Last week I went out to eat at Antico Pizza with some folks for my friend Chris' birthday. I had had pizza from Antico before, but hadn't ever eaten there. While the pizza was delicious the previous time I had it, eating at the restaurant is a whole experience in and of itself.
Antico is located at 1093 Hemphill Ave NW, which is just northwest of Georgia Tech's campus. Needless to say, it's not the trendiest part of town, but really, who wants to go to a restaurant in the trendiest part of town? The restaurant itself is pretty tiny; it originally only had the small front dining room and was meant to be more of a take-out place, but as more and more people wanted to eat there, the owners decided to add some tables in the kitchen. This is now the best seat in the house. Things are loud and bustling, you have to stand at some of the tables since there aren't any chairs, and the fluorescent lights aren't exactly romantic.
From your table you can watch the cooks making the pizzas, putting them in the ovens (which were reportedly imported from Italy), and pulling out the bubbling, crispy pies, which are cut and carried about 20 steps straight to your table.
Photo from Yelp
All the atmosphere in the world wouldn't make any difference if the food wasn't worth eating. Fortunately, this pizza is worth it. If you're from Atlanta, you may already be familiar with Antico's reputation as, arguably, the best pizza in Atlanta. While some online reviews indicate that the pizza is overrated, I have to disagree. I really do think that it's some of the best in the city. Chris and I ordered the Pizza Bianca (white pizza), pictured below; it was very good, though I would say that it was a little too intense with the amount of ricotta on top. When we ordered from Antico at my office, I got to try several of their other combinations and I remember the San Gennaro being particularly good.
Photo from Yelp
Perhaps one of the best things about the restaurant is that it is BYOB (or BYOW). We stopped off at Hop City (arguably the best beer store in Atlanta, and right around the corner from Antico) beforehand to get the necessary provisions. I picked up a 6-pack of Birra Moretti as I felt like an Italian beer was the most appropriate choice.
One final thing to note is that the seating situation can be a little touch-and-go. You order at the counter, and then it's up to you find a place to eat. Given the limited number of tables and the popularity of this place, this is quite a difficult proposition, especially at peak hours. Fortunately, the restaurant does take reservations for large parties (I think that we had 12 or 14 and were able to get two tables to ourselves), but it's probably best to bring some patience along with you regardless.
All photos were taken on my Blackberry, unless otherwise indicated.