Pizza places in Rome: getting it right
Even pizza-lovers may not know that only eight basic ingredients – water, oil, salt, flour, yeast, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil – are needed to make one of the most iconic Italian dishes: the margherita pizza.
Of course, it if really were that easy, anybody could make a good pizza, but real Italian pizzas are so much more than just basic ingredients. Making an Italian pizza means optimum fermentation of the dough, shaping the dough like a real Italian pizza-maker, adding just the right quantity of ingredients and baking it in the traditional way in a proper pizza oven. The pizzas in Rome are known for being some of the best in Italy, second only to the pizzas made in Naples, the home of the pizza since the 18th century. If you’re planning on travelling to Rome, don’t forget to try some of the best pizza places in the city!
The secrets behind the best pizza in Rome
In Italy, the pizza is an institution in itself and each region gives the recipe its own special touch. Sometimes it’s a matter of the mix of ingredients in the pizza base, sometimes it’s all about how long it is cooked and other times it’s a question of local ingredients. But if there’s one pizza that’s a match for the Neapolitan pizza, it’s the pizza that you get in Rome. Find out why.
It’s all about the firm base
When you pick up a traditional Roman-style pizza, the base doesn’t fold in half. It’s crunchy and solid. The secret behind the dough is that it contains less water than others such as the Neapolitan pizza.
Light and thick
Another of the characteristics of Italian pizzas is that the base is light and easy to digest. How do they do it? It’s all down to the pizza makers who get air into the dough by spinning it, flattening it and stretching it out as much as possible. The aim is to get a thin dough that weighs around 160-180 grams. When it’s cooked in a wood burning pizza oven, it turns into a lovely, light base that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated.
The best pizza places in Rome
There is just one simple question that you need to ask yourself if you want to know where to get the best pizza in Rome: Where do Romans go out to eat?. Since they are very fussy about their pizzas, then you should go where they go. If you’re eating pizza surrounded by Romans, then you’re in the right place.
Ai Marmi: a mecca for pizza-lovers in Trastevere.
If you take a walk down the main street in Trastevere, before you enter the narrow labyrinth of streets, you’ll find Ai Marmi at Viale di Trastevere 53. There’s a queue every night at this busy pizza place, but don’t despair because it’s well worth the wait. You’ll be served a real Roman-style pizza made in a wood-burning oven with a thin, crusty base and natural ingredients. Taking into account the excellent quality of the food, it’s not even particularly expensive.
Pizzeria Sforno near Cinecittà.
Chef Stefano Callegari makes the pizzas in this restaurant using fresh ingredients and unique recipes. The pizzas here may not be classic Roman pizzas because they’re thicker and spongier. However, you’ll be surprised by the unique mix of ingredients.
Trattoria Da Francesco, close to Piazza Navona.
Head back to the city centre near to Piazza Navona. In Piazza del Fico you’ll find the perfect place for trying the authentic extra thin, crusty Roman pizza accompanied by a wonderful glass of house wine. Don’t forget to try their traditional pasta dishes, too!
Pizzeria Da Baffetto: perhaps the best pizza place in Rome.
If there’s one truly famous pizza place in Rome, it’s the one in Via del Governo Vecchio, 114. It’s a small, cosy place and typically Roman. You’ll have to wait for a table here, too, but you’ll be served an extremely thin, delicious pizza. Of course, right next to what is known as the best pizza place in Rome, you have the best ice-cream parlour in Rome. Don’t leave the city without experiencing the gelato at Frigidarium or you won’t be able to say that you’ve eaten in the two most famous places in the city.
The Roman pinsa: a 21st century pizza
Rome now boasts a 21st century version of the classic pizza, although, in reality, it’s actually an older recipe. The main difference between the two is that the modern pinsa is made with 100% plant-based ingredients such as soya flour, rice and soya, making it a lighter option.
It has a characteristic oval shape and is light and tasty. If you’d like to try a tasty pinsa, go to the Prati neighbourhood near the Vatican. Try La Pratolina restaurant on Via Degli Scipioni 248. You won’t be disappointed.
Rome’s pizza al taglio
As you walk around any part of Rome, you’ll come across small bars selling a wide range of rectangular pizzas that come with all sorts of toppings. The pizza al taglio (also known as slices of rustic pizza) was invented in Rome as a quick and easy way of getting a bite to eat.
This kind of pizza is thicker and softer than the traditional Roman pizza and its ingredients, the dough-hydration technique and cooking time are the keys to its success. They all make for a crusty, tasty and spongy texture.
When you come across one of these places, let your instinct guide you. Go in and ask for several pieces (they’re sold by weight) and taste all the different flavours such as pizza with broccoli and sausage, courgette, potato, vegetables etc. But if you’re looking for one of the best, head back to the Trastevere. You’ll love Bocaccia pizza place in Via di Santa Dorotea 2. You can’t go wrong with their pizza al taglio. The dough is fermented over 48 hours, making it particularly light and easy to digest.
And if you don’t feel like eating pizza, there are also other typical dishes that you can try like arancini balls that are fried on the outside and filled with tomato, rice and mozzarella cheese. They’re delicious!