It is raining and so I am hiding out in the empty hostel this afternoon. I did go to San Pietro this morning, mostly because it was on the way to Pizzarium, a pizza al taglio (by the slice) spot that, full disclosure, I saw on Anthony Bourdain. I did not go inside the basilica because the line was coiling throughout the piazza already at 11 am (and plus, last time I was here I spent an hour inside with only three other people. You really can't beat that).
In the piazza I also made the unfortunate discovery that my map does not extend to the area where I wanted to go. After a demoralized moment my determination was increased, as going off the map makes me feel more like the intrepid explorer I imagine myself to be. I started walking in the right general direction, ignoring my growing annoyance at the goggling touristi and even feeling severely tempted by a Big Mac. Such are the evils of low blood sugar.
When I got to Cipro metro, even my second wind was flagging. I walked around halfheartedly, telling myself I would leave if Pizzarium did not appear like a mirage in front of me. Just as I had finally admitted defeat, I looked up to see Pizzarium shimmering before me.
Some insane pizza followed. Also insanely expensive pizza, but as my mouth savored crisp, light crust topped with burrata, mixed greens, salty cured anchovies and tomato pesto, I didn’t care. The crust had those scorch marks that only a wood burning oven can create, and the texture was firm enough to support very juicy toppings without being tough or hard. Arugula, fennel and parsley brought out the flowers and grass flavor of the burrata, which in its creamy turn mellowed the saltiness of the anchovies. Tomato pesto rounded out the flavors with a hint of acid and nuttiness. I smiled the entire time I was eating.
As I was leaving, a pizza topped with perfectly rare tenderloin came out, looking very enticing. I will be going back to try more of the rather haute combinations, including one with copious translucent slices of lardo and another with chicken livers that smelled amazing. The frittura also looked tasty, including three or four equally atypical types of suppli (Roman style rice croquettes similar to arancini).
Pizzarium also has wine and beer and, amazingly, takes credit cards. There is nowhere to sit down, but you can take an artsy palette shaped tray outside to the minimal counter space and two benches, stand, or take your pizza to go to a park. Pizza al taglio is sold by weight, and due to the high end ingredients and attention to detail (and likely the Bourdain endorsement), the pizzas with many toppings range from 20-25 euro a kilo. But you won't be getting that much unless you are feeding a soccer team of gourmand types. Two 3x7 slices will cost around 12 euro. I know…outrageous. But worth it.
Pizzarium is located at Via Della Meloria 41, just off the Via Cipro and just across the street from the Cipro metro (Line A).