Pizzeria Da Baffetto

Pizzeria Da Baffetto, Rome
There's always a wait get into Pizzeria Da Baffetto, Rome. (Photo by Eric Parker)

A legendary, convivial pizzeria near Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy

Making a capriciosa at Pizzeria Da Baffetto, Rome
Making a capriciosa at Pizzeria Da Baffetto. (Photo by Reid Bramblett)

The dining room at Pizzeria Da Baffetto, Rome
The dining room. (Photo by Joanne Wan)

Everyone from local students to international movie stars line up outside Baffetto's doors for what just may be the best Roman-style pizza in town.

(Well, the movies stars don't bother lining up. Last time I was there, Jeff Goldblum marched straight to the front of the long line and waltzed right in like he owned the place. Bum.)

One small room, lined with white ceramic tiles and snapshots of celebrity patrons, wraps around the wood-fired brick oven just inside the entrance, while two more dining rooms are squirreled away upstairs.

This is a pizzeria, not a restaurant, so all they do is the traditional Roman crisp, thin-crust pizza. It comes in three sizes and with your choice of toppings (a small, plain "pizza margherita" costs around $4; a fully loaded large runs $10).

Oh, and you can start with an appetizer of bruschetta, slabs of peasant bread grilled, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil, topped with chopped tomatoes, and sided with white cannellini beans and mushrooms.

The wait to get in can be interminable, but then once you finally get a seat the service is quite brusque—all very Roman.

A true pizzeria, it opens only for dinner (6:30pm to 1am).

No reservations; no credit cards

New branch!

The owner's daughter Anna now run a second branch, Baffetto 2, near Campo de' Fiori at Piazza del Teatro di Pompeo 18 (tel. +39-06-6821-0807). It's open Wednesday to Monday for dinner, and on Saturday and Sunday at lunch as well.

Tips & links


Via del Governo Vecchio 114 (on the corner with Via Sora, five blocks west of the southern end of Piazza Navona)
tel. +39-06-686-1617
Dinner only; closed Sun in winter

Bus: 40, 46, 62, 64, 116T, 190F, 571, 916, 916F

General dining tips
  • "Pane e coperto" is not a scam: Nearly all Italian restaurants have an unavoidable pane e coperto ("bread and cover" charge) of anything from €1 to €15—though most often €2 to €5—per person that is automatically added onto your bill. This is perfectly normal and perfectly legal (though a few trendy restaurants make a big deal about not charging it).
  • Find out if service (tip) is included: Don't double-tip by accident. If the menu has a line—usually near the bottom of the front or back—that says "servizio" with either a percentage, an amount, or the word "incluso" after it, that means the tip is automatically included in the price. (If it says "servizio non incluso," tip is, obviously, not included.)

    Even if the menu doesn't say it, ask É incluso il servizio? (ay een-CLOU-so eel sair-VEET-zee-yo)—"Is service included?" If not, tip accordingly (10%–15% is standard).

    Don't be stingy about tipping, though. If il servizio is, indeed, already included but the service was particularly good, it's customary to round up the bill or leave €1 per person extra—just to show you noticed and that you appreciated the effort.
  • Tourist menus: The concept of a bargain prix-fixe menu is not popular in Italy. Some restaurants do offer a menu turistico ("tourist menu"), which can cost from €8 to €20 and usually entails a choice from among two or three basic first courses (read: different pasta shapes, all in plain tomato sauce), a second course of roast chicken or a veal cutlet, and some water or wine and bread. With very few exceptions, tourist menus tend to live up to their name, appearing only at the sort of tourist-pandering restaurants that the locals wisely steer clear of.

    However, a menu à prezzo fisso ("fixed-price menu") is often a pretty good deal, usually offering a bit more choice than a tourist menu.

    Then—especially at nicer (and pricier) restaurants—there is the menu degustazione ("tasting menu"), usually far more expensive (anywhere from €25 to €110) that is a showcase of the chef's best, or of regional specialties, and can make for an excellent way to sample the kitchen's top dishes.
  • Book ahead: For restaurants that I am truly eager to try, I go ahead and book a table—at least at dinner. I find that a corollary of Murphy's Law seems to apply. If you prudently book ahead, you are likely to show up to a half-empty restaurant and feel a bit like a fool for having worried about finding a table. If, on the other hand, you just show up at the door expecting to find a free table, the place will inevitably be packed and its bookings full for the evening.
Culinary tours of Rome
Italian dining phrases
English (Inglese) Italian (Italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...a restaurant un ristorante oon rees toh-RAHN-tay
...a casual restaurant una trattoria
oo-nah trah-toar-RHEE-yah
oon ohst-air-EE-yah
I would like to reserve... Vorrei prenotare... voar-RAY pray-note-ARE-eh
a table for two una tavola per due oo-nah TAH-voal-lah pair DOO-way
...for 7pm per le sette pair lay SET-tay
...for 7:30pm per le sette e mezzo pair lay SET-tay eh MET-tzoh
...for 8pm per le otto pair lay OH-toh
I would like Vorrei... voar-RAY
...some (of) un pó (di) oon POH (dee)
...this questo KWAY-sto
...that quello KWEL-loh
chicken pollo POL-loh
steak bistecca bee-STEAK-ah
veal vitello vee-TEL-oh
fish pesce PEH-shay
meat carne KAR-neh
I am vegetarian sono vegetariano SO-no veg-eh-tair-ee-YAH-no
side dish [veggies always come seperately] cotorno kon-TOR-no
dessert dolce DOAL-chay
and e ay
...a glass of un bicchiere di oon bee-key-YAIR-eh dee
...a bottle of una bottiglia di oo-na boh-TEEL-ya dee
...a half-liter of mezzo litro di MET-tzoh LEE-tro dee
...fizzy water acqua gassata AH-kwah gah-SAHT-tah
...still water acqua non gassata AH-kwah noan gah-SAHT-tah
...red wine vino rosso VEE-noh ROH-so
...white wine vino bianco VEE-noh bee-YAHN-koh
...beer birra BEER-a
Check, please Il conto, per favore eel COAN-toh pair fah-VOAR-eh
Is service included? É incluso il servizio? ay een-CLOU-so eel sair-VEET-zee-yo

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Pizzeria Da Baffetto

Via del Governo Vecchio 114 (on the corner with Via Sora, five blocks west of the southern end of Piazza Navona)
tel. +39-06-686-1617
Dinner only; closed Sun in winter

Bus: 40, 46, 62, 64, 116T, 190F, 571, 916, 916F

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