#50 Pizzeria Paradiso

July 23rd, 2016

Washington, D.C.

Last summer we had friends who were living in D.C. who kindly offered to let us stay in their spare room for a weekend so that we could eat pizza. And also, so that we could hang out with them. But, mainly to eat pizza. We drove down to Washington, D.C. on a Saturday morning. As usual, Eric missed our exit getting into town. Let’s just say that we were both very hungry (hangry?) by the time we got to our first pizza stop, Pizzeria Paradiso.

You may not think of D.C. as a pizza town. We didn’t. Neither, apparently, did the owners of Pizzeria Paradiso, who opened this restaurant in 1991 because there was a lack of Neapolitan pizzerias in the city. The restaurant has expanded over the years and now has three locations around the D.C. area. They’ve also added in birrerias (“beer halls” in English) to keep up with the microbrewing scene that is growing around the D.C.area. These beer halls can be found at the Dupont and Georgetown locations. We’d recommend going for happy hour, because they have a lot of great options. And everyone knows that pizza and beer go great together.

 

It was hard to choose pizzas here to share. We ended up ordering one of the Siciliana pizzas, which was just a veggie pie, and then one of the specials which came with heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and thinly sliced red onion. They also had a large selection of salads and paninis here. Pizzas also come in two sizes, so you can pick small or large depending on if you feel like sharing and also how many other pizzas you are going to be trying that day (we obviously went with smalls – this was not our only pizza stop for the day).

The pizzas here are wood-fired. As with many Neapolitan-style pizzas, the crust here is the focus. It was crispy around the edges, but not too well done.This isn’t the place to come if you want a good char on your crust. It was also a little droopy in the center with the weight of the toppings, but that’s just Neapolitan-style for you. We wouldn’t say it was the best Neapolitan in D.C., but it certainly gets props for being the first!

To visit:

Pizzeria Paradiso
2003 P Street NW
Washington DC

 

#58 Matchbox

February 6th, 2016

Washington, D.C.

We drove down to Washington, D.C. for a baby shower one Saturday last year, and figured we’d might as well knock off one of the D.C. pizza places from the list. Washington D.C. isn’t really known for any particular style of pizza, so we were interested to see what kinds of pizzas made the list here.

This first trip to D.C., we decided to go to Matchbox, for the primary reason that it was the closest to the location of the baby shower, and we didn’t have to drive any further around the city. We went to the Chinatown location, but they have two other locations around the city.

The Chinatown location is the original restaurant that was started back in 2002. It looks small from the outside because it is really a narrow brick townhouse (that looks like a tall, skinny matchbox) that has been refashioned into a restaurant. There was plenty of seating inside, though, and we were seated up on the second story balcony.

 

Matchbox may be known for their brick oven pizzas, but their menu is pretty extensive, with good-looking salads and sandwiches, and specialty cocktails. They also serve brunch, which looked like it would be AMAZING.

We ended up splitting a pizza, since they let you pick half-and-half from their menu, and we really wanted to try more than one combination. We ended up going with half of the Fire+Smoke (roasted red peppers, onion, garlic, smoked gouda, and chipotle pepper) and half of the special veggie white pesto pizza.

We both preferred the Fire+Smoke, although they weren’t kidding when they warned us about the spice!

Apparently, Matchbox is trying to break out into the national chain market, so there may be one popping up near you. They currently also have restaurants in Virginia, Texas, and Maryland.

It would certainly be worth going back here for some of that Brunch pizza.

To visit:

Matchbox
713 H St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001