My name is Luigi Roditis, and I was born and raised on the Westside. My parents are Greek and Italian immigrants, and I spent most of my summers growing up visiting family in Europe (tough, I know…). I consider Rome my second home. The hardest part about coming home to Los Angeles was always knowing how long I’d have to wait before I could eat good pizza again. Now, all I want is for LA to have high-quality, authentic Roman pizza at fair prices.
This is why I decided to open il Romanista. Not just so I can have the incredible pizza al taglio I find in Rome, but to be able to share it with my fellow Angelenos. You’ll find me be behind the counter serving and cooking up pizzas every day, so come say hi and learn more about what makes our pizza unlike anything else you’ll find in LA.
A lot, actually. All good pizza al taglio is made with dough that has been allowed to mature and ferment for 36 to 72 hours using a technique called cold fermentation, where the pizza dough is kept refrigerated to slow down the yeast fermentation process. This allows more time for other chemical reactions to develop, which results in dough that matures with more complex flavors and a more robust gluten network.*
This enhanced gluten structure becomes important as the pizza cooks — it locks in the carbon dioxide created by the yeast during fermentation, allowing the dough to become fluffy and light. If you’ve ever eaten a chewy, dense piece of pizza that was tough to bite through, it was because that dough wasn’t given enough time to properly ferment and mature.
*At room temperature, these chemical reactions occur at a slower rate than the fermentation process. The yeast completes the fermentation of the dough, but the dough can’t mature within the same timeframe. This results in a dough that lacks good flavor and won’t rise well when baked.