Internationally acclaimed pizza in Atlanta, GA? Yep...it exists. Italy's own Festa Della Pizza, held annually in the birthplace of pizza near Naples, recognized Antico for its award-winning take on tradition earlier this fall, naming it as a Top in Class pizzeria. Recommended by one of UD's colleagues (who lives in the area), we all converged on this renowned palace of pizza on Black Friday. Speaking of Black Friday, if you don't like fighting crowds for bargains, I'm guessing you won't enjoy fighting crowds for the limited communal seating in the "dining" room of this establishment (more than a couple of brawls were narrowly aborted as diners jockeyed for spots at the indoor picnic tables almost before they were fully vacated by their occupants). I haven't had the stamina for that since my college days, but I will admit that the pizza was exceptional and extremely reminiscent of what we enjoyed when touring the Amalfi coast (just outside of Naples) a couple of years ago. That said, I got a sense that the pies were being rushed out of the wood-fired ovens to meet the demands of the relentless queue of gaping maws, as the crusts were not as crispy as I expected, nor were the cheesy centers as warm...but I can be a pizza bitch like that.
Since we arrived about an hour before our dining companions and I was already famished, we ordered a couple of beverages at the counter (yes, you place your order from the limited menu at a counter, you are given a number, and the food finds you when it's ready) along with what we thought would be a small snack to tide us over. Because it was barely noon (the overwhelming crush of humanity didn't arrive until after 1:00) we were able to nibble on the mastadoneon cheese calzone which was presented while perched on stools flanking a very narrow bar in the entry foyer of the pizzeria. This monster was quite the rustic beast, with mozzarella, ricotta, and fresh basil oozing from its golden brown exterior. Marinara sauce for dipping was tangy and delish.
Once the rest of the gang showed up, we placed our pizza order for reals (and this is no Pizza Hut...you will not be given a lot of options as far as doctoring up your selection to suit your personal taste). The Margherita (with San Marzano tomato, bufala mozzarella, basil, mushrooms and garlic) was a vegetarian's dream come true.
The carnivores in our party feasted on the Capricciosa...more of that fine, wood-fired crust, swiped with marinara and tantalizingly embellished with mushrooms, artichokes, prosciutto cotto and bufala moz.
Final Word: While pizza here is off the chain, the overall dining experience leaves a lot to be desired. This woman is too old, slow and crowd-hating to battle for a place to park my arse and enjoy my slice. Recommended nonetheless.
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.