There are certain places…
That are institutions in the restaurant industry. Places like DOC in Melbourne, Da Michele in Naples, Di Fara in New York City, and of course Pizzarium in Rome. Mind the walk (15 mins from Vatican City), mind the heat (August in Rome nudges 40c), mind the neighbourhood (ghetto) and mind the wait in line, because Pizzarium serves up some historic (the starter used is several hundred years old) pies.
Inside, a sort of hole-in-the-wall that sells pizza by the kilo and serves up a variety of pies from classics with barebones pomodorini to exotics such as ricotta and blueberries and everything inbetween. Also on the menu, various suppli and arancini can also be had. During our visit (The month of July), we learned Bonci will only serve vegetarian, a rare move for restaurants in Rome to show their support for local farmers.
Be prepared to wait if arriving on normal meal hours, because confining an armada of clientele into a place so small is never going to be efficient. Nevertheless, what makes Gabriele Bonci’s pizza so decadent is his ancient recipe for dough, which centres around burrato flour from antico mulino, the product of stone-grinding artisan methods.
Pizzas do vary wildly. In our visit, the menu was 100% vegetarian and pies such as this one with fresh ricotta e zucchini with a dash of lemon juice really satiated hungry appetites on such a stifling Rome day.
Others, such as boiled potato and a sharp cheese (Didn’t catch the sort) also impressed. What makes them so special? The dough, crisp on the outside, light and spongey in the centre, is not one you’re likely to find anywhere, let alone Rome which prides itself on its wafer crusts.
The arancini and suppli were a nice treat as well, obviously not their core competency but a fabulous accompaniment to what should be a scheduled visit on any Rome stop. If you want to learn the classic from the master, you can purchase his book, or check this out.
Via della Meloria, 43 Roma