Gabriele Bonci, master Pizzaiolo and owner of Pizzarium Bonci, is known as the “Michelangelo” of Pizza in Rome and for good reason! A visit to Pizzarium is like nothing else you will experience in Rome with up to 20 different varieties of pizza “al taglio” (Roman style pizza by the slice) available daily, many being swapped for those with different toppings as and when they sell out.
Bonci came to prominence for his uncompromising approach to crafting the perfect pizza. He uses stone-ground heritage grains from Mulino Marino (you can buy around half a dozen different varieties of their flour at Pizzarium in case you feel inspired to try to recreate their pizzas at home) along with water and one of his many sourdough starters, some of which are over 100 years old. The resulting dough is then left to rise for 72 hours before it is eventually ready to be topped with something delicious and fired.
I arrived bang on 11am, ready for them to open, thus ensuring they would not have time to run out of anything I had my eye on, including the small selection of “Suppli”, fried snacks like “arancini” risotto balls, stuffed with either a cheese or meat filling and fried, which fly off the shelves early and are seemingly not replenished.
In the end I settled for 2 suppli, the “Classico” arrancini filled with melted cheese, along with a breadcrumbed and fried Mozzarella and Nduja, and 2 small slices of pizza. With much difficulty I eventually deciding on what I *think* was Fior di Latte, Nduja and mint, as well as one topped with sliced potato, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms.
I only managed one of the suppli, the fried Mozzarella and Nduja was just too heavy for me and I decided it definitely wasn’t worth trying to finish it, not when I had pizza waiting! I totally understand now why my friend D raves about Bonci so much, his pizzas really are so unique, I’m really quite obsessed with how good it all was!
You can see from my photos just how light the base is, perfectly crisp and filled with bubbles – quite unlike anything else I have eaten – oh just so, so, SO good!
The creaminess of the Fior di Latte was truly outstanding when paired with the fiery Nduja and fresh mint, such a simple yet explosive combination of flavours, it really was perfection. Whilst I have never been a huge fan of pizza with potato, the one at Pizzarium really managed to hit the spot! The potatoes here had been cooked until golden, then sliced as thinly as possible, before being layered onto the base and topped with the sweet, juicy roasted tomatoes and earthy mushrooms for a wonderful combination of flavours that balanced beautifully.
Drinks service is casual; you help yourself to one of the artisanal soft drinks, craft beers or a plastic tumbler of wine, from a box in the fridge, which you can enjoy whilst you eat your pizza standing at one of the small tables outside the restaurant should you choose not to do takeaway.
As is the standard with pizza al taglio, you are asked how large a slice you want and are charged by the weight indicated on the small chalkboard in front with pizzas costing anything from €19.50 to €25.50 per kg, although I did spot one that appeared to be on a slightly different base that came topped with what looked to be lightly scrambled egg and zucchini flowers that came in at €40.50 per kg so do check the prices and portion size before deciding how much you will eat! Pizzarium is not expensive by any means, with 2 glasses of wine my bill came in at a very reasonable €15 all said and done.
I enjoyed Pizzarium so much we even squeezed in one last stop off on our way back from Naples, although we were all rather pizza’d out by then and I only managed a rather measly serving of pizza topped with Provola, mushrooms, roasted peppers and what appeared to be dill fronds (?) which was a shame as I have quite literally been dreaming of Bonci since!
Absolutely believe the hyperbole and be sure to add Pizzarium Bonci to any planned Roman holiday itinerary, for me it was worth the cost of the flight alone!
Via Della Meloria 43 (by Cipro metro station)
+39 06 3974 5416