Antico Pizza, Atlanta, GA

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I am not a pizza critic.  I find most chain delivery pizzas perfectly edible.  That said, I do prefer the aromas and ambience of most pizza restaurants.  Or, I just like to eat out.

A coworker found THE best pizza restaurant in Atlanta, which compares favorably with the BEST pizza restaurants in the northeast, from which he comes.  Mhmm.  He eats out a lot, and I generally respect his opinions.

A kid, oops, young adult, I hired, ventured downtown on a weekend jaunt and reported to me that he found THE BEST pizza in Atlanta, which was almost as good as THE BEST pizza he’s ever had, during his one trip to Manhattan.  He’s from UCLA, that being the Ugliest Corner of Lower Alabama.  His opinions… taken with the spirit in which they’re intended.

 

Still, that’s two recommendations for exceptional pizza, at a location very near to the GA Tech campus at which my daughter attends.  Therefore, with the wife, the son, the college sophomore, and her boyfriend, off we go on the adventure.

Antico Pizza doesn’t look like much from the outside.  Parking is limited, and it’s located on a street where Tech students are regularly liberated of their personal belongings if they happen to be walking after 11 p.m.

But we didn’t go after 11 p.m.  Upon arrival, we found the pizza to be fairly crowded, and we just went with the flow.  First, to the counter where upon the cashier was very helpful in recommending their more popular pizzas for first timers. 

We ordered a Margherita pizza, with pepperoni for more substance, and a San Gennaro, which included red peppers and sausage.   Pizzas are one size fits all, which summed 2 for the 5 of us.  Beverages, unfortunately, are limited to overpriced, undersized colas and other bottled drinks.  In any case, it’s a simple process.

With others behind, we move forward, following others, past one large family dining style table into the larger room… where there are more family style tables.  We stand against the wall, in a line of sorts, waiting for a spot for 5 to open.  Before this happens, a lady approaches with a baking pan with our two pizzas, looks over the crowded tables, and leads us to our table, which heretofore might have been assumed to be a prep table.    There are no chairs, but the manager (owner?) politely points out the “VIP” colored on a corner, and… it’s true.  We dine while watching the pizzas being made, literally a couple feet away.

This includes a bit of kneading, a hand toss, a smattering of the base, and some of the freshest tasting toppings I’ve ever had on a pizza, plus a lot of good humor amongst the kitchen staff.  That’s important as there are no dividing walls between those preparing and those eating.  Instant “atmosphere.”  It’s rather interesting to watch the chef as he uses a long handled “peel” to quickly turn the pizza within the wood fired oven, gracefully warming the dough and lifting it to the upper reaches with regular motions.  They’re assembled and cooked in just a few minutes.

Much care is given to preserving the Napoletana traditions, studied by the owners in Italy.  Everything seems suitably authentic, less a foreign country and a foreign language.  Those going should probably anticipate spending $12 or so per person, depending whether or not you buy a drink (a cup of water is free).  With our surprisingly hungry crew, perfect hindsight suggests spending even more, should you bring along your daughter’s 6’6” boyfriend.

4 of 5 STARS

 


(It may be 5 starts, but I still hope there’s better out there).

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