Stefano Callegari is considered a trailblazer for his contributions to creative pizza in Rome, and for his invention of the celebrated street snack Trapizzino. After Tondo and Sforno, he opened Sbanco in 2016 in a neighborhood that now includes Epiro and SantoPalato. Sbanco builds on Callegari’s winning formula of tasty pizza + fried starters + nice liquids by incorporating a serious craft beer element. Sbanco is also much closer to the center and near a subway line, ensuring that you don’t need to treat it like a pilgrimage site. Both Sforno and Tonda are so far away that expectations upon arrival are almost impossible to meet. What Callegari excels at is offering high quality at very reasonable prices. “Simply very good” is a lot more fun when it’s easy to get there.
If you go, don’t neglect the fried starters. Callegari’s menu of supplì includes some pretty creative options. Not everyone approves of non-traditional versions stuffed with carbonara or coratella, but I find them delicious. A lot of people love the house-made potato chips with dipping sauces. They’re alright, but you might want to save your appetite for supplì and pizza.
Callegari’s pizzas are Neopolitan style, with a puffy, chewy crust. He blasts them a little longer than some of his contemporaries to ensure a fully-cooked and more digestible crust. That means you’re likely to find a few blackened scorch marks around the edges. I love it, preferring my pizza on the slightly-charred end of the spectrum. Not everyone agrees.
Another point of disagreement: lots of reasonable people will tell you to order the famous cacio e pepe pizza if you’re at any of Callegari’s three restaurants. Don’t listen. While I’m intrigued by the ice cube cooking technique Callegari uses to achieve this, I find the result to be inedible. You may be advised to order just one to share, so that you only have to endure one piece. That’s one piece too many, in my opinion. This pizza may have represented a breakthrough ten years ago, but it’s not enjoyable to eat a thick half inch of mouth-searingly salty sand. There are so many better things to order. His simple margherita is perhaps my favorite.
What I like most of all is the value for money at Sbanco. You can eat very well, with tasty fried starters plus good pizza and craft beer for around 20€ per person.
Address: Via Siria, 1
Hours: Open Monday-Saturday for dinner only from 19:30-00:30. Open Sunday for both lunch & dinner from 12:30-00:30.
Telephone: +39 06 789318 (reservations from 17:00 onward)
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Sbanco in Pictures
Photos by Meg Zimbeck © Rome by Mouth
What people are saying
- Scatti di Gusto (2018) compliments the supplì as particularly successful, with a “perfect breading,” but their pizza margherita is a little burned with a unpleasant sourness in the tomato sauce. They strongly prefer the Mastunicola pizza with pecorino, pepper, nutmeg and thinly shaved lard. They conclude that Sbanco is a “must for pizza lovers.”
- “I Cento” by EDT (2018) include Sbanco among their 50 favorite “pop” or informal addresses in Rome. This collaboration between Stefano Callegari (Sforno, Tonda, Trapizzino) and the restaurateur Marco Pucciotti (Epiro, Santo Palato) features an industrial atmosphere with tables set among tanks of artisanal beer. They say the supplì are the best in the city.
- “Roma nel Piatto” by La Pecora Nera gave them a score of only 2 out of 5 points for pizza in 2018.
- Condé Nast Traveler (2017) Katie Parla suggests that you should be drinking “Italian draught beer from Vento Forte, Birrificio Del Ducato, Extraomnes, and others,” and says “The Cacio e Pepe pie is a must.”
- Luciano Pignatero (2017) Virginia di Falco says their first visit in 2016 was really not good, which came as a surprise because they had considered the pizza of Stefano Callegari to be some of the best in Rome. On this anonymous return visit, she finds the supplì to be perfect. The pizzas have a “great lightness” and are perfectly cooked. As far as toppings, the “ingredients show attention to the raw material, the various combinations alternate traditional recipes with more original combinations, but never needlessly daring.” In short, Sbanco has found its way.
- Eater (2016) by Katie Parla includes Sbanco among her , describing the partnership between Callegari and Italian craft brewery Birrificio del Ducato to serve 15 draft beers along with pizza baked in a domed, wood-burning Valoriani oven.
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