Every evening on the way home from work, I see a long queue Italians fighting to get into this simple looking Pizzeria on Viale di Trastevere (I say simple, I have actually heard it refered to as a funeral parlour and an operating theater). In my review of Sette Oche in Altalena, I spoke of my previously held belief of following Italians to restaurants, Pizzeria ai Marmi was yet more proof of how wrong I was!
The queue in front of the restaurant is truly a mystery worthy of Holmes, Poirot or even Scoobie doo. I am not sure whether it is merely a ‘following the crowds’ or a ‘coveting thy neighbours wife’ phenomenon, but why people wait for hours on end to eat here is beyond me.
I went with a group of 7 friends, knowledgeably leaving early enough in the evening to get a table outside without much of a queue. Unfortunately 3 of them were late as their bus driver was lost, yes that is right, their bus driver got lost, pulled up, and told the passengers to walk. The tardiness of my fellow friends was most amusing to us, but apparently not to the waiter. I can only describe his disdain and superior attitude by comparing him to a Parisian. In Italy you can expect slow service, but it usually comes with a smile, at Pizzeria ai Marmi there was neither. 40 minutes later our cold pizzas were slapped on the table, and as my high expectations for this sought after restaurant lost their last hope, I looked around and my neighbouring tables filled with full and happy Italians and thought “are you mad!”.
I have since spoken with my Roman colleagues of my experience at Pizzeria ai Marmi in order to verify that the waiter did not have a personal vendetta against my table. Interestingly, they all agreed with my assessment, and told me that the popularity was due to the supplì (mozzarella covered in breadcrumbed rice, deep-fried). I can’t help but think that as the pizza is poor and the suplì is super, it should surely be renamed a suppleria?
I would not make this restaurant a priority were I a tourist, but were I an expact neither would I write it off. I am still certain the secret to ai Marmi goes beyond the supplì, so if you discover it please, enlighten me!
[Feature Image not my own – see http://www.hiddenpalette.com/pizzeria-ai-marmi-trastevere-rome/%5D