By Chef Nick Anderer
Drink Coffee Like A Local
Cappuccino | Not in the Afternoon
Drink cappuccino at breakfast with a pastry. No cappuccino after the hour of noon. I think Italians think it’s heavy because it’s filled with dairy and that would be weird for them to have a glass of milk at the end of the night, which is essentially what that is -- it’s hot milk flavored with coffee. I think that just the idea of ordering a cappuccino is much more of an American thing. Sure it’s an Italian drink, but you go to a coffee bar to get coffee.
Espresso | Don’t Ask For It
It’s a made up Italian-American word for what they just refer to as coffee. So the whole idea of coffee in Italy is just espresso to us. You don’t go to an Italian bar and order espresso. That’s a no-no. It shows that you’re a tourist.
Pay | Before You Order
Every tourist makes the same mistake, they go straight up to the barista and they order their coffee and they haven’t paid yet. The custom is you pay, you get your scontrino, which is the receipt, and you could go over and you put the scontrino down on the counter and order your coffee so that they keep track of the drinks they’re making.
Eat Pizza Like A Local
Eat Pizza in the Morning
Tourists will make the mistake of thinking, ‘I’ll visit this bakery in the afternoon and pick up some stuff.’ Go in the morning and get the stuff as it’s coming out right from the oven.
Buy by the Etto
They usually weigh the pizza by the etto, so you can tell them how big of a piece you want. An etto is a hundred grams, so if you say due etti that means you want 200 grams of pizza.
Two Types of Pizza
When people talk about pizza in Rome, there are pretty much two kinds of pizza. There’s pizza al taglio, which is essentially a pizza bianca. It’s an oven-baked pizza bread that is similar to focaccia, but much less leavened.
When you’re talking about pizzeria pizza, it’s a thin crust pizza that’s cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven for about a minute and a half and it’s thin and crispy.
Fold Your Pizza
They usually fold. If you want to eat it right away they heat it up and fold it up and put it inside parchment paper and hand it right to you.
Eat as the Romans Eat
There are tons of pizzerias that are just non-denominational and they’re not even worth going to, to be honest with you. There are a couple that claim to be Neapolitan, but why would you get Neapolitan pizza in Rome when Naples is only a two-hour drive away? If you want Neapolitan pizza, go there. I have a particular affinity for Roman-style thin crust pizza, it’s worlds apart from Neapolitan style pizza, but I love it. I feel like I can eat it and have the rest of the night ahead of me without feeling all weighted down.
Cover Shot of Rome: Gianni Dominici [flickr}
Chef Nick Anderer of Marta
Nick Anderer is the executive chef and a partner in Marta in New York City. Inspired by the rustic tradition of Roman pizzerie, Anderer uses two wood-burning ovens and an open-fire grill to turn out cracker-thin pizzas and daily meat, fish and vegetable specials. One of the perks of running the kitchen at an Italian trattoria is getting to travel to Rome often for research.
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