The Ultimate DC Pizza Spots for a Legit Slice
We’ve asked the experts.
Sure, DC may not have a style of pizza to call its own, perse, but that just means it gets the best of everywhere else. And isn’t that the most democratic way to enjoy pizza anyway? What that also means is pizza lovers can afford to be picky when it comes to their preferred pie. Those in search of loaded toppings might be partial to Timber, while those who want their crust thin and crispy could opt for Menomale, or, if you are James Beard-nominated chef Tony Conte of Inferno Pizzeria, it’s all about the dough.
Conte says that holy grail dough is something he and his team are always chasing, and he knows the mark has been hit when the crust turns out “light, airy, and with just a little bit of crisp.” It’s this daily pursuit of perfection that has Conte making every batch of dough himself, rolling out every dough ball.
When it comes to toppings, though, he’s somewhat of a minimalist -- within reason. When you strip away the fancy meats and the truffle oil and the globs of ricotta, he says, the true test of quality arrives. No longer able to hide behind niceties, the bare bones of the pizza are then revealed to the customer: dough, sauce, cheese, maybe a little basil here and there.
“If we’re going someplace and want to judge whether we believe they’re doing something at a high level, and want to taste the key ingredients, we’d usually get a marinara. It’s basically just what it’s supposed to be,” says Conte. “Show us who you are. The dough is going to tell me who you are, and if I get that and fall in love with it then that’s a homerun.”
The other great thing about a simple, delicious pizza -- it’s still going to taste pretty good even if you have to warm it back up. Indeed, Conte tells us that in spite of the pandemic, Inferno has somehow managed to thrive. Some might attribute it to consistency, and the fact that people turn to tried and true dishes like pizza when everything else around them seems a little mad. Whether you’re seeking your next at-home comfort pie or a classier date spot, these are our favorite pizza joints throughout the DMV, ensuring your next great slice is never too far away.
Sonny’s Pizza is all about the vibe -- with benches reclaimed from bowling alleys and tables made out of repurposed bleachers. Munch on slices or a whole pie of their granny-style pizza out in the back “pizza garden” and make sure to check out some of its other offerings, including chicken and eggplant parms, meatballs, Caesar salads, and garlic knots.
How to order: Dine in person at Sonny’s reopened outdoor pizza garden, order a pie for takeout, or check out its Wine and Pizza Club -- a tiered monthly membership that includes bottles of wine, pizzas, and other fun perks.
Timber Pizza Company
Since Timber hit the Petworth scene in 2016, it has been making quite the splash, and for good reason. A casual atmosphere complete with communal tables and growlers of local beer make Timber a popular local spot. Here, you can order your pizza “half-and-half,” so you’ll never again have to decide between your two favorites. People go crazy for the Green Monster pie, teeming with fresh mozzarella, zucchini, and kale.
How to order: Timber is now open for carryout only, and orders can be placed online.
Though it hardly needs an introduction, 2Amys is one of DC’s longest standing favorites, and one of the founding members of the Neapolitan renaissance in the District. Come here for near-perfect, delicate pies with bubbly crusts, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant basil. The margherita is the baseline against which all Neapolitan pies in DC are judged, but a wide range of other concoctions, arancini, and an impressive Italian wine list have helped 2Amys endure as a mainstay in the capital’s culinary conversation.
How to order: Those craving a classic 2Amys pie will have to be happy with carryout. Place your order or contribute to their virtual tip jar online.
Il Canale serves up authenticity with its giant, Italian-made wood-burning oven, rotating fork dough mixer, and fresh Buffalo mozzarella -- all of the hallmarks of a true Neapolitan pie. This is what has earned the Georgetown spot the distinction of being named one of DC’s VPN pizzerias (and one of less than 400 in the world). Il Canale boasts a full Italian menu as well, but if you’re after the pie, the margherita is a little taste of Naples.
How to order: Dine both indoor and outdoor dining on the patio and rooftop. Those who do not feel comfortable venturing out yet can still order for delivery.
Since &pizza opened its DC flagship location on H Street in 2012, Washingtonians haven’t been able to get enough of the speedy, rectangular, customizable pies. One location that continues to stay absolutely packed through the day and night, especially on weekends, is the shop on U Street. With hits like the meat-packed Maverick, the vegetarian Moonstruck (covered in mushroom truffle sauce and goat cheese), and even a hot honey drizzled pie called the American Honey, there’s something for everyone.
How to order: Most &pizza locations are open for pick up and delivery, but make sure to check the location first as some, like Chinatown, remain temporarily closed.
This Atlanta-based pizza chain is all about keeping up the mellow vibes. Since its arrival to the AdMo scene, it has definitely become an institution. Come for the impressive offering of craft beers and stay for the rooftop patio. Vegetarians and vegans will also have plenty to choose from -- there’s even a great gluten-free dough option.
How to order: Mellow Mushroom’s rooftop patio is now open for limited seating, and take out, delivery and catering are all available to order online.
The tiny neighborhood of Bloomingdale has gotten some serious love lately, probably due to its surprisingly vast array of culinary options, bars, and parks. Bacio perfectly exemplifies the charm of the neighborhood with its rustic-modern feel, dog-friendly patio, and make-your-own pizza options.
How to order: Dine in on the sweet front patio or take advantage of their takeaway specials.
Comet Ping Pong
There are a few reasons to make a trip to Northwest DC’s Wakefield neighborhood -- namely Politics & Prose, Little Red Fox, and Comet Ping Pong, all of which you can find on the same stretch of Connecticut Avenue. Comet once faced some drama thanks to the infamous Pizzagate scandal, but that doesn’t negate the fact that its pizza is delicious. So are the wings. Comet is a unique spot because you can actually play Ping-Pong, and there’s a regular cadence of bands performing in its warehouse-chic back room.
How to order: Now open for indoor and outdoor seating with a reservation, but you can still get your order for takeout or delivery through ChowNow.
Pete's New Haven Style Pizza
Those homesick for New England-style pizza can find themselves at home at Pete’s. New Haven-style pies have been slowly gaining ground in DC, and Pete’s is the frontrunner: producing the large, thin, crisp crusts with a healthy char of its regional namesake. Of course, Pete’s couldn’t claim its New Haven pedigree without the requisite white clam pie: fresh clams, garlic, olive oil, and Romano.
How to order: Get your New Haven-style fix via contactless pick up or delivery, and DC college students and staff can also enjoy 10 percent off their order if they grab your pizza in person.
Stellina Pizzeria is the brainchild of longtime friends and native Italians Antonio Matarazzo and chef Matteo Venini. Besides their pies, their simple menu nods to the street food of the southern Italian coast with a selection of fried seafood and veggies served in paper cones called cuoppo.
How to order: Currently reopened for outdoor dining on their patio, with seats available first-come, first-served. Take out and delivery are also both options, and its offshoot Stellina Bottega is offering ready-to-cook meals and groceries.
Menomalé Pizza Napoletana
The lesser-known neighborhood of Brookland houses one of the city’s hidden gems. Menomale serves one of the best pies in town. Every bite of every pie tastes fresh and flavorful to the highest order. The dough is fired to the perfect state of a thin crisp shell with a mouthwateringly moist and chewy interior. The margherita is impeccable, and the Chef’s Special is not only an optimal balance of flavors and textures with its layered arugula, prosciutto, and Grana Padano -- it’s also one of the prettiest pies you’re likely to ever eat.
How to order: Open for limited patio seating with a reservation and online ordering.
Paradiso has been around for more than two decades and has expanded to five locations. Its success is due to a couple of factors. The first being its quality Neapolitan-style pies, like the ever popular Atomica -- spicy salami, pepper flakes, and sweet pickled olives crafting a potent mix of sweet and heat. The second is that Paradiso is also a killer beer bar, with dozens of crafts from around the world to choose from. Delicious pizza. Delicious beer. Name a better combo.
How to order: We were sad to wave goodbye to Pizzeria Paradiso’s Old Town Alexandria location recently, but happy to enjoy a pie on the patio in Dupont Circle or Spring Valley. Those choosing to dine at home can nab 30 percent carryout beer and 50 percent off carryout wine, or even order a Make Your Own Pizza kit to take home.
Even though Pi is known for their cornmeal deep-dish pizza, they also have unique specialty pies which feature items such as the Cubano with slow-cooked pork shoulder, country ham, kosher pickle, swiss, and yellow mustard. The St. Louis-based chain first gained notoriety after Barack Obama supposedly claimed Pi as his favorite pizza place. The ingredients are sourced locally, and they claim to have built their brand upon the promise of minimizing its carbon footprint through sustainable purchases and practices.
How to order: Pi is currently open for carryout and delivery only, and asks its customers to order and pre-pay online before arriving if they plan to pick their pizza up.
Italian-American eatery All-Purpose opened to amazing reviews and instantly bustling business in the spring of 2016. With pizza inspired by both Rome and New Jersey, it’s known for doughy crusts and delicious garlic knots. Other offerings include house-made charcuterie, a wide selection of hot and cold antipasti, and dessert from neighboring bakeshop, Buttercream.
How to order: Be sure to check out its second location, All-Purpose Riverfront in Navy Yard, whose patio is now open for outdoor dining. Takeout and delivery through Toast.
Who says it’s impossible to get a good NY slice in DC? Wiseguy is proving that you don’t have to travel up 95 for that perfect cheesy slice. Here, slices are handmade from scratch, sizable, thin, crispy, and topped with a multitude of fresh ingredients.
How to order: Order through the restaurant for takeout or get a pie delivered via Grubhub.
Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana
Inferno has once been described as “destination pizza,” and we can’t agree more. Each pizza dough is lovingly stretched and shaped by chef Tony Conte, a Jean-Georges alum, before getting charred to perfection. Ingredients are sourced locally and the small menu is always rotating depending on what’s fresh and in season, so pizza lovers should check back regularly.
How to order: Their tiny strip mall location is open now for takeout only, and with a small amount of product and a high demand, make sure to call 301-963-0115 early in the day if you’re looking to pick up a pie.