Eating at Antico

Antico Pizza is a little pizza joint nestled in Midtown, pretty close to Georgia Tech. Antico prides itself on serving Neopolitan style pizza, true to the grain. We went over for dinner this week. It is a real small place situated on Hemphill Avenue. There isn’t much parking available but a nice policeman showed us where we could park on the street.

For a Friday evening, Antico was bustling but not too busy. The order line was short and it moved fast. There is limited seating but the ambience doesn’t exactly say fine dining, so people finish their pizzas and clear out fast. I think we were in and out in less than half an hour ourselves. The crowd is young and hip, many students and young professionals included. I think Antico is a BYOB place; I saw people bringing in bottles of wine. The seating is almost communal, you share long wooden benches with other patrons. Rolls of brown paper are placed at the tables along with bunches of forks and spoons (or knives?). Don’t look for plates, there are none! You can either choose to make a plate out of the brown paper or simply fold the pizza sideways and eat it. Didn’t I say that it isn’t fine dining? That being said, Antico has a cheerful atmosphere, people are talking and laughing. And I am a fan of communal dining. Many years ago, P and I dined at Bhagat Tarachand, the veritable institution in South Mumbai, famed for its delicious vegetarian Indian cooking and its shared seating arrangements. Simple food, cooked in the age-old authentic style, eaten by thousands of families over the years, sharing tables and sitting next to each other… surely, there is something to be said for tradition?

Back to Antico… unless you are familiar with Italian culinary terms, it would be good to look up online what ‘sopressata,’ ‘salsiccia,’ ‘carciofi’ etc. mean so that you don’t end up ordering the wrong pizzas!

What did we get at Antico? Pizza Verdura and Pizza Pomodorini. Verdura has a topping of broccoli rabe, mushroom, pomodorini and garlic. Pomodorini comes topped with fresh cherry vesuvian tomato, bufala, garlic and basil. Seasonings (P picked them up from the counter) included red chilli pepper flakes, minced garlic, sweet-spicy pickled red peppers.

The pizzas arrived fast, each one on a large metal tray. If there is one thing that I believe a pizza should be it, it is HOT. The perfect pizza is hot to the point that the cheese is runny and melting, and the crust is lightly chewy without being too crisp or crunchy. These pizzas came at the perfect temperature but they ran cold quite soon, I thought. Maybe it had do with the sizes.

Verdura had a slight hint of bitterness, possibly due to the baked rabe flavor. P had asked if they could make it for us sans mushrooms but they said that they couldn’t. I wonder why… The pomodorini tomatoes were perfectly baked on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside. I also liked the slight sharpness lent by the baked garlic. The pizza is large enough to suffice for two hungry people. Ok, not if they have an appetite like the kind P has!

It is worth noting that the cheese used in this pizza is very unlike the kind you find at the regular pizza joints. It is very light and sits easy in my tummy. Not my usual experience after eating a pizza, I assure you.

I must acknowledge that it is most likely that the buffalo mozzarella used in this pizza contains rennet. I think most cheeses imported from Italy are not strictly vegetarian.

Pomodorini is a simple yet delicious pizza. Unfortunately, the taste of basil was lost. Maybe the high heat of the wood-fired ovens destroyed it?

Each pizza cost $20. They were delicious alright but I don’t think they justified the cost. Light cheese, fresh ingredients, bursting with flavor – ok, ok. But a tad expensive, I thought.

Dessert? We skipped the delicious-looking cannolis and semi-freddos displayed so attractively near the order counter. Another visit needs to be made to sample them! What we had instead was delicious Southern-inspired gelato! Details in the next post…

Antico Pizza
1093 Hemphill Ave
Atlanta, GA 30318
404-724-2333
www.anticopizza.it
Antico Pizza  on Urbanspoon

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