Capricciosa pizza from Pepy’s Bar, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, mushrooms, artichoke and arugala.
Pizza: a classic craving when a student from the American Northeast heads home for a school break. Although states such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are known for having “the best pizza,” the classic toppings, flavors and crust can not compete with an authentic Italian pie. Ingredients, look, taste and even the way it is consumed vary drastically, as does the way you feel after eating.
Grabbing a slice at the local bar is not available in Rome, and the locals rarely ask for leftovers to go. American’s drown their dough in tomato sauce and cheese, and grease inevitably drips off each piece, running down your hand and coating the plate below.
A layer of olive oil is visible atop Italian pizza, but it rarely tastes oily. The single pie size offered is served uncut, as opposed to the American pre-cut slices–Italians use a knife and fork. Each mismatched cut has unequal amounts of sauce, cheese and crust, but no one seems to mind.
Toppings offered on the well-known pizzas in Rome are not the typical pepperoni, veggie or plain. The classic garnish of a margarita pizza is arugula instead of basil leaves, and onions and pesto have been undiscovered on any menus we have come across so far. It is surprising to see items such as burrata, anchovies and artichoke offered as popular toppings.
Pepy’s Bar in Rome had waiters outside of the restaurant offering quick service and great pizza. It is a short walk from the Spagna station on the metro and in a populated square. To-go can be ordered, but if anyone tries to eat a boxed pizza at a table outside, the staff gets a bit less friendly. The tables are strictly for customers dining-in, and full tables prevent new customers from stopping in. The thin, crispy, roman-style pizza was accurate, but nothing stood out.
Brillo, located on a small side road near the Spanish Steps, had a local atmosphere and a wider range of menu options. The Bufalina pizza is topped with date tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, Taggiasca olives and parmesan cheese. The crispy crust is interrupted with the moisture from the creamy mozzarella and the aroma of the olives fills the air. Each employee was proud of their restaurant’s pizza and were persistent in confirming that everything met expectations. Waiter Hamdi Casanova said, “Our yeast takes 48 hours to rise, which you cannot find in America.”
He adds, “If you eat pizza from here, you will never get full.”