Since opening in Rome’s Trionfale district in November 2012, Panificio Bonci has been in my regular rotation of carb sources. I drop in for pizza by the slice, pizzette, and bread whenever I’m in the neighborhood. But Gabriele Bonci’s eponymous bakery, which sells a range of sweet and savory items, isn’t just a place to purchase gluten-laced baked goods; the counter also displays roasted vegetables, rice filled tomatoes (in season–this is a summer thing), and chicken, each sold by the portion to take away. There’s nothing particularly glamorous about eating a drumstick on the sidewalk outside (like Pizzarium, Bonci’s landmark pizza by the slice joint nearby, the Panificio doesn’t a proper seating area nor table service), but that never stops me from digging into what must be the best chicken on the continent. It’s so delicous–perfectly tender and decidedly savory–that it makes me forget the porchetta that used to grace Panificio Bonci’s counter and vanished about six months back. Yes, I realize this sounds like crazy talk, but Bonci’s chicken defies logic.
Not down to join the sloppy world of dark meat sidewalk dining? Then grab a quick slice. The toppings are generally simpler and less numerous than the abundant creative combos you’ll encounter at Pizzarium, but the classics are always satisfying–potato, tomato (spicy and otherwise), margherita–and when I can’t get over to Bonci’s beloved pizza institution, Panficio Bonci’s slices make a fine substitute. And as an added bonus, Panificio often has pizza con la mortazza (mortadella sandwiches on pizza bianca).
On the rare occasions I make it to Trionfale around breakfast time, I opt for a flaky and butter cornetto, one of the few examples of quality cornetti in town where margarine-based pastries abound. At holiday times, there are buttery leavened cakes like colombe at Easter and panettone at Christmas. These often account for a quarter of my luggage volume when returning home for the holidays–and they’re worth every square centimeter.
Via Trionfale 36
Monday-Wednesday 08:30am–3:00pm & 5:00-8:30pm
NB: The bakery keeps Sunday hours during the holidays and sometimes closes before posted closing times.
RIP pizza con la porchetta. At least Panificio Bonci isn’t vegetarian anymore.