Whoever said the best pizza can only be found in Naples, was certainly mistaken. Contrary to common belief, some of Italy's most delicious pizza can be found in Rome. Roman pizza is the paper thin and crispy crust variety and while it is the norm here, you can also find the classic Neapolitan style if that's what you like. You're really in for a treat with many of Rome's pizzaioli (pizza-makers) consistently striving for excellence and innovation.
If it's a sit down pizzeria meal you're having, do as the Romans and start off by ordering fritti. These are fried treats and generally include suppli (rice ball), potato croquettes, stuffed zucchini flowers and salt cod fish (baccala). In Rome you accompany your pizza with beer.
For a truly authentic Roman pizza experience head to Ai Marmi (Pannatoni) in Trastevere. You will most likely have to wait for a table and then sit elbow to elbow with other diners, but it's worth it. For the best pizza margherita in town go to Da Remo in Testaccio and for a little different lunchtime snack, try Il Pinsere.
Rome's favourite street food pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) is found across the city. Bonci's Pizzarium and 00100 (Testaccio) serve up some of the best and their menu is ever-changing to showcase what is seasonal. Stefano Calegari of 00100 invented the delicious trapizzino - cross between a sandwich and a pizza slice. A pizza pocket if you like.
Whatever you're after, Rome has got all you pizza lovers covered.
This hole-in-the-wall take-out joint is a Trastevere institution. Suppl? were the poor man's dish created to recycle old risotto rice, and happily delicious too. While many other places sell bland fried balls in the name of suppli, these are the real thing. Join the queue and don't expect to linger long in indecision. Their pizza al taglio is cooked the old way, is delicious and crispy thin. The mushroom is great but the pizza marinara (fresh tomato and garlic) is the real stand out. They also serve up different pasta dishes each day including the traditional gnocchi with tomato sauce on a Thursday. (06 5897110)
For many of the guidebooks, da Baffetto pizzeria is one of the best in Rome. Though, the long lines forming outside as early as 5pm can be off-putting for some. Which is why La Montecarlo pizzeria located just around the corner from da Baffetto and Piazza Navona is a pleasant alternative. Montecarlo is run by the daughter of Baffetto and quite frankly, the pizza is just as good, if not better than Baffetto's. Though, it still popular, you won't find any grueling lines forming here. However, you will still find great pizza, generous portions of pasta, home-made Roman desserts and a fun, noisy atmosphere. BUS: 40, 46, 62. (06-6861877)
Open only at night, La Pratolina, located in Prati and not far from the Vatican this place is great for a little different take on classic Roman pizza. Pizza here is called a pinsa - a rectangular shaped slab served on a plate. It's still the thin variety but has a raised crust and is delicious. You'll find all the classics here but the prosciutto is one of their specialties. The fritti are also worth the trip with croquettes, stuffed olives and zucchini flowers and suppli all fried to perfection. Closed Sundays. METRO: Lepanto (06 3600 4409)
La Gatta Mangiona
La Gatta Mangiona is located in the Monteverde neighbourhood, completely away from the historical center and tourist area but close enough and easy to reach. Most of the clientele are locals here and you will truly feel you've ticked 'authentic local experience' off your Rome to-do list. The fritti including the fried zucchini flowers and potato croquettes are delicious and the daily specials for pizza change daily with inventive and seasonal combinations. Desserts are all home made and the pannacotta with fresh strawberries is divine. TRAM: 8 (06 5346702)
Il Cuore di Napoli
Located a stone's throw from Termini Station and Piazza della Repubblica is this family run cosy treasure. The pizza will make you think you're in Napoli with it's fluffy crust, thin center and freshest of ingredients. The classic margherita is the special but the pork sausage and mushroom is also great. Great for lovers of Neapolitan cuisine, at Il Cuore di Napoli it's not just pizza, but seafood - especially the pastas - is just delicious. If you start with the classic antipasto you'll get to try the fried pasta cresciuta, literally balls of dough which are amazing. Classic Neapolitan home-made desserts are also stand out. BUS: 6, 16. METRO: Repubblica, Castro Pretorio. (06 44340252)
Pizzeria "Il Pinsere"
Il Pinsere is a whole-in-the-wall pizza shop located a short distance from Termini station and Piazza della Repubblica. Frequented by locals and people who work in the area, the lunchtime rush is madness but a lot of fun. Unlike most pizza al taglio places in Rome, here you order by the pizza but they round and smaller than your regular pizza. Featuring toppings like zucchini flowers, sundried tomatoes, roasted vegetables, buffalo mozzarella, pork sausage and pancetta, you won't be at all disappointed or hungry afterwards. There is a small bench area outside but it's really made for stand up eating or take away. BUS: 16, 6. METRO: Repubblica. (06 42020924)
Located in the heart of the working class district of Testaccio, Remo's pizza is pretty hard to top. This pizza place is most famous for its paper thin(literally) pizza. Menus don't exactly exist here, so be prepared to have in mind what kind of toppings you'll pick out for your pizza. A waiter will come around with a scorecard of sorts where you will check off the ingredients for pizza pie and other items to go along with your dinner order. Outdoor tables available, but expect to wait in line for a little if you arrive late. BUS: 170, 30. METRO: Piramide (06-5746270)
Gabrielle Bonci has been dubbed the 'Michelangelo of pizza making' and he deserves every accolade. Baker turned pizza magician, he's famed for his experimental toppings (he is said to use 1,500 ingredients per year ranging from melon to licorice) and championing slow-rise dough. This tiny spot features his daily changing pizza by-the-slice creations with their subversively fluffy dough and seasonal toppings. Bonci's bread is made with the same flour and yeast as his pizza and this is available for purchase too. There's a fridge of craft beer in the corner to provide you with the perfect pairing to the most perfect pizza slice. METRO: Cipro. (+ 39 06 3974 5416)
People travel from across town for Stefano Calegari's pizza creations like the Greenwich (stilton, mozzarella and port reduction) or other seasonal toppings like zucchini flowers and chicory or even the pancetta and potato. The suppli - the quintessential fried roman rice snack made here with far from classic fillings like amatriciana and the Genovese with a braised meat filling are also the stars of the menu. But mainly they're after one thing: trapizzini. Invented here, this is the genius combination of a tramezzino (sandwich) and pizza. In essence, it's a triangular pizza pocket of light fluffy dough stuffed with everything from tripe to chicken cacciatore. BUS: 3, 23, 75. METRO: Piramide. (+39 06 434 196 24)
This popular pizzeria located in the cuore of Trastevere is one of the best when it comes to serving up that perfect Roman pizza: light, thin and crispy crust. It's extremely sought after not only by tourists but by locals themselves. For years, Romans have been calling this pizza joint "l'obitorio" (the morgue) and "ai marmi" because of its characteristic long marble table tops. Aside from the pizza being so good, locals also come here to devour their famous supplì and fritti as appetizers. Their pizza is certainly not the cheapest by any means, but is absolutely reliable and consistent. Rest assured, you will always eat good here every single time. TRAM: 8. BUS: H. (06-5800919)
About Maria Pasquale
Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne.
She has a formal background in political science and policy and now runs her own event management & PR company, through which she manages marketing & social media for Eating Italy Food Tours in Rome.
An unabashed romantic (Rome being her one true love!) she is the creator of popular food, travel and lifestyle blog HeartRome (www.heartrome.com).
In Rome you'll find her walking the streets of Trastevere, checking out the latest bar for an aperitivo or dining with friends.
Read more about Maria Pasquale here.
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