We have already written extensively about the plans for the new Pizzeria da Marco in Bethesda, and last night we were finally able to try the pizza we had heard so much about. Just a week old, the restaurant is offering a special of half off all their pizzas till the end of May. We made sure to get over there last night to take advantage of the offer while we still could!
Entering the large space, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by how nice it was. It resembled more of a nice restaurant than a casual pizzeria. With white table clothes, friendly waiters, and an extensive wine list, this was drastically different from standing in line to place an order at somewhere like Pete’s. Not that we don’t love Pete’s (because we really, really do), but this was a very nice experience overall.
After being seating as soon as we arrived, our waiter came by and explained the concept since we said it was our first time there. The pizzaiolo came from Naples with more than 20 years of experience, along with their trademark 900 degree oven. All of their ingredients are imported from Italy, and when the menu says tomato sauce, it is actually fresh tomatoes that liquefy on the pizza during the high heat cooking process. Sounds good to me!
We each ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio at an inexpensive price of $6 and quickly made our pizza selections. Even if we didn’t know about the 50% off special, the prices at Pizzeria da Marco were fairly reasonable for individual pizzas. I went the traditional route and got the Margarita P.O.C., which came with tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella, and Parmigiano. The waiter said I couldn’t go wrong with that choice, and he was right.
Now, we have seen some early reviews that lament on the soupy quality of the middle of the pizza. I have to admit, my pizza wasn’t something you could easy pick up by the piece. However, as I cut it with a fork and knife, I couldn’t get over the freshness of the ingredients and how well they went with the doughy crust with a light char on the outside. We discovered another way to eat the pizza is to fold the pieces like you would eat a New York slice, because they are not as crispy as say a slice from Vace.
The Feast posted an enlightening video of Executive chef Dino Santonicola explaining the difference in Neapolitan style pizza, and his explanation of juiciness may be more accurate than soupy. The insides of the cherry tomatoes might have contributed to that texture as well.
Brett ordered the Marco, which was prepared with tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, mushrooms, Parmigiano, and sausage. His pizza appeared to be a little crispier than mine, but he also remarked on the high-quality ingredients and how fresh everything tasted. The bits of sausage scattered atop the pie were rich in flavor, not too dry, and complemented the smoked mozzarella and liquefied tomatoes.
Our waiter even brought out some fresh olive oil that he recommended we dip our crusts into, and doing so brought out more robustness to our pies. I’ve been to Naples and had their pizza, so I feel comfortable in saying that Pizzeria da Marco is the real deal. The best comparison we can make to other pizzerias in the area is 2 Amy’s. Like 2 Amy’s, Pizzeria da Marco also doesn’t slice their pizza, but with the sharp knives they provide, I didn’t feel like I was giving myself a workout trying to saw off a piece compared to the aforementioned Cleveland Park restaurant.
We brought back home some leftovers of my pizza, but alas, it was too tempting sitting in the fridge and the rest was gone by the end of the night. Overall we were very impressed with the food, service, and atmosphere of Pizzeria da Marco, and will definitely be making frequent appearances to this new Bethesda establishment.
Pizzeria da Marco is located on 8008 Woodmont Avenue in downtown Bethesda.