where to eat rome

The Best Pizza in Rome by Marco Secchi


From pizza al taglio (by the slice) to the classic roman style to the latest installments of the gourmet type, Rome certainly isn’t short of options if you’re looking to feast on pizza.


peter-bravo-de-los-rios-1229088-unsplash.jpg

What you should also know is that there are a few ‘rules’ you should stick to when seated at a pizzeria in the eternal city. If you’re more of a ‘do as the Romans do‘ follow these tips:

1) Romans have dinner (not lunch) at a pizzeria. There are a few (authentic) places that serve pizza during the day, but for the most part and culturally, sit-down pizza is an evening affair.

2) Beer is the preferred beverage accompaniment.

3) Start the meal off with fritti. Fried snacks are the way to kick of a pizza dinner.

4) Don’t ask for your pizza to be cut. At some of the gourmet joints it’s common for a pizza to land at the table cut but otherwise, pizza in Italy is a cut-it-yourself kind of affair.

Our favourite places for the best slice about town:

Giulietta (Testaccio)

The best thing about Giulietta is that you can take your pick from the paper-thin roman style to the thicker lip classic Neapolitan. Prized ingredients come from Cristina Bowerman’s kitchen and the combinations delight with things like mortadella and pistacchio and even clams and mussels. The fritti are fantastic especially the zeppola (fried donut) with honey and lardo. (Piazza dell’Emporio 28)

Seu Illuminati (Trastevere)

My new favourite in Rome is the young and exciting Seu Illuminati in my very own Trastevere. Pier Daniele is the name on everyone’s lips and has been for at least the last year. Gourmet pizza at its very best with a thick lip and anything from tuna tartare to porchetta to a deconstructed capricciosa. The fried starters also impress with seasonal changes to keep it interesting. (Via Angelo Bargoni 10-18)

Da Remo (Testaccio)

If all the staff weren’t Laziali (fans of Roma’s arch rival team, Lazio!), I would say this is my favourite neighbourhood pizzeria in all of Rome. Many Romans agree! The pizza is perfectly roman: thin, charred and not a perfect round and I come here for the Margherita. Located in the foodie hub of Testaccio, the clientele at Da Remo is mainly local. (Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice 44?)

Emma (Campo de’ Fiori)

The great thing about Emma (aside from the food!) is that you can make a booking. This may sound strange to you, but until recently you couldn’t book at a pizzeria – in fact you still can’t at all the old-school ones. They make it roman style and you can sit indoors or outdoors and they are one of the rare places open for pizza at lunch. Their patanegra topped one is nothing short of amazing. (Via del Monte Della Farina 28)

Ai Marmi (Trastevere)

A Trastevere (and Roman) institution, the real name of this bustling pizzeria is Pannatoni but locals know it a L’Orbitorio (the morgue) or AI Marmi (marble table tops) in reference to the long marble tables. I love the old school lit-up menu sign and while I believe the pizza quality has slightly (just!) gone down, I maintain they make some of the best fritti in town! Especially baccalà. There is always a line (which moves fairly quickly) and be prepared to sit elbow-to-elbow. (Viale di Trastevere 53)

Sbanco (Appio Latino / Zama)

I’m a big fan of Stefano Callegari. There I said it! How can you not admire someone who stuffs burrata into pizza bianca? I’m addicted to his Trapizzino but his Pizzeria in Piazza Zama area is on my very-much-approved list too! And here you can combine your love for pizza and carbonara and try all the other perfectly matched and baked pizzas and fritti. (Via Siria 1)

Da Ivo (Trastevere)

This place often lands on the where not to eat lists of Rome but it’s in my ‘hood and I can assure you that the pizza is good. I didn’t say it’s the best in Rome but the staff are typically pizzeria-boisterous and the fritti and pizza is very good quality. My fave is the Pizza del Vecchio (tomato, eggplant, parmigiano and guanciale). Also, they take bookings – like I said earlier, a plus! (Via di San Francesco a Ripa 158?)

I Supplì (Trastevere)

My local hole-in-the-wall takeaway joint makes the best marinara pizza by the slice in Rome. Big call. I challenge you to find a better one and let me know! Here at any time to day you’re bound to find anywhere between 3-6 different types of pizza that you can buy by weight. Another favourite of mine is the zucchini one with chilli and smoked mozzarella. As their name suggests, they’re also famous for supplì! (Via di San Francesco a Ripa 137)

Pizzarium (Cipro)

A list of Rome’s best pizza wouldn’t be complete without Bonci. The man behind Pizzarium, a number of bakeries around town and a stand at Mercato Centrale was hailed as the Michelangelo of Pizza years ago by the New York Times. His pizza by the slice is as famous for being flirtatious with ingredients and the slabs sit pretty on the bench looking like works of art. (Via della Meloria 43)

Where to eat in Rome by Marco Secchi

Eating in the Eternal City needn’t mean tourist menus and pricey pizza. These handy trattorias and wine bars will still leave some change for the Trevi fountain. No matter which restaurants you choose from this list, you’ll be eating some of the city’s finest food in an unpretentious setting. Buon appetito!


photo-1549592406-bf2a4270a071.jpg


Armando al Pantheon

Armando is a no-frills trattoria of the kind that once was common in Rome but now is like gold dust, especially when its location is taken into account—just a few yards from an A-league attraction. A recent renovation has spruced up the interior but all the hallmarks of authenticity remain, including indifferent artworks and wonderfully friendly service from the family that has run it since 1961. The menu sticks with tried-and-tested Roman pasta and meat classics executed with love by smiley chef Claudio Gargioli. Unusually attentive to special dietary requirements, they will gladly substitute in gluten-free pasta.

La Pergola

Heinz Beck is, without a doubt, the most talented chef in Rome, with three—merited—Michelin stars. His technical dexterity and unerring instinct for taste and texture combinations never fail to impress. The setting for La Pergola, on the top floor of the Cavalieri hotel with its panoramic view over the city, is simply breathtaking. But what emerges from Beck’s kitchen (every dish dictated by seasonal availability) is equally so: amberjack tartare with tomato mousse and olives, potato gnocchi with caviar and chives or sea bass with olive oil-marinated vegetables are infinitely more sophisticated than they sound. The remarkable cellars are said to hold 53,000 bottles;

Da Enzo al 29

Don’t expect a long, leisurely experience at this diminutive family-run trattoria. Space is limited, the noise level is high and the service is fast and furious, but for typical cucina romana it is a reliable and atmospheric option. Prices are a little above the average, but the quality of ingredients is assured and there is a nice selection of lesser-known Lazio wines. Bookings are taken, but only for the early evening seating so to catch one of the outside tables get there for an early lunch or be prepared to join a very long queue.

Bonci Pizzarium

Rome’s revolutionary pizza maker Gabriele Bonci started his astronomic rise to stardom at this unassuming pizza shop and it has consistently remained top of the list of Rome’s best pizza al taglio. The focus on the perfect dough and only the best, seasonal ingredients, along with a creative eye for toppings, have deservedly seen the Bonci brand expand across the city. Despite a recent renovation to double the size of the shop, the place is usually heaving, so join the throng and eat on the pavement outside. The location near the entrance to the Vatican Museums is ideal for a post-Sistine Chapel carb fix.

Cul de Sac

Rome’s first ever wine bar, the Cul de Sac was founded in 1977. Looking very traditional nowadays, it’s cramped inside and out, with long pine benches and tables, and is decidedly simple. But the location—just off piazza Navona, with a ringside view of the ‘talking’ statue of Pasquino—coupled with fairly reasonable prices and an encyclopaedic wine list, ensures full occupancy all the time. The food is standard wine-bar fare including a selection of home-made pa^te´s as well as generous sharing plates of cured meats and cheeses.

Antico Arco

The minimalist yet warm interior of Patrizia Mattei’s Gianicolo restaurant provides the perfect backdrop for sampling the carefully creative menu, which changes according to the season. Although prices have risen somewhat in recent years, Antico Arco remains steadfast in its popularity and reputation. The seven-course degustazione menu is good value and the wine list offers up some sensibly priced gems. Until 6pm there is also a fixed finger food menu of miniature versions of the main dishes. Book well in advance.

Fatamorgana

Organic, no additives, gluten-free and superb: the wonderful gelato whipped up by Maria Agnese Spagnuolo for her Fatamorgana mini-chain (and previously only available in the ’burbs) can now be found in several new easily accessible centro storico locations, including this one in the hip Monti district’s pretty piazza degli Zingari. There are all the classic flavours (with twists), plus specialities such as black cherries and beer, pears and gorgonzola, and baklava.

Li Rioni

A hit with locals and tourists alike, Li Rioni churns out wafer-thin pizza romana from its wood-fired oven at an impressive rate, and at more-than-reasonable prices given its location just a short stroll from the Colosseum. The (slightly kitsch) interior is decked out like a Roman street with shuttered windows and terracotta hues, and in summer extra tables are set up outside on the pavement. Expect it to be packed and very noisy; exactly as a Roman pizzeria should be.

Trattoria Monti

This upmarket trattoria is more difficult to get into than many top restaurants—so book well in advance. The reasons for its popularity are simple: friendly service and ambience, excellent food and a huge wine list with reasonable markups. The cuisine, like the family that runs the place, is from the region of Le Marche, so meat, fish and game all feature on the menu. Vegetarians are well served by a range of tortini (pastry-less pies); pasta-hounds can enjoy such treats as tagliolini with anchovies, pine nuts and pecorino cheese.

Pastificio Guerra

This tiny purveyor of fresh pasta has gained fame as a cheap and cheerful lunch destination in one of the priciest parts of the city. There are no frills here, just a choice of two pasta dishes (which change daily) served on plastic plates to eat at the counter or take away. But at €4 a portion, which includes water and a cup of house wine, you would be hard pressed to find a better deal in the area.