It can be hard to eat well near the Trevi Fountain, but the area has been changing recently and one of the most exciting new openings has been Piccolo Buco – a tiny, modern pizzeria a one minute walk from the thundering fountain.
When my family recently came to visit Rome, they stayed just down the street from the Trevi Fountain and literally across the street from Il Piccolo Buco.
“We need to eat there,” I proclaimed on the first night. I have actually been meaning to try Il Piccolo Buco for a year, but I actually rarely find myself around Trevi for more than a few minutes. It’s a beautiful fountain but it is so incredibly crowded that I usually pay my respects quickly, take it all in, and hurry along to an area with a bit more elbow room.
The neighborhood is not one that I would normally go out of my way to eat in, but this little pizzeria may change that. The pizza is decidedly contemporary and certainly not traditionally Roman – even if the owner is. He was born and raised in the very building where the restaurant is located.
I mean – look at that crust. This is not the crispy thin pizza found in most of Rome. This is a pizza to remember. In this case, it is the classic Margherita.
The dough is left to rise for 48 hours, using Mulino Marino flours, organic sea salt from Brittany, and (of course) the water of Rome. When it is time for the pillowy creations to be served, the pizzas are slipped into a wood oven that is over 100 years old.
The oven itself takes up most of the front half of the restaurant – which only has 28 perpetually full seats in total.
While the classic pizzas are excellent, the real stars of the menu are the pizzas topped with less conventional ingredients or ones that include a twist on the expected. These include a diavola (spicy salami) with yellow tomatoes and buffalo ricotta with mint.
I am a sucker for yellow tomatoes and I could not resist the Margherita gialla because it was topped with marzolina cheese – a Slow Food cheese that I can only ever find at the Circo Massimo market. Sadly, they were out of marzolina that day but I love that it is a part of the recipe for this pizza. The crust was pillowy and the flavors were intense.
There is definitely more than pizza on the menu as well. I almost regretted my dinner choice when I saw how amazing the carbonara looked.
I also tried the tortellini pasta with gorgonzola and fig reduction which was also a great option for those who have filled up on pizza at other Rome meals.
I love knowing that there is a great pizzeria near the Trevi Fountain, locally run and committed to the very best ingredients. I will definitely be back to try the marzolino cheese topping.
There are no reservations accepted for dinner so try to arrive on the early side to be seated quickly. You can, however, make reservations for lunch or try Piccolo Buco during those mid-day hours when most other restaurants close. The pizzeria is open non-stop between 12 pm and 11 pm Wednesday through Sunday.
Via del Lavatore, 91
Rome, Italy (Centro Storico – Trevi Fountain)
Phone: +39 06 6938 0163
Open: Tuesday for lunch from 12 pm – 3 pm, and for dinner from 6 pm to 11 pm. Wednesday to Sunday, open from 12 pm to 11 pm non-stop (which is rare in Italy)
Reservations accepted for lunch only.