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Pizza in Rome

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2011_11_19 Pizzarium 1.jpg

There - do I have your attention? Pizza always gets everyone’s attention. I mean, New Yorkers will argue over who has the best pizza as if it had some sort of greater meaning in the universe, as if it was as important as something along the lines of who was the greatest Knick of all time. Seriously.

I wonder if Romans do the same thing…argue about pizza, that is. Because on our recent trip to Rome, we got to try some of the highly-touted pizza being served up by one Gabriele Bonci, as well as the pizza at a place we first tried maybe more than a dozen years ago – and which I’ve been recommending ever since. In between, there was a sandwich or two at Roscioli, another old fave dishing up classic Roman pizza bianca by the meter, sometimes sliced in half and stuffed with delicious mortadella, as a matter of fact…

2011_11_21 Roscioli .jpg

Bonci, if you haven’t heard, might be Rome’s answer to Dom DeMarco, and at his emporium Pizzarium, you may wait close to an hour to sample the wares, just like you do at Di Fara’s. Only in this case, the wait is worth it, because at Pizzarium, once you’re lucky enough to get up to the counter, you’ll want to taste everything. Look at how beautiful it all looks…

2011_11_19 Pizzarium 2.jpg

Significant Eater and I were trying to be reasonable (and leave ourselves room for a big dinner), so we only tried 3 of the perhaps dozen or more varieties of pizza al taglio offered on this particular day. It’s fun, because you tell ‘em (or point to) how big of of a slice you want, and it’s priced by weight. We spent around €20, could’ve eaten more, but walked away feeling good.

Just like at home, I prefer my pizza with less on top; that way I get a better idea about the crust, which is basically my favorite part. Here’s the assortment we inhaled…

2011_11_19 Pizzarium 3.jpg

And we both decided that this slice of zucchini, fresh ricotta and orange zest was our favorite…

2011_11_19 Pizzarium 4.jpg

Signore Bonci is a star. I mean, once Bourdain has been to your joint, you’ve been anointed, haven’t you? Well, maybe, but more important to me are the opinions of Katie Parla, Gina Tringali and Elizabeth Minchilli, all of whom have written extensively about the man. And they say go, so do I and so do they...

2011_11_19 Pizza kids.jpg

Our final night in Rome was melancholy, as it often is when a vacation ends. We took a long walk, past the Pantheon…

2011_11_23 Pantheon.jpg

Through Piazza Navona…

2011_11_23 Piazza Navona.jpg

And past Chiesa di Santa Maria Della Pace…

2011_11_23 Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pace.jpg

To our final destination…

2011_11_23 Da Francesco_2.jpg

Da Francesco is a ristorante/pizzeria that Significant Eater and I “discovered” on our first trip to Rome a dozen years ago. Back then, for around $10, you could load up your plate with a selection of antipasti from a serve yourself antipasto bar. We often laughed watching guys the size of American football players go back to their tables with plates piled high with so much food that it was a wonder it didn’t spill all over the floor. That’s no longer an option, as they were probably losing money on every plate, but the pizza, as it was back then, is still very good. I went with the porcini mushroom pie…

2011_11_23 Da Francesco porcini pie_2.jpg

This is real Roman pizza, thin-crusted and crisp, and you can nearly see through it...

2011_11_23 Da Francesco upskirt_2.jpg

Sig Eater had sausage on her pizza…

2011_11_23 Da Francesco sausage_2.jpg

And after a nice, satisfying meal, we wandered on back to our apartment, passing this poor bastard along the way…

2011_11_23 Bruno.jpg

As well as the French Embassy, better known as Palazzo Farnese…

2011_11_23 Palazza Farnese.jpg

Rome's pizza offerings are certainly more extensive now than they were back during our first visit. So I suppose, just like here in NYC, there will be arguments all around as to whose pizza is the best. While I don't think you can go wrong at either of these two places, please leave me out of the discussion as to who was the greatest Roman soccer star - I've got no idea.

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For whatever reason, I'm especially craving that sandwich. Looks completely ridiculous. And now that I think of it, I don't know anyone who makes a sort of mortadella pizza sandwich here in NYC...

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