Antico Napoletana: Atlanta’s Best Pizzeria

Antico Pizza is located just off Northside Drive on Hemphill Avenue. Photo: Charlie Warren

While some students at Pace Academy might be satisfied with mediocre pizza like Domino’s or Papa John’s, other students crave a pizza more delicious. For those who fall in the second category, look no further than Antico Pizza Napoletana, as I, along with several other food critics, have determined it to be the best pizza restaurant in Atlanta.

This local, family style restaurant is just one of several that make up Atlanta’s “Little Italia.” This idea of offering a taste of authentic Italian eats was brought to life by Giovanni Di Palma in 2009 and has been expanding ever since. Thus far, Giovanni’s Little Italia includes the restaurants Antico Pizza, Gio’s Chicken Italiano & Maccheroni, Caffe Antico and Bar Amalfi, all of which produce delicious Italian classics. Antico has gained so much popularity that it also has a satellite location inside the Atlanta Braves’ Suntrust Park, offering baseball goers a slice of Italian heaven.

While the tucked away corner of Antico is usually packed with people admiring the interesting murals and art along the brick walls, the inside remains the site of all the activity. The ambiance is quite unique, as the dining takes place right next to the three brick-ovens used to cook the pizza. The entire kitchen is situated in front of several communal benches where customers sit alongside each other as they eat, enjoying a show as their pizzas are made just a few feet away. This is just one of the unique components that makes this lively Italian eatery the perfect location for any kind of outing, from family dinners to romantic dates.

However, as it is with any pizza restaurant, the food makes or breaks the establishment. And while the atmosphere is quite particular, it is the fresh, hand-made pizza that sets Antico apart from all others. Cooking in the traditional Italian style, with ingredients imported from Italy in order to maximize authenticity, the Antico chefs are able to create a flavor rarely seen in most pizzerias.

Antico offers several options for topping combinations, as well as an option to create your own pizza, with any toppings you so desire. I decided to get the “Dia Vola” style pizza which was topped with spicy hams and peppers, as well as several dollops of fresh mozzarella cheese. I highly recommend this style pizza if you have not already tried it, but I warn you that the peppers can be quite hot. Additionally, every pizza made in the brick ovens has a perfect ratio of dough to sauce to cheese, creating the perfect dish that rewards the taste buds.

An evening out at Antico could not be complete without a short walk across the street to Caffe Antico. The small cafe contains several flavors of phenomenal Italian gelato that will, without a doubt, satisfy your sweet tooth. If you have not already taken a trip down to Giovanni’s Little Italia, I highly recommend a visit as Antico Napoletana houses some of the best pizza I have ever had.

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