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Pizza Di Roma

In a word: Even the bad pizza is still pizza.

The specs: #0485 
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp , Pizza DI Roma on Urbanspoon, Trip Advisor, Eat Drink Madison, Daily Dadio, The Culinary Adventures of Jahboh and Tossy.

Addie ate a slice of chicken Parmesan.
Bill B. ate a slice of supreme and a slice of eggplant.
Bryan ate a slice of pepperoni.
JM ate a slice of BBQ chicken and bacon.
Jack ate a slice of spinach-feta.
Jen ate a slice of pepperoni.
Kristine ate a slice of ziti.
Kyle ate a slice of pepperoni & sausage and a slice of caprese.
Nichole ate the penne alla vodka.
Tracy ate a slice of sausage.
We also tried a cannoli and a tiramisu.
The bill was about $6 each.
Addie, Nichole and Tracy gave Pizza Di Roma an A-; JM, Jack, and Jen gave Pizza Di Roma a B+; Bill B. gave Pizza Di Roma a B-; Kyle gave Pizza Di Roma a C+; Kristine gave Pizza Di Roma a C (see our grading rubric).

Latest Pizza Di Roma news and reviews

Pizza di Roma slicesPizza di Roma slices

Pizza di Roma is probably the closest thing you'll find to NY style pizza here in Madison nowadays. Specializing in pies by the slice, their selection is dazzling; Bill noted that more than dozen choices, including several vegetarian options, were on display during our visit, including eggplant, bacon, spinach and more.

Penne alla vodkaPizza di Roma was the most popular stop on our multiplatinum Pizza with the Bloggers Tour. For the balance of the "Pizza" restaurants, we had blanketed our friends and other bloggers to try to get more opinions on pizza joints (and to break up the monotony). Sometimes the number of eaters tells you something; sometimes it doesn't. Most folks agreed PdR was making it on State St. as a New York-style pizza place only because of lack of competition (on this metric Ian's doesn't count). It was tasty but not exceptional. Comments from the crowd: Huge portions; iffy prefab sausage (where applicable); served just slightly above room temperature; maybe fifty cents overpriced.

On the other hand, it did some basics very well, and one diner dubbed it the best cheese slice in Madison. Another said she left the restaurant with a pleasant disposition in all things food-related. We think that's about all you can ask from a restaurant, anyway.

TiramisuThe pasta came highly recommended by another local foodie, and it was good comfort food. Nichole found herself envying the pizza eaters, but the garlic roll made up for that somewhat. Sometimes you just have to get pizza at a place with pizza in the name.

Straying further from the pizza menu for dessert, we found ourselves on considerably shakier ground. While a cannoli wasn't bad, the tiramisu was a crime. Tiramisu is a trifle-type dessert, soft ladyfingers soaked with liqueur and coffee, layered with custard or mascarpone cheese. In other words, it's moist. This execution was more Al Capone than mascarpone. It consisted of dry layers of cake which crumbled under the fork, when the fork could divide it at all. Tracy could only eat two bites of it, it was that bad. 

Overall, though, PdR fed everyone a slice and most were satisfied.  If you need a place to get a slice now that Casa Bianca is shuttered, try it.

Comments

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Maybe it's because I didn't go to the UW, but State St. never feels like anything other than a shopping trip for me (at which longtime Madisonians probably nod bitterly). So it's easy to overlook a lot of the food options there.

I'd never been to PdR before this outing. It was fine because it's pizza (exactly right with the In A Word), but I'm a total pizza apologist and I wouldn't go here again unless asked to by a very close friend or family member.

For me, it's Ian's every time. Interesting that the reviews for both Ian's and PdR end with call-backs to Casa Bianca. I really must have missed something in never getting there.

Ooh, I LOVE their eggplant pizza!

There's nothing I wanted more when I was pregnant than a slice of pepperoni from Pizza di Roma.

When we moved here PdR was a very good slice. The crust was thinner, the ingredients fresher, and the place cleaner. Owners seem to have changed at least once or twice since then, and the slices are definitely too big, too pricey, and hit or miss. Their cheese is still decent, but their clear best is the 'caprese', filled with mozzarella balls and vegetables. It's a near-gourmet slice, and really the only one they offer that competes with Ian's.

"... one diner dubbed it the best cheese slice in Madison."

Well, now I'm going to have to give it a try. I'm a purist when it comes to pizza ... thin flavorful crust, small smear of flavorful sauce and a thin to moderate cheese. Red pepper flakes sprinkled on. Good pizza requires nothing else. Roman Candle fills the bill for me, although Ian's cheese can be quite acceptable (when they have it, which is a whole different issue).

Oh, and as an aside--I'm sorry I didn't really get the chance to say "hey" to any of the other blogging diners. We'll have to catch up some time.

To the pizza purist--you will almost definitely be disappointed with the PdR offering, it is by no means authentic and the cheese they use is abysmal. Stick with Roman Candle.

For me, Pizza di Roma is like the Parthenon:

It tastes really good after a night of bar hopping. It doesn't work as well when I am sober and wanting a meal. There are just too many better choices.

I grew up in Brooklyn (NY that is) and lived over a pizzeria, one of three within easy walking distance and there were several others around the city that I would consider getting on the subway just to go get a slice. I don't consider myself an expert, but I know what I like and it's usually NY style pizza. Casa Bianca was probably as close to decent NY pizza as I've been able to find in Madison, but all their locations went under (what was going on there?) Pizza Di Roma was left as the heir apparent to that style of pizza and for the most part, it was an okay choice. However, lately, I've found it not as satisfying because of many of the reasons stated above, but I still like it over most pizzerias in Madison. I know lots of people love Ians and I think it's okay, but I've have to say, even though it's not really NY style pizza, my favorite slice in town is Roman Candle. First of all, they do have slices, which is a big plus and their ingredients are first rate. I love getting a plain slice with just red peppers. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Rosati's on the west side also has a decent slice.

Can I come along for the Pizza Pit trip? (It is the next in the pizza sequence, right?)

I like reading blogs form the ones that call themselves purist in pizza and eat frozen pizza, never been to Italy, or NY, no idea about what makes a pizza a real pizza, Good luck.

the real tiramisu is soft and you practically scoop it after had been one night in fridge ,any idea from the reviewers how can you keep and serve that tiramisu, I had tried even in best restaurant and suppose to stand in your plate.
I suggest to go to food network and learn some cooking and eating taste before doing reviews like... I do my papers.

Pizza Di Roma is the closest to real pizza that I've been able to find in Madison since moving from the east coast, so kinda shocked you guys gave it such a bad review. By far the best pizza in Madison... Ian's is ok for their fancy combinations, but the rest isn't worth eating, IMO.

re: Casa Bianca and closing

I don't know if it's true or not, but I've always suspected that opening the location at 515 Junction Rd was what did them in. I've seen a dozen restaurants and other businesses come and go from that little plaza in the last five years, even with a high-rise full of hungry office workers next door. I'd be willing to bet the (T Wall Properties) rent is too high.

A second location is a big expenditure for any restaurant and if they're not immediately profitable, the debt can crush the whole operation. I have a friend who went through it with his shop. His first location was popular and making money, and when he got the opportunity for a second location in a different neighborhood he jumped at it. Without the carefully cultivated audience his first location had, the new location tanked and dragged both locations under.

RE: Casa Bianca Closing

Hey [redacted] - if anyone is still interested in this dinosaur thread --

HERE'S the real story. The property across from Embassy apts is owned by one group, headed by cheese brain [redacted]. They refused to renew Casa Bianca lease in that location with a vision of building a huge downtown apartment/condoplex, which didn't get approval/sufficient investment.
You can now find the same CB owner and food at restaurants in Appleton and Fond Du Lac called SAL'S (you do remember PDR used to be SAL'S...right? In fact that's were CB started but that's another story).

Your CB nostalgia is sweet, but Pizza Di Roma uses the same formula and (I think) some of the same pizza makers as Casa did. Plus PDR uses Grande cheese. If that means nothing to you well... "pizza Purist" my grande ass.

Keep your faces stuffed with slices and you won't talk so much gibberish my friends!

Here's something. While Ian's Mac and Cheese pizza is iconic and got them on at least two food network shows, it may not be the best mac and cheese pizza on State Street. If you're ever in a mood for a carb overload, give Pizza Di Roma's Baked Ziti Pizza a try.

I don't think I've got my story entirely straight either Jonny, but I'm pretty sure there are some flaws in your history.

I know a guy who laid out a bunch of the seed money to get Casa B off the ground back in the day, which would have been concurrent with, but independent of the opening of Sal's. I've picked up on some references that lead me to believe that Sal's was probably in some way related to some of the people responsible for the Great Dane, but I'm quite confident it had nothing to do with Casa B.

That's not to say that the owner couldn't have turned around and worked for Sal's after going under, but as far as I understand the two places would have been completely unrelated up til that point.

An article from 2005 that can/will resolve confusion as to whether CB and Sal's are related: http://www.gazetametropol.com/print.php?idt=21419

And there you go. Thanks for the clarification. Amazing that it came via a Polish(? - sorry, ignorant American here) news site.

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