Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Italian Paradise at Pizzeria Paradiso

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost six and a half years since my mom and sister helped me move into Letts Hall at American University. After hauling all my stuff into the dorm and sizing up my roommate I think we were all more than ready for a great meal. Even though I was new to the city I still had the foresight to do my research and find a great restaurant that would cater to me (the adventurous foodie), my sister (the picky eater) and my mother (who’ll eat anything). I had read great things about Pizzeria Paradiso, so off we went to Georgetown.

Although I don’t remember precisely what I ordered that night, I remember the lemonade that I tried. It was clearly made in-house and it was bubbly and tart and sweet. Yum. But, now that I am legally allowed to drink there are other drinks that draw me back, both to the location on M Street, and the locations in Dupont and Old Town Alexandria. Their beer list at Birreria Paradiso (also known as the bar) is quite impressive. Each location has at least 12 beers on a tap, a beer on cask and over 80 bottles in the large refrigerated cases behind the bar. Although the bar tends to be extremely crowded with people enjoying the suds or waiting for their table, the bartenders are helpful and will happily steer you toward something that will please your palette.

Pizzeria Paradiso the perfect casual restaurant to share a pizza, try a new panini or discover a new antipasti. The offerings range from traditional to the extraordinary, and 9 times out of 10 they nail the flavors and cook everything to perfection.

When you sit down you are greeted with a tiny bowl of various olives. Pizzeria Paradiso immediately wins my heart for ensuring that the olives still have their pits intact and supplying you with another bowl for the discarded insides.

The last time we were at the Dupont Circle location Elliot and I opted to go the traditional route and ordered bruschetta and an old fashioned Margarita pizza. Although the food came out a bit too fast for my liking, it was the perfect way to warm up on a Friday evening after a long cold week. The bruschetta was garlicky and topped with sweet cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella balls and seasoned well with salt and pepper.

I believe the best way to judge a pizzeria is with a traditional cheese pizza. There are not toppings for the sauce and crust to hide behind. Luckily Pizzeria Paradiso does it right. The cheese comes out hot and bubbly and the sauce stays true to the tomato taste that is so ubiquitous in Italian cooking. If you are looking for a bit more variety when it comes to your pizza toppings, you will find everything from basil to pine nuts on the menu.

Just a quick final note – if you can belly up to the bar between 5 and 7pm on Monday and Tuesday you can enjoy ½ price draft beers and discounted pizzas and appetizers.


  1. Hello!
    My name is Ashley, I'm the girl behind the blog A Hasty Life. I just started the well-known 30 for 30 fashion challenge. I chose 30 articles of clothing to wear for 30 days (including shoes!) I would love for you to bop on over to my blog and check it out!

    <3 Ashley

  2. One of my favorite restaurants in the District. Pizza Genovese, I miss you...

  3. that pizza looks awesome!!

  4. Sounds like a great place Elyse. Nice to have a good selection of pizza toppings too. Would you consider sharing your review, or a version of it, with our foodie community at ? It would be great to see you on there :-)