Pizza is one of those foods that always gets personal. It’s a simple concept: bread, tomato sauce and cheese. Yet, from Chicago, New York and all the way to Italy, everyone claims to have gotten it right. However, there seems to be no consensus on a favorite. There will always be the preferred go-tos in every region though, and Bacio Pizzeria is dishing up what some might claim to be the best pie in the District.
Bacio Pizzeria is tucked away in Bloomingdale, an up-and-coming D.C. neighborhood, adorned with local cafes and farm-to-table eateries. Complete with an outdoor patio sheltered by a wooden lattice screen and lined with soft lights, this family-run restaurant opened nearly four years ago. Lush shrubs spilling over the sides of suspended ceiling hangers frame the open windows that look out onto the patio, giving off an earthy, homey vibe. Walking into Bacio’s feels remarkably like paying a visit to close family friends who live down the street and savoring a slice in good company, whether you are with a large party or traveling solo. The managers and staff treat customers like guests in their home: with kindness and respect. There is minimal stress, and you quickly feel cared for, as it becomes increasingly obvious that the Bacio “family” is passionate about their food and committed to their customers.
On top of this layout is an upstairs area, which had actually been a pet shop up until a year ago when Bacio’s owner, Suzer, renovated the space. The shop’s signature member had been Miles, Suzer’s very own black Labrador. While the pet store is no more, its remnants adorn the walls of Bacio’s Pizzeria, with posters and signs of Labradors strung up all across the walls. Now, Bacio’s can accommodate even more regulars with this additional seating.
For any pizza, the base is critical, and Bacio’s has this art down to a T. Their hand tossed dough is fluffy on the inside and crispy around the edges. The secret? Cornmeal. Dusting this added ingredient all around the pizza dough before sliding it into the oven gives the crust a little more crunch, along with a few sweeter undertones. Bacio’s all natural tomato sauce is also exceptional, with a slightly sweet yet tangy and robust flavor dynamic that you can only get from fresh tomatoes – not the canned stuff that’s been lying around for a few days. Bacio’s sprinkles their pizzas with just enough of their shredded, whole milk mozzarella, striking a rare balance with its base ingredients, which few other pizza-makers do since they tend to mistakenly mask the crust and sauce.
The Bloomingdale Pizza, topped with fresh shredded basil, slabs of Bacio mozzarella, oven-roasted cherry tomatoes and thin slices of prosciutto is one of the many fan favorites. But between the Margherita and eight other original specialty pizzas, each named after a local D.C neighborhood, you can’t go wrong. Their most popular vegetarian pie, the Common Good, is topped with green pepper, onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, Bacio’s fresh mozzarella and their signature tomato sauce. For all the meat lovers out there, Eckington’s is always a hit: pepperoni, ham, sausage, onion, mozzarella and tomato sauce. And then there are the pesto varieties, like the Shaw and the Seaton, which the store managers and staff swear by with unwavering enthusiasm. Whether you opt for a traditional pie or a hearty calzone, Bacio’s never fails to impress.
Of course, no Italian-inspired dinner is complete without a scoop of gelato to finish. Made locally in Moorenko’s Ice Cream Café, based out of Silver Spring, M.D.., Bacio’s gelato selection may only offer four flavors, but they are clearly carefully chosen. Between good ol’ vanilla, strawberries and cream, salted caramel and praline and honey lavender, each flavor offers a light, refreshing finish. The honey lavender is particularly intriguing, with dried lavender petals mixed into the gelato itself for small fragrant bites of pure lavender. Nothing beats a cone on the stroll back home on a hot summer night in the District. But if gelato isn’t your style, Bacio’s also offers mouthwatering and locally made slices of red velvet and salted caramel cake, along with Uncle Chip’s famous cookies.
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