Pizza in Rome

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Conor Duffy

Conor is a neuroimmunology Ph.D student based in Dublin. He's particularly interested in science and health policy, liberalism, and how the two interact. You can find him tweeting @conorduffy_7.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali
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    Our honeymoon was mostly in Rome with a day trip to florence one day and a another trip to Pisa. I won’t deny that Pizza in Rome was good, but Pizza in florence was better. More base, more sauce, more cheese. (quite a bit closer to new york pizza or pan pizza)

    So, my ranking for pizzas goes like this

    1. Chicago Deep Dish
    2. New York Pizza (because an 18 inch pizza is an 18 inch pizza
    3. Pan Pizza (e.g. from Dominos, Sarpino’s or Pizza Hut)
    3. Roman PizzaReport

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Murali
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      Yeah. I went to Italy when I was 12 or 13 and, being 12 or 13, I was more excited about the movies they might be showing on the plane than what’d happen when I got there. Sigh.

      Anyway, I remember being very disappointed by the pizza in Rome. “They don’t know how to make it”, I remember thinking. Florence, however, had recognizable pizza. It achieved “pretty good pizza”.

      Not as good as Little Caesar’s, of course. But still pretty good.Report

  2. Avatar CJColucci
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    says:

    My wife and I honeymooned in Spain in 1992. To our surprise, we found that in Seville pizza was popular and excellent. It was the thin-crust style. I don’t know if that is still the case, but we hope to find out sometime soon.Report

  3. Avatar dragonfrog
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    says:

    “The best pizza I had while there, however, was ironically the cheapest. It was a little restaurant with the outward appearance of a shack”

    It’s remarkable how often this kind of thing happens.

    The best fish I’ve ever had was probably at a crossroads in the middle of nowhere North Carolina. We’d been to Calabash for a day trip from visiting my grandmother. Calabash has since my mother’s youth turned from a fishing village with a few really good simple restaurants, into a touristy town whose main street is full of brightly signed tourist trap restaurants. The one we ate at was in fairness pretty alright.

    On the way back, we took some scenic backroads, resulting in our being on the road about 25% lost and 100% hungry when we expected to be back already. We stopped at a little grocery store / plastic lawn chair restaurant / might have had a gas station too – because it was there and we were hungry. It was exactly the kind of perfect simply prepared seafood my mom remembers Calabash used to offer.Report

  4. Avatar Fish
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    says:

    I remember being really disappointed in the pizza in Italy (I was around Venice for about four months), but literally everything else food-wise was the best I’d ever had. There was even a Chinese place we frequented that is still the best Chinese I’d ever had. I drew the obvious conclusion that food in general was better in Italy.

    And you’re spot-on about the lack of a decent melting cheese replacement. I’m not vegan but I am lactose intolerant. I can get lactose-free milk, ice cream, butter, and sour cream but not cheese. There’s a place here in town that makes an excellent flatbread pizza and they’ll sub the vegan cheese for me, but it just isn’t the same.Report

  5. Avatar Chris
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    says:

    It’s important that anyone planning a visit to Italy understand how food works there. Abstracting from regional differences, there are six types of food in Italy: breakfast (pastries, a shot of espresso; I’m fond of cornetto con crema, and would pay a lot of money for someone to teach me how to make them); non-breakfast non-dinner (sandwiches, pizza, those fries they eat with a stick, other pastries that aren’t eaten at breakfast); dinner (anti-pasta, pasta, and the various main courses); dessert (eaten after dinner); and gelato (to be eaten any time except breakfast, though, ya know, maybe at breakfast too). They’re all delicious, but if you are paying more than a few Euros for anything but the dinner stuff, you’re doing food in Italy wrong.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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      says:

      Also, the best food in Italy is in Emilia-Romagna, and I’ll not be convinced otherwise.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chris
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      says:

      My counter intuitive thought for the day is that Roman Food culture is good, but Roman Dining is mostly bad.

      We were just in Rome again a couple months ago and were thoroughly underwhelmed at almost every place we ate… on the track, off the track, neighborhood local (San Pancrazio) vs. district centers (say, Trastevere). The way I might put it is that the restaurants were a kinda shorthand or sketches good Roman meals, not really as good as or full as a *real* Roman meal… and I’ve noticed an marked move towards even shorter more sketchier approaches over the years (less variety, fewer improvisations, more, well, corporate and organized). Ultimately we’re still just visitors and not true denizens, so we’ll miss the best spots… its just that in the past we hit more often than we missed. Maybe that makes sense to you, maybe I sound like a crank 🙂

      Finally, on Pizza… Rome is where I finally gave up on the word “Pizza” and just decided that the universal “we” likes warm open-faced sandwiches as a general rule… and will call anything that approximates that, Pizza. And once we let go of the word Pizza, its possible to enjoy any Pizza no matter how bad it is, like Roman Pizza. Terrible pizza, but sometimes delightful flatbread with toppings.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Marchmaine
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        says:

        I forget who implied, like a century ago, that Rome is a city for foreigners, but it’s kinda that now, too, except that the foreigners mostly don’t live there (my cousin is from, and lives in, Rome, so there are some Italians there, but…).

        The best food I’ve ever had was Italian food in Parma, followed closely by Italian food in Modena, and then Bologna. Two of those cities have very little tourist culture, which is probably an important factor.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chris
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          says:

          That’s a good observation; partly why we end up in Rome is because we always have a connection who’s “doing time” there. So there’s some ongoing continuity in that this guy learned from the guy before him about this, and disovered that, but he’s moving on in another year or two… so who knows what the next guy will remember or discover. It’s how we get exposed to the good stuff even as we slog through the mediocre stuff.

          I believe you about the provinces; for various reasons we’ve never really been. In fact the best meal this time around was a local place run by Sicilians… I imagined Sicilian as being extra super duper tomato-y comfort food… instead we were treated to very delicately grilled fish and vegetables, “sushi” type seafood antipasto, and lots of interesting savory uses of Pistacchio (which I love).

          We invented a custom that one is not allowed to have the same Gelato twice in a calendar month… which led to some really inspired/uninformed choices. There were 9 of us (that’s just our family plus Grandma)… so I think we probably did have just about every flavor, since we made sure to go out every night we were there. My youngest daughter actually liked the Rose flavor – and combined it with another flavor a second time (a technical loophole since the second flavor was new); this seemed to cause a stir among the Italian friends, as I believe it is considered an almost impossible phenomenon… like an oracular pronouncement coming true: “And there will come a time when a maiden from America will walk among you and you will know her by the gelato made from Roses; and therefore you must always make Rose gelato for when she comes, none can know.” Or something like that. I can confirm it tastes like soap.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Marchmaine
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            says:

            I like this approach to gelato, particularly since it implies I should eat it every day (which, when I’m in Italy, I do).

            My partner’s family is from northern Italy (North of Milan), so we usually hang around up there. I highly recommend it. So much do that, as the is an Italian citizen, we’re pretty seriously considering moving there for a while.Report

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