2. Stellina

399 Morse St., NE

Stelinas cacio e pepe slice.
Stelina’s cacio e pepe slice. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Neighborhood: Union Market.

Style: Fast-casual meets Neapolitan—the ultra-thin pies have a puffy crust and a careful array of toppings, and you slice them yourself.
Go if you like: The mix of thoughtful small plates and Neapolitan pies at 2 Amys.
Who’s behind it: Lupo Verde alums Antonio Matarazzo and Matteo Venini.
Most creative offering:A fried-octopus sandwich made with an entire bulb of burrata.
Best pie: The cacio e pepe, a white pizza with pecorino, buffalo mozzarella, and loads of black pepper.
Don’t leave without trying: The fried artichokes and house-made paccheri pasta with meat ragu.

3. Nicoletta Italian Kitchen

901 Fourth St., NW

Nicoletta’s Calabrese pizza. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Neighborhood: Mount Vernon Square.
Style: Think cheffy Domino’s—the sturdy crust is made from three-day-fermented dough, then heavily spiraled with red sauce and fistfuls of mozz.
Go if you like: Pizza the American way.
Who’s behind it: Michael White, the New York chef/restaurateur who also runs Osteria Morini—and a Nicoletta pizza kiosk—in Navy Yard.
Most creative offering: A porchetta-and-pickled-chili-topped white pizza inspired by a Philly pork sandwich.
Best pie: The Calabrese, with pepperoni, fennel sausage, and red onion.
Don’t leave without trying: The clams with pancetta, roasted tomato, and a slab of pesto-slathered bread.

4. Sliced at Pendleton Carryout

807 Pendleton St., Alexandria

The chimichurri sauced pie at Sliced.
The chimichurri-sauced pie at Sliced. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Neighborhood: Old Town.
Style: Roman—the square slices have a crunchy crust and a generous layer of robust tomato sauce and are sold by the ounce.
Go if you like: The memory of grab-and-go slices on your study-abroad trip to Rome.
Who’s behind it: Chef Ed McIntosh, who also operates Chop Shop Taco nearby.
Most creative offering: The white pizza that’s liberally ladled with chimichurri.
Best pie: Pepperoni.
Don’t leave without trying: McIntosh’s smash burger. (The carryout also has dumpling and cake menus.)

5. Old Dominion Pizza Co.

4514 Lee Hwy., Arlington

Old Dominion’s sausage-pepperoni-and-pepper pie. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Neighborhood: North Arlington.
Style: A mix of big, floppy New York slices and thicker, doughier grandma-style squares, each cooked in a deck oven.
Go if you like: Manhattan’s takeout-slice joints.
Who’s behind it: John Rodas, who spent 25 years working for Domino’s and also runs the Clarendon bar Spirits of ’76.
Most creative offering: A white pizza with Brussels sprouts, roasted mushrooms, and caramelized onions.
Best pie: The Patriot, with pepperoni, hot honey, and oregano.
Don’t leave without trying: A grandma-style slice.

This article appears in the June 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

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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 Logan Circle.