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Pizzeria Paradiso
2003 P Street, NW
(202) 223-1245
3282 M Street, NW
(202) 337-1245
Washington, DC

www.eatyourpizza.com

There appears to be a general consensus - with which I most assuredly agree - that Pizzeria Paradiso makes the best pizza in DC or, as the Washingtonian puts it, the "best pizza... this side of Naples." And after nearly twenty years on the scene, that is high praise, indeed.

In actuality, there are two locations: a rather diminutive establishment - 10-tables plus counter - located near the Dupont Circle; and a larger sibling, which sports a full bar and private dining room, located next to Dean & Deluca on M Street in Georgetown. Wherever you choose to chow down, however, given these establishments' immense popularity and no reservations policy, unless you choose to throw on the feedbag off peak, you'll probably have to wait.

...But this pizza, as noted above, is well worth waiting for. Personally, I prefer a thin crust, but the product proffered here is of a thicker variety (all pizzas available in either 8- or 12-inch versions). The key, however, is that, although the crust is rather doughy, it is also marvelously light and crisp... and the ingredients are pristinely fresh.

Possibilities range from the simple "Paradiso," sporting only tomato and mozzarella, to the complexities of the "Siciliano," featuring 10 separate ingredients. On the other hand, you may also choose from a host of additional toppings, which is precisely what we did with our "Paradiso," throwing on extra cheese, pepperoni, and sausage. Absolutely benchmark!

In additional to the ever-popular pizzas, there is an irresistible variety of panini (sandwiches) built on homemade focaccia. The roasted lamb sandwich is exceedingly popular... ditto the version featuring buffalo mozzarella & Prosciutto di Parma, as well as the crunchy bruschetta. Salads are also a good choice, especially the tuna & white bean, baby arugula, and antipasto.

Desserts - biscotti, gelato, etc. - are quite good; and the espresso and cappuccino are dynamite. And don't forget, although the smaller location near the Dupont Circle does not have a full bar like its larger sibling, it still serves wine and beer.

No trip to Washington, DC, would be complete without a visit to Pizzeria Paradiso.

The Artful Diner
May 2010

The Artful Diner is an independent, freelance food writer.  His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.

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