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Who Has the Best Pizza in the DC Area?


ksfquilts
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Heather--I've had surprisingly wonderful Bertucci's pizza and wonderful customer service at Virginia and New Jersey locations--for what they are aiming for and their price point--and then an awful experience at one DC location--so I think it depends on the particular owners, employees and local clientele.

Give them another chance--Bertucci's can be very good, very consistent, flavorful, adequately cooked crust and much better than any of the other pizza chains and franchises. Very accomodating for children, some good apps and salads and pastas, too. (I enjoy the pizzas more than the pastas, so on that I haven't had as much luck as Dave.)

The NJ (on Rte. 1 & 9 in Woodbridge) and VA locations (on Rte. 7 near Tysons--now gone) were freestanding and run like extant restaurants, owner/managers on site and meaning they knew locals and families and repeat customers were coming there to eat not to kill time; my bad DC experience was in a Mall, near Kinkeads and Tower records--was the White Flint Bertucci's actually in the Mall? I don't do the Maryland thing too much but would suspect you're at a big disadvantage at any given price point, any cuisine, simply by its location within a Mall. Nothing is as good as it should be in and around Tysons, for instance, even given what they are aiming for.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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It is surpris  The NJ (on Rte. 1 & 9 in Woodbridge) and VA locations (on Rte. 7 near Tysons--now gone) were freestanding and run like extant restaurants, owner/managers on site and meaning they knew locals and families and repeat customers were coming there to eat not to kill time; my bad DC experience was in a Mall, near Kinkeads and Tower records--was the White Flint Bertucci's actually in the Mall?  I don't do the Maryland thing too much but would suspect you're at a big disadvantage at any given price point, any cuisine, simply by its location within a Mall.  Nothing is as good as it should be in and around Tysons, for instance, even given what they are aiming for.

Steve, I had a bad experience at the Bertucci's in the 2000 Penn Ave complex too, and good pizza at the location on Connecticut south of Dupont Circle, so your theory about mall location may be correct. The White Flint location is in the mall and that may be the source of its suckiness. The other choices were the Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Changs, or fast food. Next time we will plan to get the heck out of there well before suppertime.

You're right about Tysons. The only interesting restaurant in Tysons I was America, which was hit or miss but an interesting concept. Tysons II is marginally better only because they have a Legal Seafood, which can be relied on to have a decent oyster selection if nothing else. If you have to eat at Tysons II a better option is the Ritz Carlton which is accessible from the mall.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I'm a newbie, and glad to find you all.

The Italian Store has ok pizza bianca, but their regular pizza reminds me of the thin crust stuff I used to get for a quarter across the street from my grammar school in North Jersey (many years ago). I'm in the neighborhood of the Italian Store, and use it as a great source for ingredients for cooking and for inexpensive Italian red wines. In Rosslyn, Il Radicchio makes a so-so thincrust pie with a variety of toppings - they have a wood oven - but I still prefer Pizza Paradiso.

I've been spoiled by the grilled pizza at Al Forno in Providence, RI, which I now make myself on my Weber (studied cooking with the owners many moons ago in Venice - a long story).

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I've lived in the DC area for nearly 40 years now, and NOTHING I've ever eaten here has been close to a slice from any of the Ray's, John's et al. from NYC. Our pizza is a combination of not the right crust, not the right tomato sauce and bad, greasy cheese. There should be a special notation for Maryland-style pizza, which is often sqaure (Ledo's, Gentlman Jims) and often made with smoked provolone and greasy mozzarella. The killer is definitely the sugary tomato sauce that can send you into diabetic shock! Nonetheless, follwing someone's note that Rockville is Pizza Hell, I would suggest two Rockville area (where I have lived the last 11 years) joints that make a relatively good "baked dough with tomato and cheese" dish. One is Mama Lucia's, just off the Pike near Trader Joes and Comp USA. The other is Il Forno in Bethesda, where they bake with a wood fire. It gets a little burned and crispy. A number of NYC'rs I've taken there swear that it's not pizza, but that didn't stop them from eating it.

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pizza threads are so much fun and so interesting, becasue even if you are not from the area being discussed, you can enjoy the age old discussions of thin crust, toppings, cheeses, etc.

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I remember one thing that really surprised me when I moved here from Connecticut... when you order sausage on your pizza, more likely than not you'll get breakfast/sage based sausage and not italian/fennel based sausage.

That takes a little getting used to.

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  • 1 month later...

Pizza is one of my favorite foods, and since I didn't see my favorite local pizza joint talked about, I had to register and post! :biggrin:

Joe's Place Pizza and Pasta, has some of what I think is the best NY style pizza in the area. I am going to have to try some of the others mentioned in this thread to verify it is actually the best though!

It has a few locations, I go to the one in Arlington, and I know there is a Gaithersburg as well.

Casual Dining, I've never had to wait.

Lunch buffet 7 days a week, and Dinner Buffet on certain nights of the week (not sure which nights) Soda comes in giant personal pitchers.

At the lunch it seems like there is always a decent crowd, keeping the pizzas moving, and there always seems to be a steady stream of fresh pizzas going onto the buffet (at least at the Arlingon location I go to)

Ledo's would have to be my number 2 pizza, and Lost Dog Cafe would be my number 3.

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I live in Laurel, and the pizza I buy most usually comes from Pasta Plus (not bad, the sausage they use is pretty good) in Laurel, or from Trattoria e Pizzeria in Columbia on the way home from work.

Mrs. TJ works just north of Dupont Circle, I have to tell her about Pizza Paradiso, I am not sure she's aware of it...

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Without question, the best pizza in the region is to be found at Mario's, on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington (basically Balston). The pizza is made in large pans and then cut into squares. You can get each piece with it own toppings.

I first started going there in 1970, and it has hardly changed at all since then. Although we live in Annapolis, we religiously take out from Marios nearly every Friday, bringing the pizza back home to reheat on a pizza stone. Go before 6 pm any day and get to know Joe, who has worked at Marios since it opened in 1957. After six, Ranvir is the pizza king. He will take care of you. If you try it, especially there where you will have to eat standing up or outside at one of the picnic tables, you will never give it up.

Well I'm working quite near Ballston today, and I left my lunch at home, so I think I will go try it out. I'll report more later (too bad I didn't bring my digital camera :huh: )

-

Scott

I'm your only friend

I'm not your only friend

But I'm a little glowing friend

But really I'm not actually your friend

But I am

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Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Why isn't there a drooling emoticon?

Mario's Subs and Pizza is really good. The crust is crusty and brown, the sauce is delicious and in a good amount, the toppings (pepperoni and mushrooms in this case) are on top of the cheese, and they are fixed in place. The cheese and toppings do not move around on the crust.

There was a Ms. Pac Man game in use, and a crowd of contractors with hardhats in hand when I arrived. Joe took my order - many of the customers greeted him by name, and he knew several of their names.

As mentioned before, the slices are square, even if you order a small pizza (which I did - it's six slices). This enables them to precook the crust on large baking sheets in the oven. The process is elaborate - they precook the crust, add sauce, cook some more, then use a large fork to score the surface (I think that's why the cheese fuses to the crust so well), and then cut into 4x4" squares and add toppings, cooking some more after that. Joe threw a few shakes of parmesan cheese over the slices once they were in the box and handed it over.

This is some of the best pizza I've ever had. I'm going to stop writing and eat now.

--

Scott

Edited by sashorter (log)

I'm your only friend

I'm not your only friend

But I'm a little glowing friend

But really I'm not actually your friend

But I am

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...Trattoria e Pizzeria in Columbia ...

agree.

thought it may be a bit outside the dc resident's ideal of convienience,

but if i wanted to, would rather call a friend to take me to 'trattoria e pizzeria' than marios if for just the pizza....

marios' no comparison --'trattoria e pizzeria' [sic?] is better

Edited by dave88 (log)
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The subs are also very good at Marios, I like it alot, but be warned its not the cleanest of places I've ever been.

Just as well I didn't know that. :blink:

Scott managed to restrain himself and bring two slices home. Even reheated it was delicious pizza.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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How thick or thin is Mario's crust?

I would call it medium to thin. What I liked best about it was the sauce - just the right amount. Good quality mushrooms and pepperoni too. It wasn't Pizzaria Paradiso, but for carry-out pizza it was easily one of the best I've had. Scott is going to bring some home next week too so that we can do more extensive research. :smile:

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Do the boys at Mario's still wear those aprons witht he front pockets where they keep the toppings? I don't think I've ever had Mario's sober, but we used to love to go there after a night of drinking and thought it was hilarious that the boys would reach into their pockets and pull out pepperoni and mushrooms (and lint? and god knows what else?) to sprinkle on the slice.

As I recall, the sausage pizza was one big patty in the middle of a square slice. Is it still the same?

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Do the boys at Mario's still wear those aprons witht he front pockets where they keep the toppings?

I didn't notice that, but try as I might, the place was too crowded for me to see all the workings. I didn't manage to watch Joe put the toppings on.

As I recall, the sausage pizza was one big patty in the middle of a square slice.  Is it still the same?

Didn't get sausage, I'll have to go back to find out.

One other thing I forgot to mention was the tee shirts they sold. One was fairly standard, but the other was amusing. It pictured a large pepperoni pizza with a brunette in a bikini doing some sort of stretching exercises on top of it. The caption read, "Mario's Pizza, Where I Got My First Piece." :laugh: Maybe I'll pick one up...

--

Scott

Edited by sashorter (log)

I'm your only friend

I'm not your only friend

But I'm a little glowing friend

But really I'm not actually your friend

But I am

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Three words: Go to Ella's.

I just had a great pizza there with roasted garlic, tomato, and wild mushrooms.

Actually, the ideal plan is probably to go to Matchbox for a beer and some mini-burgers, then hop around the corner to Ella's for the pizza.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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One other thing I forgot to mention was the tee shirts they sold.  One was fairly standard, but the other was amusing.  It pictured a large pepperoni pizza with a brunette in a bikini doing some sort of stretching exercises on top of it.  The caption read, "Mario's Pizza, Where I Got My First Piece."  :laugh:  Maybe I'll pick one up...

--

Scott

Oh really? :hmmm: As long as you don't wear it around me...

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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