Sometimes date night means dressing up, going out for a steak dinner, refraining from talking about sports at dinner — the works. Other times it means not putting on pants and ordering a pizza.
Consider this listen, then, the perfect middle ground betwen the two: the best pizza spots around DC that double as great date spots. They have just the right amount of ambience to keep a romantic vibe without overdoing it, and regardless of how well the date goes, you’ll still end up with pizza.
Our inspiration for this list? The recent opening of NYC cult favorite Emmy Squared in the former space of Kyirisan in Shaw. It’s a spot our editors have previously praised as low-key having the best burger in New York as well as a bangin’ chicken sandwich.
“I love the museums and cultural institutions that make up so much of the fabric of the city,” Emmy Squared co-owner Emily Hyland tells InsideHook. “We’re really looking to be a part of the DC community and already have our feelers out there to grow our brand within the city.”
In brief: Detroit-style pizza means thick, square-shaped slices that don’t disappoint at this recent NYC transplant. Those who have visited one of the New York locations before will be excited to see a DC-exclusive late-night menu with half-pizzas, wings, chopped cheese waffle fries and burgers until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Emily’s order suggestion: “Share everything: get the sprout salad or hot chicken wedge, the Colony pizza, and the burger. But on your next visit, don’t overlook the margarita pizza and the spicy chicken sandwich! Or the wings! Also the EC Shaw pizza and wings are exclusive just for the DC location.”
Come here if: You’ve heard the hype and are ready to test it out yourself.
In brief: Timber has a casual atmosphere complete with communal tables and growlers of local beer — the perfect spot for a mid-week pizza pick me up. Come here for unique toppings that might actually make you feel healthy while eating pizza.
Order this: At Timber you can order your pizza “half-and-half,” so you and your date should take advantage. Try one of their green pizzas, like the Green Monster with pesto, fresh mozzarella, feta cheese, zucchini and kale.
Come here if: Your date usually requests salads and you usually request pizza.
In brief: This Italian-American eatery specializes in pizzas inspired by both Rome and New Jersey, where chef Mike Friedman’s spent his childhood. Expect heavy-duty, doughy crusts and delicious garlic knots, as well as ingredients spanning from chili honey to ‘nduja sausage and pickled jalapenos. Check out their original location in Shaw or the newer digs in Navy Yard.
Order this: Start with garlic knots and the baked eggplant parm. Save half of your pizza for later.
Come here if: You’re really hungry and you want ample options.
In brief: Like the name suggests you can in fact play ping pong here. You can also get some really delicious pizza. Oh, and you can also see a show. It’s the perfectly quirky date-night spot that also happens to have been involved in one of DC’s weirdest conspiracy theory scandals, and really that’s saying something.
Order this: The pizzas at Comet are single-serve, so you and your date can each order one of your own. Start out with some Comet hot wings or wood-roasted spaghetti squash.
Come here if: Your date is a bit of a hipster.
In brief: Another newcomer, Stellina was founded by longtime friends Antonio Matarazzo and chef Matteo Venini. Their bright, counter service pizza joint boasts neo-Neapolitan pies, boosted by high-hydration dough and a 48-hour fermentation. Their menu also includes nods to the street food of the southern Italian coast with a selection of fried seafood and veggies served in paper cones called cuoppo.
Order this: A cuoppo or two to share, followed by their unique Cacio & Pepe pizza.
Come here if: You want to try something a little different.
In brief: Pizzeria Paradiso is what you could call something of a DC institution. Headed up by pizza-making legend Ruth Gresser, the original Dupont Circle location has been joined by a number of sister spots around the DMV area. Our favorite though has to be Georgetown — primarily because of its neighboring Game Room, which features classic arcade games as well as shuffleboard, not to mention 60 cans and eight rotating taps of exceptional craft beer.
Order this: You can’t go wrong with a classic Quattro Formaggi, or go for something more outside of the box like the Bottarga with minced garlic, parsley, Grana Padano, an egg and Bottarga (salted, cured fish roe).
Come here if: You want the date to go past dinner.
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