Pizza pizza pizza! I couldn’t go to Rome and not eat proper Roman style pizza! A huge thank you to Shayma at The Spice Spoon for recommending La Montecarlo to me – there are so many pizzerias to choose from in Rome that my mind was boggling. This would be our first time having a proper Roman style pizza – they’re thin and crisp in comparison to the puffier, chewier Neapolitan style. You’ll definitely want to get there early as it gets packed very quickly. As is usual with most Roman restaurants, you’ll be sitting elbow to elbow with your neighbours, the place is loud and jolly, and the waiters fast and efficient.
Something I noticed in pizzerias is that on the fried section of the menu, items cooked from frozen are usually clearly marked. We avoided those and went for a couple of crocchette (potato) and suppli (like arancine, those fried balls of risotto). The crocchette were fine – tasty, crunchy, potato mash – but I prefered the suppli with their centres of tomato sauce and melting mozzarella.
I wanted the most classic of pizze, the Margherita. Oh boy, this was magnificent. The crust is indeed extremely thin and very crisp towards the edges, and I loved it. Though thin, it was still sturdy enough to hold its cargo of cheese and tomato sauce. The mozzarella does look different to the fresh kind used on Neapolitan pizzas but it was no less delicious for it. I hoovered this up, yum yum yum.
Blai went deluxe and ordered a capricciosa, topped with ham, mushrooms, artichokes and an egg. Though it was tasty, it was less successful than my margherita due to the number of toppings. This made the pizza heavier and more watery and led to a less crispy crust. Blai was also a bit disappointed that the artichokes on top were preserved (canned, we think). Do any places in Italy use fresh artichokes on top of pizzas? Still, the flavour was still good – I quite liked it despite its sogginess.
There was just enough space in our tummies for a spot of dessert. We ordered a torta di ricotta to split and it came looking comically like a helicopter. It was gorgeous – the filling was of creamy, fresh cheese studded through with chocolate bits.
We loved it here so much that we came back for a last lunch on the day we flew back to London. Looking for a relatively early meal, we were the first in the restaurant at noon. We needed another taste of proper Roman pizza! We opted for the pizza al prosciutto, again aiming for one of the simpler pizzas on the menu. This was simply a margherita topped with slices of prosciutto. It was excellent – I was happy to see that there was no reduction in quality even if this was the first pizza out of the oven that day.
We’d wanted to try one of their pasta dishes too as we’d seen others enjoying huge platefuls of the stuff on our last visit. This carbonara (we had to order a Roman pasta for our last meal!) wasn’t as transcendental as the one we ate at La Matriciana and tasted more like our attempts to make carbonara at home (with the whole egg), except for that wonderful guanciale they use everywhere. Still, if it’s pasta you desire, you can’t go wrong with one off their menu and you certainly won’t leave hungry! Look at the size of that pile! But you really should try their pizza at least once!
We paid about €20-25 total on each of our visits, making this an excellent budget spot. Oh, I miss La Montecarlo. London, you need a Roman style pizzeria!
Vicolo Savelli, 13
While this meal was good, I want to make note of the ugly as well. We had dinner one night at Da Ricci (Via Genova, 32) and while the fried bits and pieces were excellent, the pizzas were truly awful. They were thick and crunchy and reminiscent of many frozen pizzas available here. And Blai’s was very very charred on the bottom. I don’t think we were served “special” pizzas on account of being tourists as the Italian woman sitting next to me also received a pizza that was overbaked. Avoid.