Fornace Stella is a brand new restaurant and pizzeria in the Piazza Bologna / Policlinico area which brings smart, modern surroundings to a classic take on the neighbourhood pizzeria and trattoria concept.
The baby of Enrico Mercatili and Roberto Priora, former colleagues, friends and now partners in the business, Fornace Stella is an easy eatery with charm and courtesy in its DNA. Laurenzi Consulting and Strato architects advised on and helped create the restaurant’s warm maze of rooms and cosy nooks. You wouldn’t think that they have 104 covers at first sight – the spaces are inviting and seperated in an intelligent way to preserve easy conversation and promote the perfect date night.
Roman pizza maker Giancarlo Casa is the brains behind the restaurant’s succulent pizzas, which meet half-way between the slim base of a Roman-style pizza with the doughy edges and softness of a Neapolitan pizza. The toppings include classic and modern varieties to suit every taste.
The dough is leavened for around 48 hours to create an easy-to-digest dinner, thanks to a tasty blend of white and wholemeal flours.
Of course, you’re probably going to want to start your dinner with a few classic fried goodies from the starter menu. We sampled the light and crisp deep fried baccala (€3.00), zucchini flowers stuffed with a dab of mozzarella and salty anchovy (€2.50), plus really really good olive ascolane (€6.00), a Roman speciality which sees olives wrapped in sausage meat, breaded and fried. Lots of pizzerias serve frozen versions of this, but these are handmade, really meaty versions. There are also good value suppli (€2.00) and ‘nduja potato crochets (€1.50).
The fun thing about Fornace Stella however is that you needn’t merely come for the pizza. Popular choices on the menu include a crisp yet fluffy potato gratin with baked ham and scamorza cheese (€6.50), plus the Southern Italian classic, melanzana parmigiana (€6.00). Baked in terracotta dishes, these arrive at the table in perfect portions for one (or perhaps to share with a selection of other goodies).
You might have noticed that the prices are pretty keen and this is definitely something to love about Fornace Stella. The pizzas range from traditional ‘white’ pizzas – prices starting at €8.50 – and traditional ‘red’ pizzas, with prices starting from €6.50.
But don’t leave Fornace Stella without trying the gourmet pizzas, which include the Roma (€9.00), with fior di latte, rocket pesto and ricotta; the Calabrese (€10.00) with smoked provola, potato and ‘nduja; the Calzone Napoletano (€9.50), with smoked provola, cooked ham and spicy salami; or the Nord-Est (€10.00) with asiago cheese, radicchio and South Tyrolean speck. I particularly enjoyed the Siciliana (€9.00), with cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies, artichoke petals and origano.
If members of your party aren’t in the pizza mood it’s not a problem. Look out for traditional pasta courses around the €10.00 mark, plus a selection of mains, including meatballs, baccala fish, Roman-style oxtail and burgers.
There are a good range of desserts, including cheesecake, tiramisu and a nougat and coffee semifreddo. These cost €5.00-€6.00.
Fornace Stella offers sit-down dining as well as takeaway pizzas. It’s open every day from Monday to Sunday, and closed at Saturday lunchtime. The full menu, including prices, is available here: https://www.fornacestella.it/menu/
Fornace Stella | Piazza Lecce 9 | 00161 Rome | Italy | 0039 06 4754 9953
Testaccina was a guest of Fornace Stella