Rome’s historical center has gotten way more interesting lately. Trust me, it is still dominated by tourist traps and that won’t change anytime soon. But small changes are afoot and a clued-in visitor can eat pretty well these days. There’s Arcangelo Dandini’s Supplizio on Via dei Banchi Vecchi. Armando al Pantheon, the inimitable institution, recently underwent a beautiful renovation. And Gelateria Carapina, a Florentine transplant, opened its doors on Via dei Chiavari this spring–that street was already somewhat of a gastronomic epicenter with Il Sanlorenzo, Antico Forno Roscioli and Salumeria Roscioli all in the mix.
The newest worthwhile arrival in centro is a block north of Chiavari, on Via Monte della Farina. There, Francesco and Ilaria Roscino have teamed up with the Roscioli crew to open Emma, a pizzeria that kind of has it all (as long as it’s delicious). There are fried starters (supplì, fiori di zucca and mixed fried vegetables are consistently good). The thin crust Roman-style pizza base has been engineered by Pierluigi Roscioli, a 4th generation baker. Toppings are sourced from the center’s premier deli counter at Salumeria Roscioli. There are also a few pasta options, as well as an ample selection of excellent cured meats and cheese.
While the thin-crust approach is, in theory, similar to the hundreds of other Roman style pizzerias, the attention to developing a quality dough, as well as the careful selection of flours and toppings, is totally unique in central Rome. The vast majority of other pizzerias in town cut corners (whether they view it this way or not is up for debate) and use mediocre or poor quality ingredients in their pies. That’s the only way to keep it cheap. Going against the grain, Pierluigi and his team are dedicated to changing the image of pizza from that of an economical and merely edible product into a delicious celebration of quality ingredients from artisanal producers. The prices, naturally, reflect this–pies average around €12–but so does the taste and digestibility factor.
Another welcome innovation is a quality wine list, which was chosen to complement the pizza offerings. Expect plenty of metodo classico wines and minerality-driven whites from both Italy and France. More great news: Emma is open 7 days a week at lunch and dinner, there is outdoor seating, and the air conditioned interior dining room has a glorious skylight.
Not everything at Emma is perfect. On three out of four visits, starters arrived after an excruciatingly long time or during the pizza course. There’s room for improving communication between stations, so don’t visit Emma if you’re in a hurry, but definitely make the trip.
Via Monte della Farina, 28/29
Tel +39 0664760475