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30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Antico Pizza Napoletana

Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

When Giovanni di Palma first opened Antico Pizza Napoletana five week ago, his intention was to prepare  Neapolitan-style pizzas for a mostly carryout market. He would half cook the pies, encase them in plastic sleeves and send them off to retail outlets with instructions on how to finish baking them.

And, oh yeah, he’d do a small carryout business. His odd location on the West Side by Georgia Tech could probably attract a few students with munchies.

And then?

“The first night these three girls ordered a pizza and had a picnic in the parking lot!” says the incredulous pizzaiolo. Soon, the ever enterprising tastemaker Blissful Glutton published a rave on her blog.

Within days di Palma had cleared off his dough prep table for diners. Then he brought in chairs. He set up a communal table in the kitchen, right by his three imported wood-fired pizza ovens. Then he built additional counter space.

The lines kept coming as word got out about the pizza. So di Palma ordered four more communal tables, yet to arrive. Now he’s looking at the building up the street as a production facility as he transforms this space into a full-service pizzeria. He has five more pizza ovens on back order and a liquor license in the works.

So, what is the big deal with this pizza?

For starters, it has primo ingredients you can taste — San Marzano tomatoes, Italian fior di latte and bufula mozzarella, wild oregano and snow-white, finely milled “Tipo 00″ flour from di Palma’s grandfather’s home town in Italy. The pizzas emerge from the ovens puffed and blistered and spotted with black char that flits across your tongue with the bittersweet taste of fire.

The breakout star pie has been the “San Gennaro” made with fat, fennel-y nuggets of sausage and the most amazing sweet and tangy pickled peppers. The pizzas cost about $20 and seem to feed about 2 1/2 people per. 

The best table is the one in the kitchen, which you can reserve with a $50 deposit on your credit card. B.Y.O. From there you have a fantastic view of the pizzas emerging, steaming, from the ovens on the ends of 6-foot-long peels. 

In the kitchen

In the kitchen

I’m not going to get into any more detail now because I’ve got a full profile of this restaurant in the works for the week after next, and dining critic Meridith Ford Goldman will offer up a formal review.

I just wanted to let you all know about this place in case it hasn’t come on your radar yet. I can’t wait to see what it will develop into.

Have you been? Did you like the crust, which is chewy, stretchy and typically Neapolitan?

26 comments Add your comment

Erin

November 8th, 2009
7:32 am

Speak of the devil, this was today’s review from John Kessler

DCS

November 8th, 2009
7:49 am

The San Gennaro is stands out with it’s sweet red peppers. The crust delivers with it’s light texture and the right amount of blackened crust.
When Antico first opened they had a large communal table that you ate standing. To me it added to the experience. Since,they have added stools around the table and entrance.
Some have complained that the pizza does not travel well. An oven at 300 degrees works for a reheat for me.
The best pizza in the city.

Sam

November 8th, 2009
8:18 am

Pies on Pizza in Lovejoy and Fayetteville has great pizza. The crust is great. Give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

caponata

November 8th, 2009
9:04 am

John, to answer your question yes I have been multiple times and find it to be amazing pizza. I, like you, had to step back and ponder the crust because the toppings are not an issue, hands down the best atlanta has been given. The crust has chewy texture that reflects the naples style perfectly. This style is much preferred (in my mind) over the crispy and hard or soft and moist. We finally are getting some great niche foods in town that are not Buford Highway related. To bad we cant seem to spread the support, i.e. Via Elisa.

Matt

November 8th, 2009
9:13 am

John, YES I have been. I had the Diavalo (sp?) and ate almost the entire thing in one sitting by myself. (For shame, I know). It was heaven. Can’t wait to come with friends and family to show them truly world class pizza. Oh, and the slices I did not eat, heated up fairly well in the oven the next day. Mmmmmmmmmmm, pizza.

[...] Read more: 30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Antico Pizza Napoletana | Food and More … [...]

joe

November 8th, 2009
9:10 pm

good call Kessler but 2 1/2 ppl, I downed one myself and I weigh all of 155lbs., so I’d say max 2 ppl. At least they don’t charge an extra $5 for buffala mozz like some want to be’s do. Good review though

John Kessler

November 9th, 2009
9:21 am

I’m impressed, Joe. I’m at my breaking point after 3 slices.

Sean

November 9th, 2009
9:29 am

don’t listen to joe – kessler is right – pizza is good for 2-2.5 normal people. I mean congrats on eating 1 yourself, but I could never do that. guy/girl date 1 pizza is about right, might have a piece or two left. def more filling than fritti or varasano’s.

RK

November 9th, 2009
10:04 am

This is the best pizza I’ve had since Pizza Bianco in AZ–the crust is really unique when compared to other Atlanta pizza joints and as many of you have said, the quality ingredients take the flavor profile to another level. Stumbling across the “table in the kitchen” experience was just a blast—it will be intersting to watch how this restaurant, with few seats and no alcohol, evolves as their popularity goes through the roof. I think I need to get a pie for lunch now!!

Nina Rubin

November 9th, 2009
12:04 pm

It’s not just the pizza that’s outstanding, try the calzone!

Jared

November 10th, 2009
10:32 am

This is the best pizza I have had in town by far!! Can’t say enough about it and how similar it is to real pizza in Naples. The San Marzanos are amazing and the entire staff is as friendly as can be!

mm

November 10th, 2009
5:02 pm

this is by far the best pizza i’ve had outside of naples! sooooo delicious, i’m already a regular!

CGM

November 11th, 2009
5:38 am

Group of 4 ate on Saturday. First customers of the day. Enjoyed the pizza and the desserts! We’ll be back:) Worth the drive!

esa

November 11th, 2009
3:21 pm

Went last night. Outstanding. My new standard take out food.

Michigander

November 11th, 2009
3:44 pm

Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmmm. Best pizza I’ve tasted outside of NYC. Period.

philip d

November 12th, 2009
9:11 am

I’ve been three times and agree, the pizza is delicious; however, my last dine-in experience was seriously soggy. There were some early signs of this on my first two experiences. Someone suggested taking the pizza home and crisping it up in the oven, but I love the dine-in experience. Any suggestions?

falcon

November 12th, 2009
10:39 am

The pizza is good, not great. The toppings are extremely fresh although I think there is too much going on with many of the pies. Crust is frankly doughy and a bit undercooked at times (despite a seemingly good char) and lends a heavy character to the pizza. The food blog lemmings have jumped on this one a bit prematurely.

bogiesmom

November 13th, 2009
1:13 pm

Went a couple of days ago and absolutely fell in love with the place. I got very excited about Verrasanos when it first opened and think they have very good pizza, but this pizza just blew me away. I told them when I went in that it was my first time and after reading all the comments on the blogs, I had very high expectations. Wow – I was not disappointed. And while I was by myself and ordered the pizza to go, I had to sit down at the communal table to eat at least one piece right out of the oven – I am so glad I did and thoroughly enjoyed talking to the couple sitting next to me. Of course, we were talking about how great it was to finally have really good pizza places in Atlanta and how this rates with some of the best in NYC. The staff was so friendly, too – I felt like I had been transported to Italy. And the pastries are to die for!! Now if they would only serve wine, I would be a truly happy camper!

Tavolini

November 13th, 2009
11:30 pm

Hey–we ate there and posted a review, also linked back to yours! GREAT pizza joint!
a href=”http://tavolini.blogspot.com/2009/11/more-variations-on-my-favorite-foods.html”> Antico

Tavolini

November 13th, 2009
11:31 pm

Uhh…I don’t think that hyperlink worked. Check out http://www.tavolini.blogspot.com Sorry!

Joy

November 15th, 2009
6:36 pm

Went over the weekend expecting great things based on all the positive reviews. Though the ingredients were top notch, the crust on our San Gennaro pizza was completely soggy…and we ate in house, meaning we were served a soggy pizza. Has anyone aside from myself and Philip D had this experience?

[...] also included Antico as one of my “30 Restaurants in 30 Days” [...]

Montgomery

November 20th, 2009
11:20 pm

This pizza joint is A-Mazing! Seriously. I ate there for the first time yesterday and have been craving their pizzas ever since. I called at 11pm tonight to see if their dough had run out yet. The owner answered and called me crazy for calling so late but in the end I think he was impressed I’m already a devoted fan. I’ll be back in the morning Antico :)

Jay H.

November 22nd, 2009
11:10 pm

BEST. PIZZA. IN. TOWN !

Steve

November 23rd, 2009
1:31 pm

Ate there on Saturday. Pizza was OK. I agree the ingredients are very good but the crust was very soggy. My kids liked it better warmed over the next day and I have to say I did too. We ate in the kitchen and although the atmosphere was good we felt really rushed.