Last summer, in a fit of humidity-induced insanity, my friends and I decided to taste test non-delivery pizzas around town. There were seven pies, and in an attempt to branch out a little, I picked up one from Seventh Hill. I figured this Eastern Market spot (which no one had heard of before) would finish somewhere in the middle of the pack with perennial favorite 2 Amy’s coming out on top. In a Cinderella story that ESPN would surely have composed a specific theme song for, Seventh Hill came out of nowhere and clinched the win.
I don’t live near Eastern Market, but between working near by and friends in the area, I spend a lot of time eating on Capitol Hill. And time after time, I come back to Seventh Hill. It is a perfect little neighborhood joint, with just a few tables and friendly staff, a small menu and a couple daily specials, it’s a restaurant I never get tired of. Owned by the folks behind French bistro and next door neighbor Montmartre, it wouldn’t seem like a French team would know much about pizza, but they surely do. The stones that make up the oven — the architectural center of the restaurant — are imported from France, but the cooking is all Italian. Chef Anthony Pilla (only 24-years old!) makes a spectacle of his pie making, swiftly tossing dough in the air with the greatest of ease.
As I said, the menu is small, but I’ve yet to find anything I haven’t loved. As a girl who normally specifies that her pizza be “anything with meat” it’s pretty amazing that my favorite Seventh Hill pizza is all veggie. The Lincoln Park has zucchini, artichoke, portobello mushrooms, mozzarella and rosemary, a nice woody pizza that won’t leave you feeling like you just slathered baby oil all over your face. And though most of the specialty pizzas are meatless, when I’ve got a craving for something porcine I head for the Seventh Street — a salty prosciutto and roasted red pepper concoction. My final favorite, besides you know, all of them, is the Eastern Market. I’ve never seen a pizza with mushroom and olive tapenade and goat cheese before, but somehow it works.
Besides the small menu of speciality pizzas and the obligatory make-your-own list, there is usually a daily special of a pizza, a panini and a soup. Displayed on a chalkboard inside the restaurant, you can expect rustic soups and delicious, melty sandwiches. Splitting a small pizza and a panini with a friend is a great way to do Seventh Hill, especially since it leaves room in your tummy for the piece de resistance— the nutella calzone. It’s exactly how it sounds — Seventh Hill’s delicious dough wrapped around a healthy (ha!) shmear of nutella and fired in their brick oven. Served simply on a wood board dusted with powdered sugar, it is a gooey, messy, life-changing dessert.
Seventh Hill may be just a tiny neighborhood restaurant, but it passes my time-honored test of “would I drive across town for it?” And I do, often. If you get there and there’s a line, don’t be deterred. Most of the orders seem to be carry out, and the guys behind the counter are quick. Now that the weather is starting to turn for the better, I can’t wait to spend some more time on their patio, munching my nutella calzone in a state of bliss. I don’t do yoga, I’ve never meditated, but I do eat pizza. Namaste.