Put down that sorry excuse for a pizza that arrived at your doorstep in a cardboard box, already cold and dripping in grease, and head over to Pizzeria Paradiso for authentic Neapolitan-style pies, sure to satisfy even the toughest pizza critic.20:58:09
Located in Georgetown, next door to Dean & Deluca, this pizza gurus' heaven cooks their pies in a wood-burning stove at 650 degrees, just the way the Italian founders in Naples intended pizza to be prepared. Pies even hang from the walls — well, miniature painted renditions of pizzas — all the way from the traditional Margherita to their veggie-loaded Siciliana.
Even with a packed house on a bustling Saturday evening, my guests and I were seated within 10 minutes of our arrival. The bar in the basement offers an inviting atmosphere for your wait with 16 brews on tap, 80 bottled selections and an extensive wine list. Upstairs, we were sat near a large window looking out at M Streets's strip of pubs and boutiques.
Welcomed with a bowl of oil-soaked olives, the waitress took our drink orders, from London Pride to fizzy lemonade, and returned shortly for our final entrée decisions. Agreeing on an appetizer and a couple of 18-inch pies to share, we started with the day’s altre cose special, Bruschetta con Mozzarella ($6.95). Two fairly thick slices of lightly toasted, oven-baked bread, drizzled in olive oil, were topped with sliced cherry tomatoes, chunks of mozzarella di bufala campana and basil. This was probably hands down the best fresh mozzarella I’ve ever had dining out.
Despite the superlative starter, the pizza remained the star of the show. Shortly after the appetizer, the Margherita ($9.95) and the Quattro Formaggi ($10.95) arrived. One of the three most traditional versions of Neapolitan pizza, the Margherita was topped with tomato, basil, sliced mozzarella and light sauce. Simple, yet perfect in its “Plain Jane” right, it was baked to perfection with just the right amount of crispness, remaining soft where it mattered most.
The Quattro Formaggi, baked just as perfectly as the former, included four cheeses — pecorino, fontina, gorgonzola and mozzarella. The sauce on this was even lighter than the Margherita, allowing the seasoned hints of parsley and garlic to really pop. Prompted by the option of dessert, my guests and I decided it was no-brainer to continue, as the pies weren’t the only menu items we had heard good things about.
Pizzeria Paradiso is also rumored to have some of the most tempting desserts and I am here to vouch for that, just by the one I tried, the rumors are on the mark. The Pere Marsala ($4.75) came in its own dessert mug and saucer with spoons for sharing. After taking my first bite of baked pears drenched in Marsala wine and topped with cream, my first reaction was to hide the sharing spoons immediately from my guests to stake my claim on this gluttony-provoking dolci. Unfortunately, they found the spoons.
For someone who walked into Pizzeria Paradiso finding it hard to believe that pizza could be so buzzworthy, I advise you to be converted as well. From great menu options ranging from the pizza to homemade gelato, stop at Pizzeria Paradiso next time you’re in Georgetown and prepare to be impressed by a pie that tops any delivery deal.
3282 M St. NW
Monday – Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – midnight
Sunday: noon – 10 p.m.