Our home city of Sarasota, (also home to many a meat-and-potatoes snowbird from the Midwest), is not exactly ripe for quality cuisine. So, in our weekend travels, we make it a point to explore higher-end fare whenever possible. This week’s theme featured a quest for the best pizza in Atlanta, and we struck Neopolitan gold on our first try when we tested out Antico on our way through Atlanta toward Blue Ridge.
An authentic and delightful trip to Naples in Atlanta’s midtown, Antico Pizza Napoletano has a limited menu in English and Italian, with prices in both Euros and dollars. Long lines abound as you order from a counter, then scope out your space at one of only a few large communal tables or simple barstool seats along the windows. While some may complain about its limited seating, this place seems to attract a cult-like following for a reason: In part because it’s just so damn good and in part because it’s pretty special to watch chefs race to prepare everything so quickly in one of three Naples-made, 10,000 pound Refractory Sorrento Stone ovens, designed to perfectly distribute the 900 degree heat required of great Neopolitan pizza.
True to form, Antico’s incredibly delicious pizza comes out with requisite speed, delivered in wax paper on large cookie sheets.
Antico is what it is. It’s not an Italian restaurant that serves pizza. They’re specialists who pride themselves on imports, while locally sourcing the freshest ingredients like basil, etc. The dough – the most important part – has flawless texture with a delightful airy crust. It is flavorful, moist, not soggy (see Fritti’s review), with each slice containing a delicious dollop of Mozzarella, surrounded by a robustly red and ridiculously delicious Marzano tomato sauce. We shared a mushroom and onion pie, and each bite was flavorful without being the least bit soggy or oily, even in the center.
It takes great attention to the details to get an A in Pizza from Martin, so to find Antico on our first quest for the best was rather remarkable. In hindsight, we wish we would have taken more pictures of the pie, but it was so delicious the slices disappeared faster than Bethany could power up her iPhone.
Follow up note: Beware should you choose to use the one and only restroom. It's rarely stocked, always dirty, and good luck not finding a line for it.
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