For my first months living in DC I conditioned myself to accept the fact that I was never going to find good pizza, as I was told by everyone that it simply did not exist. While this fate seemed sad I accepted it rather readily until with fresh inspiration and new recommendations I went on a tour de pizza and actually found some delicious pies.
First stop: Wise Guy NY Pizza
I have to admit that my first trip to Wise Guy Pizza in Judiciary Square did not leave me wanting more and did nothing to satisfy my pizza craving that had now gotten to a point beyond control. I blame this on improper ordering and peer pressure to split a Baked Ziti Pie. Pasta does not belong on pizza and I should have known better. Bread and carbs are a wonderful thing but there is no reason for a pizza joint to cram mediocre Italian pasta on perfectly good New York Style Pizza dough. The lesson here was stick to what you are good at and don’t go for the turduckin of pizza. Round two was infinitely better and my faith in Wise Guy was restored. I ordered by the slice so I had free reign over all the options. I went with the a slice of the Wise Guy and Mushroom Truffle Pizza. Now that was some pretty good pizza. The slight New York pizza snob inside me would say that the ingredients really shined and came together nicely and the sauce and dough was good but not up to par. I would still recommend a stop by Wise Guy if you have a hankering for NYC pizza because it might be your best bet.
Second Stop: Pizzeria Paradiso
At Pizzeria Paradiso we turned to Italian style pizza in Dupont Circle. The restaurant felt like a cozy neighborhood joint and was buzzing with people. Before I even get to the pizze, I have to comment on the impressive beer selection that can be a bit hard to find in DC. More so then being a slight pizza snob, I am a Boulder grown craft beer brat so I always appreciate a great on tap menu. On to the pizza, my friend and I split the Bottarga with Paradiso Tomato, Minced Garlic, Parsley, Parmesan, Egg, and Bottarga. To be honest we both did not know what Bottarga was but we loved the sound of all the other ingredients and were feeling adventurous. I love to put an egg on almost everything that I consume because it adds an unmatchable rich and salty taste to any dish. Bottarga turned out to be a Mediterranean delicacy of salted, cured, fish roe. The creamy egg yolk that oozed all over the pizza combined with the salty textured Bottarga turned out to be an excellent combination. The sauce was also pretty killer and held its own against the other strong flavors. Stop by Pizzeria Pardiso for some killer pizza and a fantastic happy hour.
Third Stop: Rosemary Thyme Bistro
I’ll have to start my final pizza spot review with a disclaimer: Rosemary Thyme Bistro is NOT a pizza joint but is classified as Mediterranean, Greek and Turkish inspired. However, this little gem turned out to have quite good brick oven fare and I was pleasantly surprised after my partner ordered us the Quattro Formaggio Pizza. Rosemary Thyme also tricks you because the pizza has in reality, only three cheese, with one cheese served two different ways. The pizza starts with a classic tomato sauce base with mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top but then you are thrown fresh mozzarella, that gets melted and stringy, perfectly combining with the remaining cheeses, provolone and feta. The pizza is topped with basil and tomatoes to make it an excellent spin on a classic Margarita. As I pursued the menu a couple of the more traditional Greek fare also jumped out at me. I will definitely be returning to Rosemary Thyme for more pizza and to try some other dishes as well.