A Sicilian Appetite for Rome

My recent excursion takes me to Mizzica on Via Catanzaro, a bar in Rome that is famous amongst the locals for its Catanese (Cah-tah-NE-zeh) food (food from Catania in Sicily). The bar is situated outside the center of Rome but the metro stop for Bologna will take you right there. Imagine high quality good eats at a more than reasonable price. There is always someone behind the counter to greet you with a smile and the homemade goods will put you in a trance! It was very difficult for me to choose just 2 or 3 three items…so I went back 3 times in one week. I worked hard and did my research so I could share my findings.

First, place an order at the counter, take the ticket to the cash register (cash only!) and then return to the counter to pick up the order. The next challenge is finding a table to sit outside. This is a self-serve restaurant at its best and because there is such a high turn over rate the food is always top quality; street food at its finest!

Their savory delights are spectacular. We sampled arancini tradizionali (traditional arancini) made with ragu, cheese and green peas surrounded by saffron rice, coated in a batter and then deep-fried. Next there was the unforgettable accartocciata (ah-car-toh-CHA-ta). There are many varieties of accartocciata but my favorite was alle melanzane. The dough base is a combination of a pizza dough and savory brioche. The filling consists of a thin layer of tomato, prosciutto, mozzarella and roasted eggplant. So what does accartocciata mean? Literally it means something that is crumpled or scrunched up like a sheet of paper.

L to R : arancini, accartocciata al würstel and accartocciata alle melanzane

Next we find the pastry section filled with cannoli, candied fruits and almond cookies. But my favs were the individual portions of cassata, iris and the panzerotto alla ricotta. Traditionally, cassata contains candied fruits but their version is a bit different, meaning it is sans candied fruit. The individual portions from the outside look like a charlotte. It has a sponge cake base, filled with sweetened ricotta then coated with a sugary icing and a candied cherry.

R to L: cassata, pistachio almond cookie and lemon almond cookie

The iris (EE-ris)is what I call a chocolate bomb. It’s huge in size but I could eat one all by myself without thinking twice about it. It’s as big as my hand with fingers spread wide apart. The dough for this dessert isn’t too sweet, as to balance with the chocolate pudding center. It’s fried and covered with breadcrumbs that have been toasted in butter.


Last but not least, there’s the panzerotto alla ricotta which is simply a fried, sweet-yeast dough filled with freshly sweetened ricotta. A layer of regular and powdered sugar are sprinkled on top for a crunchy texture. For Sicilian street food at its best in Rome, Mizzica is the place to be!

Mizzica 2, Via Catanzaro, 30

00161 Rome, Italy

Clockwise: iris, sweet bread, panzerotto alla ricotta and accartocciata alle melanzane


About Rachel Steckler

Culinarian, Slow Food Advocate and Jazz composer...living in Brooklyn
This entry was posted in An American in Turin, Italia, Restaurants in Rome, Street Food in Italy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A Sicilian Appetite for Rome

  1. 0am.de says:

    I appreciate your piece of work, regards for all the interesting posts .

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