Pizzeria Orso, Falls Church, VA – A Review

by artfuldiner on November 6, 2019

in Artful Diner Review, Review, Washington DC, Wining and Dining

Pizzeria Orso

400 South Maple Avenue

Falls Church, Virginia

(703) 226-3460


Orso - InteriorDuring a recent visit with friends, I discovered what suburban Washington, DC, foodies already seem to know: When in search of genuine Neapolitan pizza, Pizzeria Orso is the place to go. And, make no mistake about it, pie-making operations here are serious business. Orso is one of only two pizzerias in the area boasting Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certification. This is a designation granted by the Italian government to pizzerias that meet “the strict requirements that respect the tradition of the art of Neapolitan pizza making.”

Orso - PizzaAnd in keeping with that tradition, Orso uses dough made from Caputo 00 flour. The finest European winter wheat ground to a fine powder, this super-soft flour is easy to work with and produces the ideal balance of tender mouthfeel and pleasant chew… everything you want in a luscious pizza crust. This ultra-fine flour is imported from Italy, as are the San Marzano tomatoes, fresh burrata cheese, and Parma ham.

Pizza is obviously the name of the game here, from the simplicities of Marinara DOC (tomato sauce, fresh oregano, garlic, no cheese) and Margherita DOC (tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, basil), to the excesses of Toscana (tomato sauce, mozzarella ham, salami, sausage, pepperoni) and Capriccioso (tomato sauce, mozzarella, artichokes, crimini mushrooms, ham, olives, basil)…

Orso - Brussels Spouts in Cauliflower PureeBut Orso’s kitchen also serves up several interesting appetizers that you aren’t likely to encounter at your average pizzeria. Like the Brussels Chips, for instance, sprout leaves shocked in an ice bath, flash-fried, and dusted with grana cheese. Then there’s the Oven-Roasted Olives served with homemade sourdough bread and Whole Roasted Cauliflower sided by a zippy salsa verde. My nod, however, and the table favorite among the adults of our party, goes to the outrageously delicious Roasted Brussels Sprouts on Cauliflower Purée (pictured). The spouts themselves are perfectly prepared – firm to the bite – with the purée kicking in some dynamite hits to the taste buds. Worth the price of admission.

Orso - BranzinoAmong the entrées, the Branzino (pictured), a special of the evening, was a positive gem. The moist, flaky filet was served up on a wooden plank simply adorned with lemon & capers and accompanied by a beautiful assortment of roasted fresh vegetables… On the other hand, the Eggplant Parmesan, a menu mainstay, was a generic effort at best.

As a general rule, in my opinion, the appetizers are infinitely more interesting and better executed than the regular entrées. Stick with the starters and the pizza and you can’t go wrong. Orso also boasts an extensive list of domestic brews, a full bar, and serviceable selection of wines by the glass and bottle.

Note: I recently learned that Chef Will Artley has left Pizzeria Orso. According to an issued statement, Executive Chef Bertrand Chemel of sister restaurant 2941, also located in Falls Church, will now oversee both restaurants.

 Bon Appétit!


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