Our return to Antica Pizzeria Fratelli RICCI EST! EST! EST! was rather disappointing, I am sorry to say. We’ve eaten here four times prior (see prior review here), and while not the very best pizza in Roma, we found it good and the location offers a diversion from our usual haunts.
This visit there were no crowds, no sense of fun. It was a dreary atmosphere, despite vestiges of Christmas still present and the still lovely old-fashioned decor. The waiters were welcoming enough and pleasant, but missing was a sense of celebration, the pleasure of dining out with friends on a Friday night. There was no joie di vivre.
Certainly no help was the pizza this time. Our recollections are of a crust that was substantial enough to not get soggy, but tender enough to eat. This is a minimum expectation. The crust on this evening’s offerings was not chewy like our favorites at Dar Poeta and La Pratolina. Instead, it was tough and thick, hard to cut with a knife, and smaller in circumference than we usually encounter. (I have since learned although they have a wood-fired oven, they cook their pizzas in pans, resulting in a perfectly round product.)
Perhaps there is a new pizzaiola but it’s a terrible mistake. Maybe they can fool the tourist crowd, but I suspect the reason patronage was down this evening was because the Italians are no longer coming here. There were some Italians present, but not in the numbers we have seen.
While the ingredients on the pizzas were fine and fresh, the overall quality has suffered because of the crust, and really, it is all about the crust in Italian pizza. Everyone can have a bad night but I am downgrading Est! Est! Est! We will no longer patronize it.
Pizza Quality: 1 This is the first “1” I have given out. It is really a shame to have to do this. Perhaps if I had a scale of 1-5, I’d give it a 2, but no way is it on par with the 2s I have handed out previously.
Service: 3 Nice waiters, efficient, and enough English spoken to make ordering easy.
Ambiance: 2 Nice dining rooms, tables not overly crowded; colorful, warm, welcoming. But tonight it just was not going on: no sense of fun and enjoyment.
Total Points: 6
Returnability: DNR – Do not return under any circumstances. Mistakes were made; do not compound them.