What is Roman Style Pizza? Don’t we just mean, pizza? Actually, we don’t mean that at all! Pizza comes in all shapes and sizes, whether we are talking about brick oven pizza in Naples, New York style thin slices, Chicago deep dish, Philadelphia Square pies, and many more.
However, one type really caught our eye when we were in Rome, which we just called “Roman Style” whenever we were looking for it. After doing some research, it’s technically called “pizza al taglio” which means pizza for cutting. That is actually a pretty apt description as this pizza is usually cooked on sheet pans and meant to be eaten on the go after a quick reheat in a small oven behind the counter.
We loved this pizza when we were traveling in Italy, it was quick, cheap, easy, and delicious. And funny enough, my grandmother used to make this kind of pizza for my family growing up! I remember her using scissors to cut the pie, when I was so used to seeing the pizza cutter at restaurants.
When we got to Philadelphia this fall, we noticed this pizza was popping up everywhere. Being the religious eaters that we are, we decided what better way to explore Philly Pizza and Roman Style Pizza as a whole then by eating at as many of these places as we could and ranking them. Right?!
Giuseppe and Sons, 1523 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA
One of the trendiest restaurants throughout Philadelphia, Giuseppe and Sons also serves Roman Style Pizza at their lunchonette upstairs. They actually made it quite difficult to take it to go with no boxes or plates to grab and go with. We got margherita, broccoli rabe and sausage, and another cheese pizza here as well.
They were all pretty average in our opinion. Nothing had enough flavor and it was just bland overall. This was surprising because we do really enjoy the other food here–it’s legitimate Italian food–but this Roman Style Pizza just wasn’t for us. We really expected more and the setting in trying to grab it being so difficult completely threw us off.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Rione, 102 S 21st St, Philadelphia, PA
Rione takes their Roman Style Pizza to an extreme. They only serve pizza, a few snacks and salads, so the pizza is what you’re coming here for. We were fortunate to have multiple people with us when we tried Rione so we got a wide variety of pizza from here. The type of pizza changes based on what they’re making that day but when we went we got: margherita, potato and rosemary, diavola, trufolata, and potentially a few more–there was a lot of pizza being eaten this day!
This pizza was a new take on Roman Style Pizza to us. You would rarely see potatoes on a pizza in Rome. But it was clear that the pizza makers know the Roman traditions well, as this pizza had the right feel to it in terms of texture and look. We really loved the margherita and the trufolata (mushrooms), but some of the others just didn’t hit the same way.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Alice Pizza, 235 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA
Alice Pizza is one of those places that you walk by and think, oh that pizza looks good, but it’s in Center City, this has to be a tourist trap. Well my friends, let me tell you, this is not a tourist trap. With owners from Italy and a classic Italian style inside, this checked off so many boxes for us. The restaurant is split down the middle, half as a Roman Style Pizza shop, and the other half as a cafe serving coffee and gelato. While that seems confusing, that was actually how most places were set up in Italy, so this was an encouraging sign.
As for the pizza, we ordered eggplant and red pepper, margherita, potato and rosemary, and an arugula and pesto. All four of these were just delicious, the right amount of dough to toppings, and just the right amount of crispiness. This pizza made us feel as if we were walking on cobblestone in Italy when we left. Like we said, just hits on everything you could want for Roman Style Pizza.
Ranking: 4.5 out of 5
Philly Pizza is changing. The traditional square pies still reign king, but new styles are popping up all over the place in this city. Keep your eyes out people, as we will surely do the same to make sure we can eat as much of this pizza as possible.