I always believed I could eat my own weight in pizza. It’s one of my favorite foods, and despite being petite, I’m the person at the dinner table finishing off everyone else’s plate. But the new addition to Wickenden Street, Roma Capoccia, put my hypothesis to the test. Rather than selling pizza by the pie, or by the slice, they sell it by the ounce, and you can choose as many varieties as you’d like. This is perfect for people like me who cannot make decisions, and I was excited to experience this unique way of dining.
It is, in fact, the only restaurant in Rhode Island that serves pizza the authentic Roman way, where pizza al taglio – a large rectangular (not round) pizza – is sliced with scissors at your desired size and reheated. While other styles of pizza, such as the well-known Neapolitan, are baked quickly and at high temperatures, Roman-style pizza dough is first fermented for 96 to 120 hours, and because of its high hydration, it actually tastes best after reheating. The crust acquires a crispy exterior with a light, airy interior; it’s chewy without being doughy.
The first time I visited Roma, it was a frigidly cold evening. The space felt inviting, with bright white walls, hanging lights, and large windows that fogged around the edges. The pizzas were set up buffet-style, and employees stood at the ready with giant scissors. Our server, Chelsea, was very friendly (which one would hope for when giant scissors are involved), and she showed us the average width of a slice, told us which pizzas might be heavier based on their toppings, and gave us an approximation of how big an ounce is (note: it’s about 2x3 inches). The pizzas range from 75 cents to $1.15 per ounce, and the toppings are as traditional as a margherita and as inventive as eggplant, ‘nduja, and pistachio. My methodology for any eating adventure is to share, so I ordered four “average”-sized strips that filled an entire tray ($13) and my friend did likewise, so we sampled eight different pizzas.
This, my friends, is how I envision heaven.
In regard to alcoholic beverages, Roma Capoccia offers a handpicked selection of wines and craft beer. I saw a Tuscan red wine, Frescobaldi Rémole ($8), and immediately chose it because I liked the name. It might be my new favorite wine: smooth and robust, the perfect complement to pizza.
A more difficult task was choosing a favorite of the pizzas – and with a menu that changes daily, it’s unlikely anyone will get bored. Thus, I will award pizza superlatives.
Most Standout Pizza: Sweet potato pizza with candied orange, chestnuts, goat cheese, and sage garlic aioli. It was the first slice I sampled, almost dessert-like in quality, but with both sweet and savory flavors in the same bite.
Most Unique Pizza: Chickpeas, tahini, pomegranate, and mint. It was colorful and exotic. Bonus points because it was also vegan.
Best “Classic” Pizza: Mushroom Truffle, with roasted mushrooms, mozzarella, and black truffle. It’s hard to go wrong when truffles are involved.
Most Surprising: BBQ Chicken. I know it sounds basic, but this was by far the best I’ve had of its kind, made with shredded chicken, mozzarella, cilantro, and both a sweet Kansas-style sauce and an Alabama white sauce.
Roma Capoccia is the perfect place to try something new, to sample a bit of everything, and to eat your weight (or – okay – 14 ounces) in pizza. As they say, when in Rome…
468 Wickenden Street, Providence • 331-7662