Tender and juicy are not generally the first words that come to mind when discussing pizza. But that’s exactly how Giuseppe “Joe” Farrugio, owner of Il Canale in Georgetown, describes his pies. “We are making tender, juicy pizzas,” he says.

And Farrugio now has the credentials to back it up.

Last week, Farrugio’s restaurant became one of only two pizza places in the District to earn the official certification of the esteemed Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, an organization dedicated to preserving authentic Neapolitan pizza-making traditions. (2 Amys in Cleveland Park is the other.)

Meeting the high standards of Italy’s pizza auditors is no easy task. As the Post reported last week, Il Canale needed to purchase and import a fancy new dough mixer from Italy in order to make the grade. During my visit over the weekend, the newfangled contraption looked about the size of a Smart Car. A manager explains that the mixer, with its slowly rotating bowl and dough fork, is designed to mimic the heat and handiwork of an Italian grandmother making dough a mano.

Yet, even after finally satisfying the most obsessive pizza snobs in the entire world, the pizza at Il Canale still has its critics.

“People call it soggy, but I hate that,” Farrugio says. “These are not soggy.”

Perhaps not, but they are, as Farrugio says, best eaten with fork and knife.

Il Canale, 1063 31st St. NW, (202) 337-4444

Photo by Sam Hiersteiner