Is this Italy’s best pizza maker?

A food blogger extols the creations of Rome’s award-winning pizzaiolo Pier Daniele Seu

Pizza and fritti at Seu Pizza Illuminati
Pizza and fritti at Seu Pizza Illuminati

Pier Daniele Seu is a pizzaiolo par excellence. It’s a statement backed up by the 50 Top Pizza Awards, which earlier this year in Naples ranked Seu in the top spot. Seu, hailing from Rome, does not go in for the typical thin-crust pizza of his native city. You could say his take is half Neapolitan (for the well-alveolated, pronounced crust) and half Roman (for the crunchiness of the base), and peppered with an audacious combination of toppings. Particularly memorable is the Gricia pizza with cured guanciale pork, pecorino cream, red onion chutney and coffee powder, which he created for Gazometro 38 restaurant in Rome’s Testaccio neighbourhood.

The restaurant is located at the southern end of Trastevere
The restaurant is located at the southern end of Trastevere

It was here I first tasted one of Seu’s signature doughy yet air-bubbled pizzas three years ago, and have since paid regular visits to his Mercato Centrale stand in Termini train station, and, when it opened last year, his first standalone pizzeria. Seu Pizza Illuminati, located at the southern end of Trastevere, a stone's throw from Porta Portese, swaps Roman rustic style for shiny surfaces and a bright-pink neon sign

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But the name of the game here is pizza, and I’d recommend the Margherita (€8) to appreciate the quality of the dough, made with a blend of two different types of flour: Padova’s Farina Le 5 Stagioni and one from Molino Mariani in the province of Ancona. The secret to its lightness is in the long leavening (30 hours at a controlled temperature), which prevents the alveoli (tiny air bubbles in the dough) from imploding. Other standouts include the Parmigiana (€11), a pizza version of the classic Italian aubergine dish, and the Andria-Reggio Calabria (€12), an homage to two southern Italian regions: Puglia (with the stracciatella di bufala) and Calabria (the ‘nduja sausage). 

Pier Daniele Seu peppers his pizza with an audacious combination of toppings
Pier Daniele Seu peppers his pizza with an audacious combination of toppings

The fritti are worth a look-in too. The supplì classico (€2.50), a risotto ball with fior di latte, basil and Parmigiano, was seasoned and cooked to perfection in its crispy breadcrumb shell, while the lingotto (from €4.50) – a trademarked creation by chef Mattia Lattanzio – is an elevated take on the potato croquette, and deliciously moreish. 

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Giulia Mulè is a food and travel writer based in London who is passionate about sharing food photography on her Instagram feed (@mondomulia) and blog Mondomulia (mondomulia.com). Originally from Rome, Mulè has spent more than a decade living in London and travelling the world. In her spare time, she organises brunch meet-ups with @IGBrunchClub and fundraising events with @CreatingForGood – a collective of Instagrammers who share their creative skills to raise money for selected charities.

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