Since 1999, Giancarlo Casa has been making pizzas with cut-above ingredients, spending extra time working the dough, and charging slightly more for the result. You’ll be happy to pay the higher prices, and also the cab fare to Monteverde, for what is currently my favorite pizza experience in Rome. I say ‘experience’ because it’s not just about the excellent wood-fired pizza. The supplì and other fried starters are a true joy to put in your mouth, and the surprisingly good wine selection at la Gatta Mangiona elevates it to destination status.
Upon entering the dining room, which is decorated in late 90s feline kitsch, you’ll spy a chalkboard advertising daily specials for supplì (fried rice balls) and pizza. Spend some time looking here (or online, where they also post their specials) and order more fried things than you think is reasonable. Options go far beyond the traditional flavors, like supplì made with with sausage and IPA beer, or spicy potato croquettes with bufala mozz and red onion. They’re fantastic.
The rest of the menu is expansive, ranging from pastas like rigatoni alla Carbonara to grilled steak. I can only speak to the pizza, which is made in a style that Casa describes, in the video from Vice at the bottom of this page, as “90% Neopolitan and 10% Roman.” That small pinch of Roman influence brings a hint of crispiness to an otherwise tender and chewy crust. In terms of toppings, Casa doesn’t push the boundaries as far as Stefano Callegari or Daniele Seu, favoring more traditional compositions that shine because of the stellar ingredients. If you prefer something more playful, the daily specials provide an outlet for the kitchen’s creativity. In springtime, you might find a special pizza featuring vignarola (a seasonal dish of artichokes, fava beans, peas and guanciale) and chopped Mortadella, or one with fior di latte, semi-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs and edible flowers. I tend to bypass flowers in favor of anything anchovy, and so the Napoletana, made simply with fior di latte, anchovies and tomatoes, is my recurring fantasy.
Rounding out the whole experience, Casa’s selection of wine, including a whole page of Champagne, is remarkable for a pizza place. He even advertises pizza and wine pairings on his menu. To finish your meal, I’d suggest you order the delicious Tiramisu or one of many amari in stock. A final note about the price: while more expensive than other traditional Roman pizzerias, La Gatta Mangiona is still a steal. A blowout meal with four fried starters, two pies, dessert, a bottle of wine and two glasses of amari will set you back around 70€. A more reasonable couple could escape for around 45€.
We’ve included La Gatta Mangiona among our short list of Favorite Restaurants in Rome.
La Gatta Mangiona in pictures
Photos by Meg Zimbeck © Rome by Mouth
What people are saying
- “Roma nel Piatto” by La Pecora Nera gave them a score of 5 out of 5 points for pizza in 2018.
- I Cento (2018) includes them among their favorite 50 “Pop” or informal addresses in Rome.
- Scatti di Gusto (2017) confirms that La Gatta Mangiona is still #1 among Roman pizza joints, raving about a seasonal pizza with puntarelle and anchovy as well as the seven types of Margherita on offer. The supplì are another thing that sets this place apart and they recommend the codfish version if it’s available in addition to the traditional and arrabbiata.
- Eater by Katie Parla (2017) advises you to “go for the pizza of the month, a seasonal invention listed on the blackboard. And always open with fried starters like carciofi infarinati (floured and fried artichokes, in season) and creatively seasoned supplì.”
- Luciano Pignatero (2016) rates this among the best in the city for pizza quality, explaining that when they started in 1999, the pizza revolution as we are experiencing it today incomprehensible. “Nobody paid attention to a food considered fast food by definition, where the concept of speed (in consumption) was synonymous with superficiality (in the bill). Almost no one spoke of times and methods of cooking and leavening, neither flour, nor research of raw materials to be used.”
- Puntarella Rossa (2013) includes La Gatta Mangiona in their roundup of best addresses for supplì, especially the one with gorgonzola cream and smoked herring. They recommend it for those who want to try something different from the traditional and to spend a bit more money.
- Katie Parla (2011) recommends starting with the fried bits, including potato croquettes stuffed with leeks and cod or ink and cuttlefish supplì and reminds us that she has an art history degree by comparing her pizza di igles to a Jan Brueghel the Elder floral still life. “Its flavor was unusual, sweet, and herbal, a portrait of springtime on a plate.”
La Gatta Mangiona in video
In this episode about Rome from Vice’s The Pizza Show, Giancarlo Casa explains how his pizza is 90% Naples and 10% Roman (just a little bit of crunch), and how his major innovation was to use quality ingredients at a time (in 1999) when the standard was quite different. “Ingredients had to be cheap and quality was not important.” The segment featuring La Gatta Mangiona begins around the 8:20 mark.
Also Recommended for Pizza
Seu Pizza Illuminati in Trastevere
Also Recommended in this Neighborhood
L’Osteria di Monteverde in Monteverde