Naples may be the birthplace of pizza, but the Roman version is just as tasty. A thinner crust than the doughier Neapolitan pizza, and the addition of olive oil in the dough – not used by the purist Neapolitans – make for a crunchier finish.
A handful of historic pizzerias are a must on any Roman pizza pilgrimage, but don’t neglect the newcomers, with their emphasis on specially blended flours and outré toppings. If you’re getting hungry, here’s where to find the best pizza in Rome.
1. Da Remo: best Roman experience
For Roman pizza per eccellenza served up in a Roman environment (read: rowdy and chaotic), Da Remo, a Testaccio institution, is your place.
Any pizza meal should start with fritti (“fried things") – you can’t go wrong with supplì (risotto rice balls) and fiori di zucca (courgette flowers) – before moving on to the main event.
Da Remo’s pizza is perfectly thin and crispy with blistered edges. The classic margherita is excellent, or try the broccoli con salsiccia (broccoli with sausage meat).
The service can be surly and slow, and with its packed-together tables and raucous atmosphere Da Remo is not the place for a leisurely dinner, but for pizza this good it’s worth it. They don’t take bookings, so come prepared to queue.
Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice 44. Mon–Sat 7pm–1am.
2. Emma: best for a refined restaurant experience
In Rome, Roscioli is a name synonymous with good food, and the Roscioli tribe’s restaurant, Emma, doesn’t disappoint. Benefitting from the dough know-how of fourth-generation baker Pierluigi Roscioli and with toppings sourced from the centre’s finest deli, Salumeria Roscioli, this is one for pizza aficionados.
And it’s not just the ingredients that are top-notch: the airy, elegant restaurant is about as far as you can get from your typical rowdy neighbourhood pizzeria. The menu faithfully documents the provenance of all ingredients, from the Tuscan olive oil to the buffalo mozzarella from Campania – all from artisanal producers – and there’s a good wine list, chosen to complement the pizzas.
The standout pizza is the all-organic SuperBio – a posh margherita – topped with ultra-fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil and basil. Prices are above average, but for quality this high it’s well worth paying an extra few euros.
Via del Monte della Farina 28. Daily 12.30–3pm & 7–11.30pm.
© Oksana Mizina/Shutterstock
3. La Pratolina: best for ancient Roman-style pizza
Who says pizza has to be round? La Pratolina’s are oval, made with a mix of different flours and given a 48-hour leavening time. The result, a “pinsa” rather than a pizza, has a thicker, focaccia-style base, which is how the ancient Romans liked it, apparently (focaccia was offered up as a gift to the gods in ancient times).
La Pratolina also wins the award for Rome’s friendliest pizzeria: the smiley staff ply you with free Prosecco and diners are never rushed, although the place is packed every night.
Via degli Scipioni 248. Mon–Sat 7.30pm–1am.
4. Ai Marmi: best no-frills pizza
Named Ai Marmi (“marbles”) after its long communal marble tables, this fabulously retro pizzeria is Trastevere’s best. With its fluorescent strip-lighting and elbow-to-elbow seating it’s distinctly no-frills – the only decoration being the time-warp signage advertising old-school treats such as filetti di baccala’ (battered salt cod fillets) and olive ascolane (fried stuffed olives).
The tasty pizza’s the star here, though: cooked in a vast wood-fired oven in the corner, it’s Roman-style thin and crispy. The one to try is the salsiccia e fior di zucca, topped with sausage and courgette blossoms. There are queues out the door from 8pm onwards, so come early.
Viale di Trastevere 53. Daily except Wed 7pm–2am.
5. Pizzarium: best for gourmet pizza on the run
Pizzarium sells hands-down the best pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) in Rome – and at only a ten-minute walk from the Vatican museums, it’s perfectly placed for a bite post-sightseeing. It’s owned by celebrated pizzaiolo Gabriele Bonci, who has patented a special spelt-rich flour, which makes a light but crunchy base.
But despite the high-quality dough, it’s the gourmet toppings that steal the show. They change daily but unusual flavour combinations are always on the menu: anything from broccoli and anchovy with mascarpone to steak and blue cheese. A must-try is the potato pizza, a surprisingly light choice that’s always on offer.
Via della Meloria 43. Mon–Sat 11am–10pm, Sun 1–10pm.
6. Trapizzino: best pizza innovation
Roman pizza maestro Stefano Callegari learned his dough skills by working as a delivery boy for a bakery, later opening two hip pizzerias, Sforno and Tonda, both on the outskirts of the city. But it’s his invention of the Trapizzino, a hybrid of pizza and Roman-style main course, that really made his name.
Crispy, triangular pockets of sourdough pizza bianca (the name trapizzino combines tramezzino – the Italian word for a triangular sandwich – with pizza) are liberally stuffed with the classics of cucina romana.
The choice might include coda alla vaccinara (a lip-smackingly good oxtail stew), polpette al sugo (meatballs in tomato sauce), or, for the adventurous, trippa alla romana (tripe). This new breed of Roman street food is sold at Trapizzino, a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria in foodies’ favourite Testaccio.
Via Giovanni Branca 88. Tues–Sun noon–1am.
Coda alla vaccinara © Fanfo/Shutterstock
Top image © William Perugini