Pizza at Antico. Photo by jason-riedy

Gourmet pizza lovers, rest assured — the underground world of perfect pizza pies is alive and thriving in the Deep South, thanks largely to specialty restaurants striving to bring Italy, New York, plus their own brands of culinary flare to the American diet.
Antico Pizza Napoletana

Open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until “out of dough,” the new Antico Pizza Napoletana has quickly become one of the best restaurants in Atlanta for indulging in the-real-deal Italian pizza. For only being open less than a year, this spot has generated some serious buzz and a slew of passionate foodie followers in Atlanta.

Photo by Jango Monkey

One diner describes Antico’s pies as “gorgeous” – a hefty word for pizza, but remarkably accurate. The bubbly-crusted wonders are prepared using all-natural products from Napoli and Campania (Pomodorini tomatoes from Campania) and pizza makers follow a strict Artisan method. Even the restaurant’s ovens trace back to its Italian roots: Each one was handmade in Naples and includes heat-holding Santa Maria brick and Mt. Vesuvius volcanic rock.

Devour any one of the “Pizza Tradizionale di Napoli,” such as the spicy Diavoaola pizza, complete with sopressata, pepperonata and bufala. Or, try a “Pizza Specialita,” including the Lasagna pie, topped with meatballs, ricotta and romano cheeses.

Antico Pizza Napoletana is located at 1093 Hemphill Ave. south of Northside Drive and 14th Street. Not open on Sundays. ($17 to $20)

Baraonda

This romantic and dimly lit caffe Italiano, which has been consistently ranked as one of Atlanta’s best restaurants, serves up some of the city’s most authentically Italian pizza, the real “Prosciutto di Parma,” says Venice native and avid Baraonda fan Giovanni Ciriello.

The pies, which range from the traditional Margherita (tomato, mozzarella and basil) to the more adventurous Anatra (pink sauce topped with duck breast, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella) deliver perfection on a plate, straight from their famous wood-burning ovens.

Baraonda is located in the heart of Atlanta in the popular Midtown neighborhood at 710 Peachtree Street NE (on the corner of Peachtree and Third Street). (10 to $30)

Baraonda. Photo bymingaling

Savage Pizza

More American comic book than Italian, Savage Pizza has two locations in Atlanta – the hipster haven/trendy/alterna-teen Little Five Points neighborhood and Avondale Estates – and gives diners lots of options to bring to life their own unique pizza pie.

Here, the New York thin crust pie (also available in wheat) merges with a create-your-own style pizza by offering six different sauces and more than a dozen specialty options, all made from scratch with fresh ingredients.

Savage Pizza’s sauces range from the traditional red tomato sauce to the more creative Salsa Fresca, loaded with fresh Roma tomatoes, red onions and cilantro, and the Garlic White Sauce, a creamy sauce cooked all day.

The sassy restaurant’s specialty pies include The Mexican, smothered with Salsa Fresca and loaded with refried beans, green chiles and Monterey Jack cheese (they will throw on jalapenos or sour cream on request) and the Chicken Cordon Bleu, which starts with the Garlic White Sauce and is topped with roasted chicken, prosciutto ham, red onion, roasted red peppers, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. If you can imagine it – the pizza makers at Savage Pizza can create it.

An added bonus for comic book lovers – Savage Pizza’s decor is an ode to superheroes. Even the bathrooms deliver comic book love with walls plastered in vintage strips.

Savage bathroom. Photo by dudeitssctottography

Savage Pizza has two locations in Atlanta: 484 Moreland Avenue Northeast and 115 Laredo Drive. ($9 to $22)

Shortys Pizza

Off the beaten path, Shortys Pizza offers a twist on the normal pizza. Here, the crust is uber-thin and reminiscent of pita, and is baked in a wood fired stove.

Shortys offers unique “Decatur/Tucker” thin crust signature pies. The menu is packed full of flavorful pizzas named after infamous singers and groups, including the Rhavi Shankar, a white cheese-less pie drenched in curry oil, roasted veggies and a cilantro-mint chutney; the I’m Rick James, a combo of sausage, walnuts, mushrooms, broccoli and roasted onions; and the John Lee Hooker, covered in barbecue chicken, roasted onions, jalapenos and a crowning glory gob of coleslaw.

Shortys Pizza has two locations in Atlanta: 2884-B Lavista Rd. and 3701 Lawrenceville Highway. ($9 to $20)

Community Connection

Matador has plenty of articles about food and travel. Like, for example, our picks for the ten worst pizzas in the world, our guide to eating in Brazil and most recently, The Best Condiments In the World Right Now.

View 6 comments