Pizza Perfect | Page 5 of 13

Pizza Perfect

These 10 Bethesda-area pizzerias have captured our attention

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Pizza chef Wilber Melendez makes a Meatball Pie, topped with cooked tomato sauce, mozzarella and halved chicken meatballs. Photo by Deb Lindsey.


Alatri Bros.

The circle of life is achieved through pizza at Alatri Bros. in Bethesda. Restaurateurs and brothers Roberto and Riccardo Pietrobono (proprietors of Olazzo and Gringos & Mariachis) were chef Melissa Ballinger’s landlords. She owned and operated the 55-seat (plus 25 outside) restaurant, which was called Mia’s Pizzas, from 2006 until she retired and passed the business on to the Pietrobonos in 2016. Wilber Melendez, one of the pizzaiolos who helms the oak-burning oven at Alatri Bros., honed his craft under Ballinger’s tutelage, and Ballinger honed hers working with chef Ruth Gresser at Pizzeria Paradiso in Washington, D.C., in the ’90s. Gresser was an early adapter of Neapolitan-style pies in the Washington area.


Photo by Deb Lindsey.


Our go-to pizza at Alatri Bros. is the Meatball Pie, topped with a generous layer of cooked tomato sauce, lots of mozzarella cheese and three large, halved chicken meatballs. The hand-rolled baked orbs—made with ground chicken thighs, onions, garlic, oregano, basil, red chili pepper flakes, milk and Parmesan cheese—are light and toothsome. (Pork meatballs are available, too.) That pizza and a Caesar salad add up to a perfect meal.

Alatri Bros., 4926 Cordell Ave., Bethesda; 301-718-6427;

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