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.
Aria Pizzeria & Bar alleviates daytime stress with an assortment of hearty happy-hour fare and drink specials served in a casual atmosphere boasting high-definition TVs and occasional live music. Large cheese and pepperoni pizzas ($12–$14) form an absorbent foundation for 16-ounce drafts of Stella Artois ($4) or a signature Dark n' Stormy cocktail ($5). Fill the gullet of a large group or a massive Super Soaker with a 60-ounce pitcher of on-tap Jose Cuervo margarita or Jeremiah Weed sweet tea and lemonade ($20 each) and relax in one of more than 100 outdoor seats in the Ronald Reagan Building courtyard patio. Customers that use their Groupon for Saturday-evening dinner can feast on forkfuls of baked lasagna ($9.75) or saw through the crusty exterior of a blackened-chicken sandwich with provolone cheese and aioli ($7.75). The eatery's sociable staff will also gladly validate your parking or decision to become a rodeo clown.