First, a quick note about vocabulary: When I tell you that Antica Pizzeria is a “simple” restaurant, I mean this in the most school-yard, Merriam-Webster kind of way. This is not the word tossed around by many other Italian restaurants, places that put out “simple” creations, like exotic mushrooms tossed in artisanal olive oil and sprinkled with rare sea salt. At Antica, the dining room is so nondescript I hardly remember being in it, and the only thing that’s rare is the naked honesty of the food. When there are mushrooms, they are big, chunky things, so fresh that they don’t need anything but the bruschetta beneath them. And the pizza, the restaurant’s centerpiece, is a bit of a revelation. The Margherita may not pass muster with Neapolitan snobs—the crust is just millimeters too thick and a little too dry. But anybody who can get past those details will be rewarded with a very fine pie, one with a crisp crust and a piquant sauce layered with sweetness and spice and cut by the tang of mozzarella. The nuances of the sauce can get lost amid the ham, eggs, peas and mushrooms (as on the fattoressa pizza). But it is a praiseworthy pie nonetheless—not because it’s complicated, but specifically because it isn’t.
|Venue name:||Antica Pizzeria||Contact:|
5663 N Clark St
|Cross street:||between Olive and Hollywood Aves|
|Opening hours:||Dinner (closed Tue)|
|Transport:||El stop:Red to Bryn Mawr. Bus:22,50.|
|Price:||Average main course: $18; average pizza: $14.50|