Locals argue for hours about the best place in Rome to gorge on the country's signature dish, but there are really only three contenders. Gusto, Dar Poeta and Da Baffetta. Read on for a run down...
Gusto is Rome's flagship, very trendy gastro restaurant, which hosts a live jazz lounge, apertivo bar packed with never ending munchies, and pizzas made in the Napolitan style - thick crusted and creaking with fresh topping. Cooked ham with mozzarella and rocket is a favourite as is La Siciliana which comes with cherry tomatoes, aubergines and smoked ricotta. A simple margherita does the job nicely too. Despite the fact that it's packed with TV and cinema folk (who usually hike prices high) prices are reasonable (8/9E per pizza.) Getting a table is not though. Expect to wait a very long time to be seated unless you've been smart enough to book. In the meantime, get stuck into the apertivo snacks which could even pass for dinner if you're feeling lazy.
Down the road in the backstreets of Piazza Navona is Da Baffetta, a tattier, messier affair than Gusto - but the pizza's good, and cheap. Get started on a doorstep sized bruschetta (toppings include creme of artichoke, cannellini beans and pancetta) or a mozzarella and anchovy stuffed courgette flower, then polish it off with a crispy thin pizza. Rocket and bresaola with parmesan shavings is delicious, as is the Parmigiana with aubergines and melted parmesan. Service is gruff, and at times rude. But then you can't argue with good food.
Cross the bridge at Largo Argentina and you're into Trastevere, Rome's bustling nightspot area. Here lies Big Hilda, a shabby chic lazy loungehole which is perfect for a cheap cocktail while waiting for a table at Dar Poeta, Trastevere's most popular pizzeria. Don't let the fact that there are a thousand hungry Italians waiting outside put you off; put your name down on the list and a table will free up eventually. A shared bruschetta platter with toppings like courgette creme, garlic and sausage, olive pate, aubergine spread, spicy bean and tuna etc always gets the ball rolling before the main event - a Dar Poeta special. Crumbled sausage on a mozzarella, creme of artichoke and potato base has to be tasted to be believed. Expect to get fat but don't give a monkies. Buon appetito!