We’ve been spending more and more time in Bethesda these days. One of the many benefits of living in Petworth is easy access to some of Maryland’s great foodie enclaves. Our latest trip was to Stella Barra Pizzeria at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda.
We had something to celebrate as well – six years of dating! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a special occasion than with pizza and wine. Stella Barra has a lively bar offering local beers and handcrafted cocktails, but we homed in on the selection of Italian wines by the glass. We both enjoyed the Barbera d’ Asti, one of our favorite varietals.
We couldn’t resist one of the day’s specials, black mission figs and fresh burrata topped with walnuts, fennel pollen and basil.
This was executed perfectly, served with warm, crusty bread – so fresh and texturally satisfying. Up next, the organic pork meatballs with tomato, oregano and basil. I’ve had a lot of disappointing meatballs over the years. So many places try to mess with a good thing, but Stella Barra sticks to the basics in the best possible way.
They were served piping hot, which is a must. The organic pork had a great, rich flavor and they were incredibly moist. The tomato sauce was impeccably seasoned and had a nice sweetness to it.
Because I can never get enough summer produce, we had to order the summer tomato salad with heirloom cherry tomatoes, local feta, avocado, bell pepper, endive, red onion and cucumber.
Again, nothing overly creative, just classic flavors presented simply. The vibrant, colorful salad really showcased the local ingredients in a beautiful way.
Then it was on to the main event. Typically, we’d order way too much pizza so we’d have lots to take home for leftovers. Unfortunately, we were traveling on the weekend so we scaled it back a bit. We opted to do a half and half pizza – one half classic Margherita and the other half Mediterranean.
This ended up turning into a his and hers pie. I loved the Mediterranean half with Parmesan cream sauce, local feta, olives, garlic confit and lemon zest. Tom, who hates olives, favored the Margherita with a spicy tomato sauce and lots of fresh basil.
It was a treat watching the pizza making in action at the pizza bar to the back of the restaurant. Stella Barra handcrafts their dough using locally milled flour, filtered water, sea salt and fresh yeast. The dough ferments for 18 hours to ensure a crisp golden crust, chewy center and unique flavor. As we all know, dough really makes or breaks a good pizza and you could definitely taste the quality.
Stella Barra connects to its sister restaurant Summer House, which boasts a very enticing array of fresh-baked cookies. A warm chocolate chip cookie topped with rice crispy treats and vanilla ice cream made for an epic conclusion to a delicious meal.
Stella Barra is a great place for a casual date night or a meal with the family. Make a night of it by heading to the newly opened Pinstripes after your meal for some bocce and bowling.
We received a complimentary dinner at Stella Barra. As always, all opinions are 100% genuine.