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Valentino’s Pizza: NoVa’s Best Kept Secret.

Valentino's storefront. Photo courtesy of Valentino's.com

I took my 6-year-old son, Alex today to Valentino’s Pizza (4813 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA) for lunch. It’s my duty, as a parent, to pass down my my coveted secrets, right? Well, this is one of them. In my opinion, Valentino’s pizzeria is the best pizza in Northern Virginia and possibly DC, although I don’t get to DC pizza joints that often. Ever since I was blind folded for a test taste for the Travel Channel’s Food Wars: Jumbo Slice, I’ve learned that people really do have strong preferences for pizza, just like everything else. I also learned mine: thin crust and tangy sauce. I’ve been going to Valentino’s for more than five years and although I considered keeping this best kept secret to myself, I just had to share. I’ve taken a dozen people to Valentino’s pizza, all who have never been before and now they rave about it.

Valentino’s is a family-owned and runned business. Co-owner and New York native Armando Afzali brings years of experience to the table — literally. He’s been making the dough and sauce at his family restaurants in NY for years but is now baking pies for hungry Virginians.

Valentino’s menu also offers a variety of specialty pizzas, both thin NY-style pizza and the thicker Sicilian crust. In addition, they offer many traditional Italian-American favorites such as lasagna, pasta e fagiole (pasta and bean soup), calzones, a littany of subs, baked ziti, lasagna, ravioli and manicotti. Veal and chicken Parmesan as well as veal pizziola. There are a variety of salads, including their signature “Italian Antipasto salad” — a garden salad topped with ham. salami, mozzarella & roasted peppers (I usually take off the peppers. I’m allergic). Also, the garlic knots are to die for! They’re small round dough balls baked to perfection and seasoned with garlic, herbs, spices & olive oil. Don’t even think about ordering them and not dipping them in the marinara sauce —Fagettaboutit!

I honestly haven’t tried anything else on their menu but their pizza. I admit it– but I keep coming back! Their no frills cheese pizza is definitely my favorite — with just thin layer of tangy sweet red sauce and gooey melted mozzarella. The slices are enormous. Each slice is about 12 inches and a slice of cheese is just $2.35. It’s a bargain! I’ve also tried a variety of their specialty pizzas. My favorite is the Papa Joe. It’s made with lots and lots of fresh plum tomatoes, red onions, and parsley marinated with special herbs & spices. It’s delish! I also like the chicken alla vodka and the Marguerita Pizza — so simple with fresh basil, plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese.

When you order, your slice from the counter is taken and re-heated in the large pizza oven for about 5 minutes. Each table is stocked with grated Parmesan, garlic powder, and oregano. I always sprinkle oregano on my cheese slice. You can sit at a table with your pizza or a server will come to your table if you order from the menu. It’s not fine dining.

Most of the time I order at the counter where there is a large spread of pizza pans showcasing their pizzas of the day — all made fresh with sauces made in-house using all natural spring water that they say makes the pizza dough smoother than true NY style pizza. There are always at least a dozen pies ranging from classic NY style cheese to buffalo chicken.

Valentino’s has dine in, carry out and delivery available. I only wish it were closer to home

For more info: See Valentino’s website. Address: 4813 Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA; Tel: 703.354.8383; Fax: 703.354.8384

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