I tend to avoid writing about restaurants that other people write about. That’s just common sense. You don’t need me if you’ve got, for example, Eat Rome. The exception is when a restaurant is 1). awesome 2). in my neighbourhood. Then I feel proprietary. One such is La Gatta Mangiona, a deservedly famous pizzeria just a few steps from my house. By the way, in case if I’ve not said it enough already: Monteverde rocks and there’s really no need to go anywhere else.
La Gatta Mangiona means ‘cat eater’ in the sense, I believe, of a cat who eats, as opposed to someone who eats cats. This belief is based on the fact that there are lots of cute drawings of cats with fat stomachs around the place and also why would you name a restaurant after someone who eats cats? That could really put a cat lover off his/her meal. To eliminate confusion, I usually just refer to it as the Greedy Cat, which is a fine name for a restaurant and, as Dave Barry used to say, also for a rock band. Another thing: the word for cat is normally masculine (gatto) but here it’s feminine (gatta) making it the Greedy She-cat, which is an even better name for a rock band.
The Greedy She-cat has a very extensive menu featuring many types of pizza, a few pastas and the odd steak or bit of salad. But the pizza’s the thing. The crust doesn’t quite reach Neapolitan heights of puffiness but it’s a far cry from the usual Roman thin, flat crust. The fillings are a bit more fanciful than the usual as well. Be sure to check out the specials on the board. Or better yet, check out the specials in advance on the restaurant’s website or on their new iPhone/iPad app. The couple trying to enjoy their meal while people are scanning the specials board just over their heads will thank you.
I’m a fairly adventurous eater when trying out new places but with restaurants I love, I am a creature of habit, rarely straying from the tried and true. At the Greedy She-cat, I always start out with the deep-fried mixed vegetables, a big bowl of peppers, carrots, zucchini and potatoes, supplemented by an order of fried sliced artichokes. Sooo good. Last time I went, we also got some croquettes that involved mushing up potatoes, cod, peas, mozzarella and mint. A little odd but nice. Take a look.
Moving on to the main event. My most recent pizza was made with broccoli rabe, sharp provolone and porchetta, a highly spiced super moist boneless pork roast and, on sandwiches, a much beloved Italian street food. In my very Italian hometown of Philadelphia, cheesesteaks get all the press but it’s the roast pork sandwiches (featuring the same ingredients as my pizza) that you dream about at night (and without having to deal with all the cheesesteak grease and debate over Cheese Whiz versus provolone).
Jane had her pizza with capicollo (sort of like prosciutto but made with pork shoulder or neck; prosciutto comes from the leg), broccoli and mozzarella.
The Upstairs Vegetarian and her mother split one with mushrooms (boring!). The desserts are also very good, being mostly of the mousse and semifreddo variety. I’m usually too replete but if you happen to have a hollow leg, they are worth a try.
Some people – I won’t say who – might moan about having to travel to the hinterlands to eat at the Greedy Cat but that’s nonsense. It’s a 15 minute trip from the center of Rome via the 44 bus or my beloved 8 tram. Get off at the (awesome) outdoor market at San Giovanni di Dio. Warning: once you see Monteverde, you might never want to go back.
Booking is a must. It’s super popular. La Gatta Mangiona, Via Ozanam 30. Rome. 06 5346702. Closed Mondays.