Emma Pizzeria in Rome
Via del Monte della Farina 28 – open daily from 12:30 – 3:00; 7 – 11:30pm
Website – +39 06 64760475 – bookings highly recommended
Located near Campo de’ Fiori in the city center, Emma is one of those jam-packed, sparkling restaurants, full of the sounds of clinking glasses, rushing waiters, and the chatter of satisfied customers. The food is seasonal, local, and delicious.
One of the things I love about Emma Pizzeria, and Italian food in general, is that simple dishes with a few basic ingredients are mouthwateringly delicious. The tomato focaccia at Emma is a great example of that. The base is crispy. The tomatoes are sweet. The olive oil is peppery. The basil is fresh. The perfect amount of salt intensifies the flavor of each ingredient.
The plate above arrives from the counter in the main dining room, where the meat is freshly sliced. The mozzarella di bufala is creamy, the ham is buttery, and the olives and sun-dried tomatoes are tangy. Another perfect plate.
Burrata is mozzarella on the outside, and part curd and cream on the inside, which makes it rich and creamy and dreamy. Its name derives from the word “burro,” or “butter.” It is ridiculously delicious, and I could probably eat a whole ball of it myself.
Next comes the pasta. The carbonara at Emma is one of my very favorites. It’s salty and silky and rich.
The sauce for carbonara is made of bits of guanciale (or pancetta, depending on who you ask), pecorino cheese, and egg. The number of eggs and white to yolk ratio also depends on who you ask. Some people use the hot pasta water to help cook the egg, some people coat the pasta in the hot fat of the guanciale to do the job.
I recently heard a legend that carbonara was created when American soldiers were in Italy during World War II. Supposedly, the Americans, being American, asked for bacon and eggs, and Italians, being Italian, just assumed that pasta somehow played a role in the meal. There are several different stories of how it came to be, but that’s definitely my favorite. The fusion of two cultures can often give birth to amazing things.
I’m usually too full for dessert after eating at Emma, but I somehow manage to get down a few of the cookies that they usually bring out.
Like I said above, if you’re sightseeing in the city center, Emma Pizzeria is a great place to stop and recharge for lunch, or to cap off the day with a delicious dinner.
Want more tips? Check out my post on where to eat in Rome, which I update as often as I have a good meal (which is to say, a lot).