Jos? Velasquez, the co-owner of Moroni & Brothers Pizza Restaurant, crafts the eatery?s dough himself. The mounds?blends of flour, yeast, honey, salt, and olive oil?then get hand-stretched into crusts that Washingtonian magazine laud as ?excellent canvases.? Upon those planes, custom combos of more than 25 toppings scatter, such as mussels and buffalo mozzarella, before baking in a brick oven. The result, raves the Washingtonian, is pizza with ?more finesse? and ?more soul? than its chain counterparts.
But pizza is only half the story at Moroni & Brothers. Rather than rounding out the menu with easily ignorable pizzeria eats or plastic food replicas, Velasquez includes zesty Salvadoran and Mexican specialties. On the Salvadoran side, the culinary team whips up tongue stew and saut?ed pork chops, as well as El Salvador's national dish: pupusas. On the Mexican side, cooks stuff quesadillas with spinach and fill tacos with grilled fajita beef to add a bit of zip to a common dish.
From Mexico to Dubai, all Flippin Pizza locations share at least one thing: every 18-inch pie starts as a carefully kneaded ball of dough that cooks hand-toss until it forms a perfectly thin, airy disc. Several specialty pizzas take their names from New York City boroughs to symbolize their traditional thin-crust approach, and they arrive topped with everything from meatballs and fresh garlic to buffalo chicken. Pesto or blue-cheese dressing replace red sauce on a selection of white pies, and hearty calzones and salads are, like a pi?ata at a nutritionist's birthday party, stuffed with colorful veggies.
After visiting Ella's Wood Fired Pizza, a reviewer from the Washington City Paper went over the moon for its signature crust. Baked in the eatery's namesake oven, Ella's Neapolitan-style thin crusts are "perfectly crisp with a hint of smoke," while touches of olive oil and sea salt lend "tremendous flavor." Of course, the fixings atop that flavorful foundation are equally swoon-worthy. Ella's cooks handcraft nearly 20 specialty pies, from the di mare's pairing of pesto and shrimp to the bosco's medley of roasted tomatoes and roasted-garlic puree. The culinary team also yields decisions to diners, who can customize pizzas with 40-plus ingredients?including fingerling potatoes and vegan soy cheese?along with the option for a gluten-free crust.
Alongside pizzas, the kitchen staff specializes in traditional and creative Italian dishes, from mushroom ravioli with roasted red pepper sauce to risotto balls filled with gooey mozzarella. Plentiful beer and wine options complement meals, which unfold in a cozy interior with rustic Italian touches such as stone columns and a corner reserved for napping gondoliers.
Pronounced “AH-beets,” Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza sets itself apart from more familiar pie prototypes with a crunchy yet chewy, stone oven-cooked crust, irregular shape, and massive size. Combining their roots in fine dining with a dedication to fresh and simple Italian cuisine, Pete’s chefs make the gluten-free pizza crust in-house each day and top pies with savory sauce and locally-sourced toppings that are farm-fresh, organic, or made in house. Their artisan approach means that each apizza emerges with its own imperfectly round shape, primarily served in 18-inch whole pies, single slices, or doughy maps of ancient Greek city-states.
Pete’s menu also encompasses wheat- and egg-based pastas including goat cheese and basil ravioli, homemade lasagna, and spaghetti Bolognese. The fortress of feasting also channels the vibes of a neighborhood bar with a variety of draft and bottled beers, eclectic décor, and oven doors that bark out patrons’ names when they walk through the door.
Located a few steps from the C&O Canal in the heart of Georgetown, this upscale eatery specializes in authentic Southern Italian cuisine and Neapolitan-style pizza. The sleek, modern dining room is accented by vibrant blues, while the pizza kitchen and wood-fired oven imported from Naples are situated up front for all to see. Pies are made within strict accordance of Verace Pizza Napolitana regulations, which require the use of imported mozzarella di bufala, San Marzano tomatoes and ‰ÛÏ00‰Û� flour. While pizza is the main draw at Il Canale, the restaurant also features a full menu of Italian classics like gnocchi, spaghetti al pomodoro and chicken marsala. The ‰ÛÏterrazzo,‰Û� or rooftop patio, offers views of the canal and is a good choice on spring and summer evenings.
Zorba’s Cafe, with its sea blue and white interior and its comprehensive Greek menu, offers a little taste of Greece in Dupont Circle. Prices are decidedly cheap as well, though the lack of true table service helps to keep costs down. Patrons order at the cash register, pay and then wait for their order to come up; it’s a simple process that just adds to the charm at Zorba’s. Dive into your yero (as they dub gyro here) plate or your mousaka, and the minutes you spent waiting at the counter for your order to be called will disappear in an instant. A number of allergy-aware, gluten-free and vegetarian options line the ample menu as well inside this two-level space. On temperate days, you can’t beat a seat on the outdoor patio.