Officina – pizza and burger is a recently refurbished pizzeria and craft-beer bar in Rome which is laying claim to serving one of the best pizzas in the capital. I’m guessing I don’t need to tell you how hardly contested that particularly crown is – it makes that Brutus-Julius Caesar spat in the capital look like handbags at dawn.
Owned by brothers Alfredo and Mario Arcangeli, and located in the pleasant residential area, Appio Latino, Officina – pizza and burger showcases its obsessions up front. The name of the restaurant means ‘workshop’, and the brothers’ love for vintage Italian vehicles is literally part of the furniture. Expect a mix of vintage car seating and bodywork for tables, lovingly reworked to give the bar and restaurant a fun diner feel. It started life as a craft-beer bar, and still has an attractive counter distinguished by micro-brew taps, just in case you want to pop in for a drink and not much else.
Officina – pizza and burger: the review
However, as good as the beer is, it’s a shame not to stay and eat based on my experience. What is so special about Officina’s pizza? The secret lies in the dough, but Officina’s kitchen has a secret weapon to boot: pizza consultant Marco Lungo. The only way I can describe Lungo is as a pizza professor. He is truly obsessed with creating the ultimate in digestibility – actually a hot topic in Italian pizzerias. After all, if you can eat a pizza the size of a hubcap and sleep like a baby, you’re really onto something. Officina’s pizzas, I can confirm, comprise a remarkably light and tasty base.
As well as taking extra care to make the dough as light and digestible as possible, Officina – pizza and burger has livened things up with a list of mouth-watering toppings that help it stand out from the crowd. If you like things chilli-pepper hot, like me, you might want to take a chance on the Morsa pizza with gorgonzola, red onion, chilli peppers, fior di latte cheese and tomato (this is extra spicy by Italian standards – you have been warned). There’s also a Carburante, a kind of a carbonara pizza, and a Cuscinetto, with cured lard and rosemary. All excellent and all distinguished by cute, motoring-related names. Prices start at €7.50 and go up to €12 for the most opulent toppings.
Of course, the other fun thing about Officina – pizza and burger is the fact that it doesn’t just serve pizza. It has a small but appetising pasta and fried goodies menu, plus an ample burger menu. I also tried the pasta alla gricia with pear, which wasn’t entirely successful but I appreciated the creativity, especially in a city which sometimes takes the culinary rule book too seriously.
When it comes to drinks, ask the well-informed staff for a craft beer recommendation or choose from Officina’s excellent tap list and fridge stuffed with bottled beers. There’s wine and soft drinks too if you prefer.
Happily, this is one pitstop worth your time – if not least to explore the possibility that they’re actually serving one of the best pizzas in Rome.
Testaccina was a guest of Officina – pizza and burger.