Monday, March 7, 2011

Pizza Pie!

Being in Italy means eating some of the best pizza in the world. I mean, the stuff was invented here in Naples--it should be good. (Technically, pre-pizza forms have been around since Ancient Greece... but the pizza we know today originated in Naples, Italy).

Back home I eat pizza maybe once every two to three weeks. It's a treat. It's greasy, cheesy, and oh so delicious. I would never imagine eating pizza once a week... or even more than that. But here in Rome, it's a food staple. There are pizzerias on literally every street, and they all smell delicious as you walk past them on your way to wherever you're heading.

Seeing as how I've picked my favorite gelato places, I figured I'd do the same for pizza. There are three places in particular that stick out in my mind here in Rome.

Di Simone's
Not only is it conveniently located on Via Carini right by The American University of Rome where I study, but it is, by far and without a doubt, the most incredibly delicious pizza I have ever tasted in my life. Even sitting here now, writing about it and thinking about its flavors, my mouth is watering despite having already had dinner. That's how good this pizza is--enough to make my mouth water when I have an already full belly. This place gets packed every day of the week during the lunch hour, and it's not hard to understand why. Offering over a two dozen varieties of pizzas and plenty of other delicious foods like suppli (deep fried risotto balls with mozzarella cheese in the center) and fried veggies, lasagna, gnocchi, broccoli rabe, and spinach, Di Simone's is the place to go to grab a bite to eat. You go in, pick out what you want, tell them how big or small a piece you want, they weigh it, and you pay by the weight. You're in an out before you know it, chowing down on some savory proscuitto e formaggio pizza or some buttery zucchini pizza or some classic pizza pomodoro. It's tough to go wrong, because each pizza is as delicious as the one before it.

Dar Poeta
If you want something a little less hectic and more classic, head over to Dar Poeta in Trastevere located on Vicolo del Bologna. The crust is made from a secret recipe, and locals head here to fulfill their pizza cravings for lunch and dinner. With checkered table clothes and a kitchen you can see from some of the tables, Dar Poeta is cozy and worth checking out. Aside from the cute ambiance, the pizza is really, really good. It's a softer crust, instead of crunchy like Di Simone's, but it's what you get on the pizza that makes it a perfect hunger satisfier. On my visit, I ordered the four cheese and chili powder pie, and all I have is one word--perfecto. I also plan on going back to try out their dessert calzones: from what I've read, a perfect blend of ricotta cheese and nutella.

Il Fornaio
Looking for that deep, bready crust that seems to be lacking in more of Rome? Look no further than Il Fornaio located on Via dei Baullari on your way to Campo dei Fiori. It's pizza rosso is probably the best Sicilian pizza I've ever had (although, I'm sure if I went to Sicily I could find better.... so I'll settle for best I've had so far). I was lucky enough to get a corner piece fresh out of the oven so that the crust was nice and crunchy and the inside was doughy and soft. As if the tomato sauce wasn't good enough, it was supplemented with cherry tomatoes tucked into air pockets in the dough and came as sweet little surprises with every bite. Truly satisfying after a morning spent meandering around Campo.

What is the best pizza you've ever had? Where was it and what made it so delicious?

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