The Friday Five: Authentic Roman Pizza

9 Nov

I know, I’m asking for it. This will surely open a debate about the pizza places that I’ve left off, or the fact that the ones I’m about to list aren’t the most authentic in the city. So be it. These are five pizzerie that I think serve up a decent and truly authentic Roman (a.k.a. thin-crust as opposed to the thicker-crusted Naples cousin) pizza.

1. Cassa Mortaro, a.k.a. “Ai Marmi,” Viale Trastevere 53
A bustling pizzeria referred to as the mortuary by locals for the marble-topped tables inside. No sign out front, just simply says ‘pizzeria’. Service is pretty hectic and fairly minimalistic, but the food is good and prices are reasonable. Arrive around 8 pm to be sure to get a table without a long wait. During the summer the tables on the sidewalk are very popular but don’t expect a “romantic” experience—this place deals in quantity, you dine elbow to elbow with others, and the table turnover is fast. Still, you’ve got to love it for the old-fashioned “Supplì al Telefono” sign inside, looks like it’s easily circa 1945 or 1950. But you can even make them yourself.

2. Dar Poeta, Vicolo del Bologna 46
Great pizza at a great price, again service isn’t spectacular but it’s definitely a very authentic pizza. If they’re busy you may have to reserve at the door, then there’s usually a short wait. Try the unique calzone con nutella for dessert, and enjoy the Roman dialect poetry printed on the wall and napkins.

3. Pizzeria San Callisto, Piazza S. Callisto 9

I have to admit that this is a relatively new discovery for me, and we’ve been going back there pretty faithfully since we were introduced to it by friends a few months ago. You’re never going to believe how big these pizzas are. They hang off the edge of the plate every time. And they are soooo thin. I recommend the margarita con buffala, a simple cheese pizza with buffalo mozzarella. One time I got the regular margarita and it was so burnt that I had to send it back, and that was the first time in six years I’d ever had to send a pizza back. But we didn’t let that stop us. This is good pizza. There’s sometimes a wait, but they have a big downstairs room as well. One warning: this place can get EXTREMELY loud, especially if they seat you downstairs, so beware.

4. Montecarlo, vicolo Savelli 13
Pretty popular with both tourists and locals, and usually packed. It’s in a very central downtown location. If I remember correctly there are photos on the wall of celebrities who have eaten there… check out Tom Cruise with Penelope Cruz. –!– Not sure if that’s an endorsement or a turn-off. In any case, pretty down-home pizza.

5. Tre Gatti, via delle Sette Chiese 68

This one is off the main tourist track, in the Garbatella neighborhood. I haven’t been there in ages, but when I first moved here we used to go rather often. The fun thing about this place is that they have pizza by the meter, so your entire table can order all the different types of pizza that you want, and a pizza arrives on a long wooden board and everyone digs in. I’m not sure if that necessary qualifies as “authentic,” but it is definitely a fun experience. Don’t forget to save room for the Nutella pizza with coconut on top.

Just five?! I know what you’re thinking. No “Nuovo Mondo”? No “Da Baffetto”? No “Formula 1?” I know, there are lots of others. That’s what the comments section is for… add yours to the list and tell us what makes them great!


14 Responses to “The Friday Five: Authentic Roman Pizza”

  1. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy November 9, 2007 at 12:43 pm #

    I didn’t like Da Baffetto when I went there – the bad service and mediocre pizza wasn’t impressive to me 🙂 I have to admit I only like Roman pizza if it has a crispy bottom and this is hard to achieve. I hate droopy pizza.

  2. kataroma November 9, 2007 at 1:08 pm #

    That’s exactly what I was going to say: “what??? No Formula Uno??!!” To me, Formula 1 pizzeria in San Lorenzo is hands down the best pizza and bruschetta in Rome (although keep far, far away from their olive ascolane). And nary a tourist in sight – that’s what I love about San Lorenzo. Oh, and check out their English language menu – that’s where I got the “hot silly goose” (their translation of salame piccante) on my blog. 🙂

    Also, we’re regulars now so we get the free amaro. 🙂

  3. eva November 9, 2007 at 1:56 pm #

    yeah, there are no tourists in s. lorenzo because they’re too scared of all the punkabbestia in the ‘hood!!! HA! that neighborhood annoys the hell out me! too many students, too many pitbulls, too many punkabbestia.
    But I digress…. I agree with a few of your pizzeria choices, shelley, and I add my own personal favorite:
    Er Panonto
    Via cravero 8 (Garbatella- near Paladium)

  4. kataroma November 9, 2007 at 2:20 pm #

    eva – hmmm…I like San Lorenzo but maybe I’m just a punkabbestia at heart! 🙂 I guess I’m just 36 going on 16 when I used to hang out with my little friends in the graveyard in Newtown, Sydney and pretend to be a goth (difficult as that is to pull off in beachy, sunny Sydney)

    I actually see more pubkabbestia in Trastevere and there are loads of tourists there.

  5. squiggy November 9, 2007 at 3:40 pm #

    My favs:
    “Da Remo” in Testaccio. I’m also a HUGE fan of “Nuovo Mondo” in Testaccio too!

  6. AmericanaRoma November 9, 2007 at 4:20 pm #

    Defintitely a fan of your first 3 choices. As I scrolled down the list, I thought: wow what good taste.. I have to add Pizzeria Pasquino in Piazza Pasquino- I know what you’re thinking: in the heart of tourist central. But I have to say that their wonderful thin-crust pizza is one of the best (and cheapest) and their focaccina al rosmarino is also very good.

  7. AmericanaRoma November 9, 2007 at 4:23 pm #

    Oh, forgot to add: the best suppli`: Franchi on Cola di Rienzo (Vatican area) 😉

  8. Chrissie November 9, 2007 at 4:50 pm #

    Haven’t commented previously, but I love your site. I’m one of those who lived in Rome a long time ago and visit frequently. Since I stay in the “tourist sections,” I know them the best. We love the pizza (and calzones) at Pizzeria Minerva. I think the majority of tourists don’t understand what they’re getting (the service can be a bit surly in the summer), but the flavors are fab. And I’ll agree with the crust at Pizzeria Pasquino, but the service there was appalling (and NOT in high season…we were the only anglos there…hmmmm).

  9. Avril November 9, 2007 at 5:21 pm #

    I have been to Ai Marmi twice, loved it the first time but didn’t enjoy my pizza as much the second. I don’t think it was their fault, just picked the wrong type. However, I absolutely love suppli, I could eat those for every meal! Not something you see to much of, if at all, in the States!

  10. nyc/caribbean ragazza November 9, 2007 at 5:42 pm #

    I loved Montecarlo, very glad I did not see Tom’s photo.

  11. Elizabeth November 9, 2007 at 9:51 pm #

    We lived practically across the street from the Montecarlo for ten years and were regulars. Its got my vote and we still head there when we are in the neighborhood. Now we nip over to Testaccio that has quite a few similar places.

  12. Karen Cole November 10, 2007 at 4:33 am #

    Boy, am I ever going to save this one!!!

  13. Cyn November 10, 2007 at 10:27 am #

    *****Hey Shelley. I wanted to send you an email, but didn’t see yours listed. I have not gotten the email of the person I am sending a city swap box to. Do you have it and if so, could you send it my email at



  14. Shelley, At Home in Rome November 10, 2007 at 12:29 pm #

    Hi Cyn

    I resent the email to you. The first time I sent it, maybe it went in your spam folder, you might want to check there too. Let me know if you still don´t get it.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: