Unlike several other pizza-proud places in the U.S., Washington, D.C. doesn’t possess a singular point of view when it comes to za, which makes sense for the political town. No, the diverse makeup of the capital means all kinds of comers when it comes to pies, including Emmy Squared’s Detroit-style, Chicago deep dish at Pi Pizzeria, NYC “streetza” at Wiseguy, and Sicilian slices at Sonny’s. Here are some of the very best pizza joints in the D.C. metro area to inspire your next order, based on our local knowledge and our diners’ favorite spots.
It’s hard to come to a consensus on anything in D.C., but Andy’s is an exception. Owner Andy Brown’s New York-style pie won the International Pizza Challenge in 2021, besting competitors from everywhere including (gasp!) the city that never sleeps itself. Brown and his team have been offering nearly a dozen pizzas, from a simple cheese to a white pie with roasted garlic olive oil, mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta, since opening in late 2018. There are a slew of non-pizza options, too, if you want to round out your meal: Add some chicken tendies, a kale salad or an ooey-gooey side of hand-tied burrata to your order.
Sink your teeth into the best of both worlds at Emmy Squared. An outpost of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn restaurant that took New York by storm in 2016, Emmy Squared serves Detroit-style pizzas that have a bit of the New York Grandma to them, and there are even gluten-free options. The result is a superb slab of fluffy focaccia-like dough with a frico crust (caramelized cheese? Yes, please!). They’re all bangers, but the MVP with housemade vodka sauce, red sauce, garlic parsley pesto, and a sesame seed crust gets us every time. The real surprise? This pizza place also has an eponymous award-winning burger (what up, Infatuation!), so grab one of those too.
This Dupont Circle spot from chef Rachael Jennings (formerly of Rose’s Luxury) makes what you might call neo-Neapolitan pies, which are known for their sublime crusts. Sure, there’s a straightforward marinara pie if you want it (you do), but there’s nothing else traditional about this menu. Try the Kelly Ruben, a deli-inspired creation featuring pastrami, swiss and gruyere; This Is Beans’ ode to Taco Bell’s Mexican pie, including chipotle ranch; and the Harambe Loved Big Macs, which comes with special sauce just like the real thing. (Also, RIP, gorilla friend.)
Not a typo! Apizza, aka New Haven, Conn.-style za, is thin-crusted and coal-fired. Pete’s is all about that signature extra-crispy goodness — served by the slice or pie — which comes piping hot out of a deck oven, not the traditional New Haven charcoal. There are nearly two dozen selections in small, medium, and large options, but anyone without a shellfish allergy has to get the white New Haven with clams, garlic, oregano, extra-virgin olive oil, and pecorino romano. Also available: the rare mozz-less Tomato Pie, an homage to the Utica, N.Y., delicacy.
Joe Farruggio knows pizza. The Sicily native kicked off his career as a pizzaiolo in New York City back in 1970, then opened Georgetown’s famed Il Canale (which is also on this list). His other Georgetown gem, 90 Second Pizzeria Napoletano, specializes in (you guessed it), authentic Neapolitan pizza baked in a brick pizza oven for 90 seconds at a fiery 900 degrees. This stuff is the real Naples deal: Antimo Caputo 00 flour, hand-shaped dough, and pies cooked in a double-dome oven on a volcanic surface. A second location is headed to Chinatown in 2023.
Thin-crust pies from a wood-fired oven dazzle at this hip, critically acclaimed Upper Northwest pizzeria (and ping-pong-eria) that’s been open since 2006. The menu is chock-full of clever creations, maybe most of all the Ca-Lamb-Ity J's with garlic, oil, whipped feta, lamb sausage, tzatziki, and za'atar spice. The Cooking Channel has praised the Smoky, covered with smoky mushrooms, smoky mozzarella, smoky bacon — you get the idea — as a top selection. And when Guy Fieri came to visit, he couldn’t resist the Yalie: fresh clams, garlic, olive oil, melted onions, thyme, parmesan, and lemon. Out of bounds!
Everything about this place is legit. Pupatella is just one of a handful of restaurants in the D.C. area to be awarded Verace Pizza Association certification (Crust, also on this list, is another), the definition of true Naples pizza. With a Forno Napoletano wood-burning oven manned by Naples native Enzo Algarme, the soft, pillowy pies here are crafted using the 200-year-old Neapolitan technique. The Margherita and the Classica both feature toppings that are DOC ("denominazione di origine controllata," or quality-controlled) — San Marzano tomatoes grown in Italy, fresh mozzarella made with buffalo milk or fior di latte — and you should try both. But there are a number of worthwhile riffs to try too, like the red meatball pizza with ricotta, and the white burrata pie with cherry tomatoes and pine nuts.
If you’ve ever watched with envy as Tony Soprano took down a slice, consider All-Purpose a good New Jersey stand-in. (Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema has confessed to demolishing a pie all on his own, and we fully get it.) The deck-oven-cooked dough here is vegan, and pies can be made gluten-free as well. The Standard — with tomato, mozzarella, Siciliana oregano, and grana padano cheese — is a great entree to All-Purpose’s charms. There’s also a pizza kit available for DIYers, as well as maybe the best bonus of all: to-go pouch cocktails and mocktails, like the Aperol Spritz and Phony Negroni.
Here, red light means go. This place, helmed by Michigander Naomi Gallego (of Little Beast, also on this list) is strictly about Detroit-style pizza: a rectangular dough with crispy, caramelized cheese edges and crowned with brick cheese. (Think of it as a cousin to cheddar but softer in texture and edgier in flavor.) Red Light serves up the most straightforward format (brick cheese and tomato sauce) as well as 11 other jazzed-up versions for anyone feeling saucy, most of them named after Detroit nabes or points of pride, like the Detroit Tigers pie. The Motown with brick cheese, chili relish, pepperoni, caramelized onion, meatballs, roasted red pepper, banana peppers, and tomato sauce is a crowd fave, as is the OG Pepperoni.
The wood-fired oven at VPA-certified Crust was hand-crafted in Naples and reaches an impressive 1,000 degrees, which enables pizzaiolos to turn out soft-on-the-inside, crispy-and-puffy-on-the-outside pies in just 90 seconds. The divine Diavola pizza delivers a hit of heat with soppressata and spicy tomato sauce, complemented by creamy, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. The kid's pizza is right-priced and right-sized for young eaters, a welcome relief for harried parents looking to save a dime.
Damn, it feels good to eat like a gangster. The New York-style pies here, cooked in an old-school deck oven, are no joke: The water is even filtered to mimic that of the five boroughs’ famously pristine H2O. If you’re a newbie (or a homesick New Yorker), by all means order the massive Build Your Own Big Apple 18” pie. But don’t discount the other super-delish options, including vegan versions, a meat-heavy Godfather Pizza, a white pie, and the sublime Korean Chicken Pizza, made with house chili and sweet sauce, crispy chicken, mozzarella cheese, cabbage mix, and a house sesame dressing. And, for the love of god, don’t forget the garlic knots.
Chef-owner Juan Olivera opened Lupo in the summer of 2021 with an eye on upping D.C.’s pizza game. The list of thin-crust pies here goes to 11, and other than the Margherita, each is unique in its own way. The signature Lupo Marino, made with dashi tomato passata, calamari, prawns, mussels, and handmade squid-ink dough, is a feast for the belly as well as your Insta. The Agrodolce pie — with fig jam, mozzarella, gorgonzola, aged Parm, arugula, and a balsamic glaze — could pull double duty as dinner and dessert, but it doesn’t have to: Olivera also offers a Pizza Dolce with Nutella and berries if you want a bite of the sweetest pie to cap off your meal.
Restaurateur Joe Farruggio of the aforementioned (and incredible) 90 Second Pizzeria founded Il Canale in 2008, and it quickly became known for its authentic Verace pizza, drawing in heads of state and celebs alike. Pies are all made with the same carefully sourced ingredients, like the Del Pizzaiolo Rossa featuring 00 flour and topped with tomato sauce, imported buffalo mozzarella, bocconcini mozzarella, arugula, bresaola, grape tomatoes, parmesan, olive oil, and basil.
Owner Haluk Kantar opened his first Homeslyce a decade ago, and its booming popularity with pizza patrons propelled him to open six additional locations. Here, “slyces” are on offer, along with 12- and 16-inch pies. The build-your-own option includes choices of seven sauces, 22 veggie toppings, 11 protein toppings, and seven cheese options (including one vegan variety). If you don’t feel like doing any thinking, the Grand Classic is a no-brainer: It’s got HomeSlyce sauce, goat and mozzarella cheeses, walnuts, eggplant, spinach, caramelized onions, and roasted peppers for a guaranteed flavor explosion.
Awaken the beast, whether it craves Neapolitan-style, Detroit slices or even … homemade cupcakes?! The white pizza, with mozzarella, garlic, Parmesan-Romano, and provolone, is an exercise in understated elegance at Red Light’s sister spot, while the duck confit pie, with butternut puree, caramelized onion, butternut squash, duck confit, mozzarella, baby kale, and truffle honey, is a decadent pizza designed to share. (No judgment here if you want the whole thing for yourself.)
Partners Max Zuckerman, Ben Heller, and Cody Hochheiser are D.C. natives who set out to do the impossible: bring the perfect New York slice shop to the District. An abundance of care goes into the hefty yet airy Sicilian crusts here: The dough is made with two types of flour, then cold-proofed for an entire day, stretched and par-baked; finally, it’s finished in the types of deck ovens that tend to dot Tri-State areas pizzerias. If you prefer a slice over a whole pie, you’ve got four solid options: pepperoni, cheese, mushroom, and arugula and chili oil. Best part? You can order cocktails from the owners’ other baby, No Kisses bar, including an old fashioned, a negroni, and an aperitif.
What do you get when you combine two friends, a ’67 Chevy pickup, a mobile pizza oven, and a trained chef? The start of the Timber Fam, as they call themselves. From those humble beginnings, self-taught pizzaiolos Andrew Dana and Chris Brady, along with chef Dani Moreira, founded their first brick-and-mortar in 2016 and earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand Award along the way. Timber servers “peace, love, and carbs” via crispier-than-usual Neapolitan pies, among them fan fave the Bentley: tomato sauce, a provolone-and-mozzarella blend, cured chorizo, soppressata, Peruvian sweet peppers, and spicy honey.
Inspired by the cuisine of Italy’s Campania region, Mozzeria, which was founded in 2011 in San Francisco, is the only deaf-owned and -operated pizzeria to hold a coveted Verace Pizza Napoletana certification. With an emphasis on Neapolitan pies baked in a 12,000-pound Acunto Mario Doppio wood-burning oven — and ASL! — the Mozzeria D.C. team turns out a certified Margherita DOP pizza. Denominazione di Origine Protetta, or DOP., means protected designation of origin, and, in the case of a Margherita DOP, it must be made with mozzarella di bufala (not the fresh mozz that graces their other Marg pie), grana padano, pomodoro, basil, and extra-virgin olive oil. For a pie with some greens on top, choose the Oscar, forged with housemade basil and spinach pesto, chevre, cherry tomatoes, pickled onions, and spinach.
Every day is pie day at Pi Pizzeria in the Penn Quarter. Can’t choose between deep dish or thin crust? You can have both here. The deep crusts (many inspired by the St. Louis crust style; this is an outpost of the OG location in St. Louis) gets an assist from corn meal, making the South Side Classico with mozzarella, Berkshire sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions a crunchy dream. If you’re in the mood for something thin, pick the Maplewood with mozzarella, Italian sausage, cherry peppers, fontina, and basil FTW.
The folks behind Flippin’ Pizza have cracked the code to creating New York-style pies outside of New York. The secret lies in a simple four-ingredient crust and specially filtered water, which has an NYC-esque PH balance reinforced with minerals like calcium and magnesium. There are daily slice deals available if you can’t commit to just one of their 10- or 18-inch hand-tossed pies. Vegetarian offerings abound, and a cauliflower-based gluten-free crust is available along with build-your-own options.
Chef-owner Ruth Gresser’s D.C. pizza journey began the way many pizzaiolas' have: She couldn’t find a pie she liked, so she made one herself. In 1991 she acquired a space and a wood-burning stove that roars to 650 degrees and above and focused on quality ingredients and patient preparation. There are 14 pies on the menu in both 9- and 12-inch sizes. Gresser famously resisted pepperoni and other popular American toppings that weren’t traditionally Italian for more than 20 years, but, we’re grateful the James Beard semifinalist caved nearly a decade ago.
Just across the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, Fiorella crafts a respectable range of brick-oven baked pies. There are 10 in total, including classics like a Margherita and pepperoni-studded pizza; and not-so-classics, like the luxurious truffle-and-mushroom pie with housemade sausage, a tangy barbecue chicken pizza, and the cheesesteak, which is assembled with tender braised steak, roasted peppers and onions, and white sauce.
It’s a family affair at Osteria Marzano, with Carmine Marzano (formerly of Ristorante Luigino) and his daughter Elena Pouchelon running the show—and serving brick-oven pizza—among other Italian specialties, since 2014. There are six carefully constructed pies here, including one named for Marzano’s wife, Deborah, which includes homemade sausage, green peppers, kalamata olives, and onion. You can customize any pizza, or start from scratch with a plain cheese pie and let your imagination run wild with 32 different possible additions.
What is now Manny & Olga’s started way back in 1974 when Greece native Manny Athanasakis opened a restaurant. Almost two decades later, he renamed the spot after himself and his beloved daughter, and built a pizza empire that now spans D.C. and Maryland. There are Italy-centric offerings like cheese pizza and the 102 Pepperoni Lovers pie, which promises 102(!) pieces of ‘roni, and Greek-accented selections, like the My Big Fat Greek Pizza, featuring gyro meat, black olives, spinach, feta cheese, onions, and sliced tomatoes. Bonus: Delivery goes until 4 a.m. for all you late-night pizza lovers.
This Capitol Hill staple is known as much for its philanthropy as its pizza, having fed hungry National Guard troops in their time of need in January 2021. There’s some star power here too: Top Chef contender turned culinary superstar Spike Mendelsohn’s family operates the popular local mini-chain and other D.C. eateries. The double pepperoni pizza is a popular pick (because DOUBLE PEPPERONI), but be sure to give the spinach and artichoke pie with spinach sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, and roasted artichokes a shot. And maybe throw in some sweet Mexican cinnamon knots for good measure.
For nearly 30 years, this family-owned restaurant has been serving New York-style pizza in the historic Old Town district in Alexandria. There are more than two dozen pies on the menu to work your way through, including a healthy assortment of white pizzas, like the classic Bianca, with olive oil, garlic, oregano, basil and — you guessed it! — four cheeses. Pies come in four sizes, ranging from personal pizzas to 18 inches. You can also request a more formidable hand-tossed or thin crust, or a make-your-own option if you’re in the mood for some DIY.
Surprise: Sicilian Pizza serves mostly round Neapolitan-style pies — more than 20 of them, actually! The mainstay is the traditional cheese, but — twist! — you can choose your own sauce, such as tomato, garlic herb, spicy roasted red pepper, and pesto with pine nuts, and you can add toppings (from an impressive 39 options) to create your own bespoke pizza. There are gourmet pies as well. The Supremo is like the everything bagel of pizzas: It’s got tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, green peppers, caramelized onions, Italian sausage, and black olives. Chef’s kiss.
Yes, &pizza is a chain of fast-casual spots, but hear us out. It has dozens of thriving locations for a good (and delicious) reason. Here, oblong-shaped pies come with cheeky names and big flavors, like the American Honey (with pepperoni and hot honey) and one pie titled simply with three fire emojis, featuring spicy tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, pickled Fresno chiles, grilled onions, Italian sausage, and hot honey. The craft-your-own option is an easy way to customize any pie.
Plant lovers need pizza too! Fruitive is a plant-based, certified-organic eatery that serves whole-wheat-crust pizzas with housemade tomato sauce and cashew cheese. The Roasted Veggie features butternut squash, caramelized onions, pepitas, and a balsamic glaze; the Mediterranean is topped with red peppers, broccoli, kalamata olives, spinach, and a lemon-basil vinaigrette.
Boogy & Peel by Kimberly Kong/NOM Digital
Courtesy of Sonny’s Pizzeria
L’Ardente by Mike Fuentes Photography
Courtesy of Emmy Squared Pizzeria
All-Purpose Pizzeria by Scott Schumann