There has long been a debate about which is the best pizzeria in Atlanta. I am here to debunk the myths and legends, and figure out once and for all which spot is superior. The two frontrunners are Antico Pizza Napoletana in Atlanta’s Little Italy and Ammazza in Edgewood.
While Antico is critically acclaimed and better known across the country, Ammazza also holds its own. Antico has been around since 1889, so while it is better established, Ammazza has an updated take on pizza making.
Ammazza has Neapolitan pizzas, similar to Antico’s style, but includes local ingredients in their pies that Antico does not have. Ammazza blends the classic Neapolitan style with homemade mozzarella and meats from a local butcher. In creating this original flair, Ammazza did not want to limit their ingredients to one single region in Italy.
However, while Ammazza uses its Atlanta location to its advantage, Antico transports you to the original scene of the crime itself. This is where the pizzerias differ most: vibe.
Walking into Antico is like entering an old school pizzeria in Naples. I swear the pizza I had here was just as good and classically Italian as any slice I ate while studying abroad in Rome. The restaurant is an open space with all the focus on the wood fire ovens—literally this place is a sauna. But the heat is worth it.
You order at the counter, and if you’re lucky you won’t wait for an hour at one of the communal tables. Last time I came, we ordered, sat down and had our pizzas within 20 minutes, which is a success at this pizzeria by all standards. The TVs play Italian soccer games and the chefs are flipping pizza dough in the air as they whip out pie after pie, each more delicioso than the next. This place is authentic and they know what they’re doing.
Ammazza is much more like any restaurant in the Edgewood area that’s modern and hipster-ish in a good way. Known for the extensive, well thought out beer selection, the atmosphere is casual, dimly-lit and made for straight chilling. You also order at the bar, take a number and get served pretty quickly, but this spot is much more Atlanta than Italy when it comes to vibes.
Now let’s talk food. The rundown is as follows: if you’re at Ammazza you can order custom ingredients and get pizzas any way you want them. They have truffle oil you can add to any pie and that gives Ammazza a serious boost in my book. If you’re at Ammazza, it’s best to create your own pies.
I’m a huge fan of adding meatball to any and all pizzas, but there are a few standouts here to order off the menu. The Terra: a white based pizza with wild mushrooms, house mozzarella, goat cheese and truffle oil. The Margherita: your basic house mozzarella, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil baked to golden perfection. The spaghetti fritti is an interesting starter, and the polpette (meatballs) are up there as well.
Antico has its classic pies and you can’t stray from those—but why would you want to? The San Genaro is a hot, delicious pie topped with salsiccia, sweet red pepper and bufala mozzarella. No surprise here, but I’m a huge fan of the Lasagna: pizza topped with meatball, ricotta and Romano cheese. The Diavolo deserves an honorable mention: spicy soppresata, hot pepperoni and bufala mozzarella cheese.
Last time I was at Antico we ventured out and also got the Verdura: a vegetarian’s dream with broccoli rabe, mushrooms, garlic and multiple melted cheeses. It wasn’t bad, but doesn’t even come close to my favorite, which is without a doubt the Bianca: fior di latte, ricotta, bufala mozzarella and pecorino cheese pizza. Similar to Ammazza’s Terra, but the crust on the Bianca is out of control and I would honestly eat that alone if it weren’t for my intense cheese addiction.
The flaky crust and dough is what sets Antico above the rest, and while Ammazza has more topping variety and flexibility, Antico simply knows what they are doing and they do it well—arguably, the best. While both are quite worthy and clearly the top pizzerias in Atlanta, I think I would call Antico number one.
If you want to enjoy Antico right, get a group, order as many pies as you can stomach and enjoy your very own, very authentic, Italian pizza party.
Antico Location: 1093 Hemphill Ave, Atlanta, GA 30318
Antico Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am until out of dough Sat 12pm until out of dough
Ammazza Location: 591-A Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
Ammazza Hours: Sun-Thurs 5pm-11pm Fri-Sat 5pm-12am