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Antica Pizzeria in the Marina is LA's best and most authentic Neapolitan pizza experience

l
lapizzamaven Feb 6, 2010 08:54 PM

My favorite pizza experience was extra special tonite because the Maestro, as he has been called by many pizza makers, Peppe Miele , was making the pies himself tonite and my friend and I absolutely devoured our half Margherita/half sausage pie along with our salads(one Gorgonzola for me and a tricolore for my partner). These days Jose Barrios, who Miele trained many years ago, is making most of the pies and he has become expert in this culinary art, so tonite was very special. Antica's friendly,casual Neapolitan ambience is absolutely the perfect antidote to the often loud and obnoxious experience all too common in the City of Angels.

  1. westsidegal Feb 6, 2010 08:56 PM

    i concur.
    their pizza is consistently excellent.

    1 Reply
    1. re: westsidegal
      j
      Jeryy Feb 7, 2010 12:36 AM

      The only bad thing about Pepe making the pies is that he probably didn't have time to come to your table and chat - the man is a delight.

    2. d
      darrelll Feb 7, 2010 05:36 AM

      Haven't tried Antica.... how does it compare to Bollini's in Monterey Park?

      1 Reply
      1. re: darrelll
        echoparkdirt Nov 29, 2010 06:33 PM

        antica is great, but bollini's is the true neapolitan gem. unbelievable thinness, crispness, incredible topics. antica is also a bit overpriced and undersized. but i still like antica alot.

      2. a_and_w Feb 7, 2010 08:20 AM

        Couldn't agree more re the pizza at Antica. I just had a pie with smoked mozzarella and eggplant that was divine. The arancini are also tasty (though enormous). I have to say, however, that the service at Antica can be a little spotty. The old man, in particular, gets on my nerves. Still haven't tried Bollini's.

        1. cant talk...eating Feb 7, 2010 10:23 AM

          Agree 100%. This place is a gem. Was waiting to post on this the next time one of these "best pizza in L.A." discussions got started. This is basically small, artisanal-type thin-crust pizza, without the assembly-line taste/feel of most places. The margherita had slices of whole fresh mozzarella and a light sauce, and for a dollar more we added sauteed (fresh) mushrooms. This is basically pizza for grown-ups.

          Also ordered salads and fresh pasta (mini-penne, forgot the term; one ala vodka and the other a ground lamb ragu). Also excellent. No frills.

          We went early (5:30 or 6), and I guess there was a rush of people at this time so it took 45 min. for our pasta to arrive, but it was still worth it. Great to have in the neighborhood, and pretty reasonably priced.

          1. ipsedixit Feb 7, 2010 11:31 AM

            Agree, and I really like the pizza with the crust that's filled with ricotta.

            Pizza Hut's got nothing on Antica when it comes to stuffed crusts! :-)

            1. d
              degustateur Feb 7, 2010 10:01 PM

              Please pardon me, but I beg to differ. In my book, Pizzeria Mozza’s is, unequivocally, LA’s numero uno Neapolitana style pizza. Bollini’s takes a fairly close second and Antica, perhaps third. I say perhaps only because I have logged many more visits to both Mozza and Bollini's than to Antica (only two). My rating is based solely on the pizza, not the ambience, sides, desserts or any other factors.

              Although, technically, it’s not Neapolitana, my number one pizza overall is the White Cheese and Sausage Pizza at Pina’s Bistro in Tustin. It trumps all of the above, even after 10 years of enjoyment. Otherworldly good.

              18 Replies
              1. re: degustateur
                a_and_w Feb 8, 2010 07:48 AM

                Mozza is not Neapolitan style pizza. (Not saying it's bad, but someone expecting Neapolitan style will be surprised.)

                1. re: a_and_w
                  ipsedixit Feb 8, 2010 08:07 AM

                  Agree that Pizzeria Mozza is not Neapolitan, but what would you label it? Just artsinal?

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    a_and_w Feb 8, 2010 08:48 AM

                    Hmmm...maybe "Silverton Artisinal"? It's funny because the pizzas at Mozza don't resemble the pies at Otto, Batali's pizza place in NYC, either. They're really Silverton's creation.

                    1. re: a_and_w
                      ipsedixit Feb 8, 2010 09:06 AM

                      Actually, have you been to Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix? Both Bianco and Mozza have very similar pies.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        a_and_w Feb 8, 2010 09:11 AM

                        I haven't, but I've heard AMAZING things. Looking at the pictures, I see your point.

                        PS: Apparently, we're not the only ones with this dilemma. Bianco himself claims that his pies defy categories like "Neapolitan" and "New York" style lol!

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          s
                          sel Feb 10, 2010 09:19 AM

                          Been to Chris Bianco's restaurant and if memory serves, had a wood fired gem of a pizza with housemade sausage, potatoes and fresh herbs that almost makes me wish that I lived close to Phoenix. If Ms. Silverton's creations are half as good then I'm kicking myself for still not getting over there!

                          1. re: sel
                            p
                            pizzafreak Feb 10, 2010 10:09 AM

                            I have been to Pizzeria Mozza, Pizzeria Bianco and Antica. IMHO Chris Bianco's Margherita is the best ever. The crust that I tasted was mind blowing, better than Mozza's, with the sauce and cheese just right. I think Mozza's crust runs a very close second. Mozza's fennel sausage has it all over Bianco's Wiseguy, his version of a fennel sausage pie. These two Pizzerias turn out the best pizza I have ever had, and I am a native NY'er who has eaten at all the current NYC hotspots. My memory of Antica is that it was OK - not worth the drive from the SFV on a regular basis, but heads over heels above Vito's.

                          2. re: ipsedixit
                            WildSwede May 14, 2010 04:21 PM

                            I have been to both and PB and Mozza and thought while I was there that I could leave both and never need to have their pizza again. I found PB to be very soggy (I ordered the Margherita) and just bleh. My friend had one with caramelized onions and sausage which was definitely better, but I don't think it deserves all the hype (or that damn wait). Am I crazy?? Apparently so from reading all the posts. We waited 4 hours at PB last month. I actually would have been more than happy to eat nothing but their appetizers (the olives at Mozza are things I dream about) and make a meal out of those. However, I LOVE Bollini's and I cannot wait to try Antica.

                            1. re: WildSwede
                              ipsedixit May 14, 2010 04:25 PM

                              Chris is no longer working the ovens at Pizzeria Bianco due to health reasons. He hasn't been there since January 2010. Ever since his departure, the quality of Bianco has been uneven.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                s
                                sel May 15, 2010 09:51 PM

                                That's really lousy, been looking for an excuse to return to Pizzeria Bianco cause it was so exceptionally good. I wish only the best for Mr. Bianco!

                          3. re: a_and_w
                            j
                            josh L Feb 8, 2010 03:36 PM

                            mozza is MUCH better than otto.

                            1. re: josh L
                              e
                              epop May 4, 2010 10:00 AM

                              otto is MUCH better than mozza.

                              1. re: epop
                                WildSwede May 14, 2010 04:22 PM

                                lol!

                                1. re: WildSwede
                                  e
                                  epop May 14, 2010 04:26 PM

                                  I'm glad someone appreciated it.

                          4. re: ipsedixit
                            c
                            cls Feb 8, 2010 04:26 PM

                            closet would Sicilian IMO.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              e
                              epop May 4, 2010 09:59 AM

                              Yes, it is a unique pie. Not even close to what one would find in Italy.

                              BTW, I had a great pizza at Jones Restaurant (Bar). The Margherita was oh so close to the pizzas in Rome.

                          5. re: degustateur
                            l
                            lapizzamaven Feb 10, 2010 07:10 AM

                            Taste is so subjective but in 15 years of eating at Antica I never left a crumb or spot of sauce on the plate. I went to Bollini's once, had a very tasty Margherita, though it certainly was not Neapolitan style(not that it matters), then shared a 2nd pie with my friend and left more than half of it because the crust was terribly undercooked. Talk about inconsistent! In baseball, a .500 avg is :off the hook" but at a restaurant, on the same day, thats nothng to be proud of. Nevertheless, Im intrigued by the mention of a joint in Tustin, almost enough to actually go to a city/county I generally avoid like the plague. thanks for the rec.

                            1. re: degustateur
                              westsidegal May 3, 2010 06:23 PM

                              sorry degustateur,
                              the pizza in naples is nothing like the mozza pizza.

                              the mozza pizza has nothing to do with Neapolitan pizza.
                              not saying that it isn't a good pizza, it just is a different style of pizza. . .

                            2. t
                              tykapfh Feb 8, 2010 11:24 AM

                              Been twice.
                              Both times = Soggy pizza.
                              No thanks.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: tykapfh
                                westsidegal May 3, 2010 06:28 PM

                                tykapfth:

                                the criteria for neapolitan pizza include:
                                1) the use of OO flour
                                2) the use of FRESH mozzarela

                                maybe you just prefer another style of pizza??

                                1. re: westsidegal
                                  t
                                  TailbackU May 5, 2010 12:05 PM

                                  and San Marzano tomatoes.

                                2. re: tykapfh
                                  e
                                  ericat May 4, 2010 12:26 PM

                                  same here; both pizzas we ordered were super soggy on the bottom. this was over a year ago, maybe we will give it another try

                                  1. re: ericat
                                    westsidegal May 4, 2010 12:51 PM

                                    the fresh buffalo mozzarella that is REQUIRED for an authentic neapolitan pizza has a higher moisture content than the low-moisture mozzarella, (which is made from whole or part skimmed milk) which is widely used in the foodservice industry.
                                    Low-moisture mozzarella is prohibited as an ingredient in an authentic neapolitan pizza.

                                    using the correct cheese will necessarily make the texture of an authentic neapolitan pizza different from one that does not use such cheese.

                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                      ipsedixit May 4, 2010 02:56 PM

                                      westsidegal is correct

                                      True neapolitan pizza will be soft and soggy in the middle. That is the way it is supposed to be.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        m
                                        Marvin May 4, 2010 03:52 PM

                                        Reading through this I was also going to complain that the pizza is soggy there too. If that's how its supposed to be, I won't fault them, I'll just say I must prefer a different style then.

                                        I will say that the pastas there are divine, especially the Penne Alla Vodka.

                                      2. re: westsidegal
                                        c
                                        chestnutnd May 5, 2010 11:12 PM

                                        Westside: Cow's milk mozzarella is allowable under the VPN regulations. I think they refer to it as fior di latte. That said, you are very correct in saying that bufalo mozzarella gives the pizza a different consistency.
                                        I had the pleasure of eating pizza every day in Naples. It's a near religious experience. Very different from Mozza which is very good in it's own way, but definitely not Neopolitan. If I could have only one pizza for the rest of my life, make it any margarita(?sp) I had in Naples. The flavors are so fresh and the textures so perfect that I actually agree with the Neopolitan purists who will not allow any other toppings or flavors other than a magarita or a marinara. Just my opinion.

                                        1. re: chestnutnd
                                          westsidegal May 5, 2010 11:53 PM

                                          fior-di-latte definitely is allowed, but fior-di-latte is NOT a low-moisture mozzarella.

                                          imho, eating a proper neapolitan pizza is a sublime experience.
                                          thankfully you reawakened this thread AFTER antica was closed for the night!!!

                                  2. OCAnn May 5, 2010 08:23 AM

                                    FWIW, Antica Pizzeria (along w/Pizza e Vino in Rancho Santa Margarita) are the only two Southern CA pizzerias with the VPN designation:

                                    http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/showna...

                                    1. d
                                      dharmathug May 5, 2010 11:56 AM

                                      LA is finally starting to get great pizza. Antiqua is very good, but Mozza, Terroni, and even Spitfire are equal

                                      -----
                                      Terroni
                                      7605 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                      1. t
                                        TailbackU May 5, 2010 12:06 PM

                                        Maybe I went to the wrong place or an extremely off night, but my pizza experience was borderline horrible. bad crust, super soggy in the middle, bland sauce, and mediocre mozzarella. Dont' even want to give them a 2nd chance w/ too many other good pizza places in LA.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: TailbackU
                                          e
                                          epop May 5, 2010 03:19 PM

                                          Where?

                                          1. re: epop
                                            t
                                            TailbackU May 5, 2010 11:52 PM

                                            Antica

                                            1. re: TailbackU
                                              westsidegal May 6, 2010 09:09 AM

                                              tailbacku:
                                              my guess is that you simply don't care for this style of pizza.
                                              a genuine neapolitan pizza is required to have a THIN CRUST (it may be no more than 3 mm (⅛ in) thick) and FRESH cheese (i.e. the low moisture cheese you are used to is not permitted).
                                              the combination makes for a soggier result than normal american pies.

                                              if you are in my neighborhood, there are a couple of italien guys who set up a take-out operation about 2 miles away from Antica that is called THE GOOD PIZZA.
                                              they make what, to me, is a more americanized style pizza using low moisture mozzarella, a different style of sauce, and a thicker crust using local flour (Antica imports their flour from italy). my guess is that you would enjoy THE GOOD PIZZA more.
                                              their pizza, of course, does NOT meet the requirements of Verace Pizza Napoletana Association as does the pizza that is being served at Antica.

                                              1. re: westsidegal
                                                l
                                                lapizzamaven May 6, 2010 09:25 AM

                                                My suggestion to pizza lovers who disdain the "wet" center of a Neapolitan pie is to order it well done...I typically do that at Antica and i love the result....Westside Gal, way to inform the chowhounders on the virtues of neapolitan pizza....

                                                1. re: lapizzamaven
                                                  a_and_w May 6, 2010 09:52 AM

                                                  lapizzamaven, that has been my experience too. I've had some very tasty "dry" pies from Antica by specifying well done. Also, if you order pies with smoked mozzarella, they're usually less soggy.

                                                  1. re: a_and_w
                                                    westsidegal May 6, 2010 10:17 AM

                                                    all this talk about pizza is making me hungry for it, and it's only 10AM!
                                                    the question is whether dinner will be an Antica neapolitan pizza or the truffle pizza they serve at cafe del rey. . . .
                                                    decisions, decisions

                                                2. re: westsidegal
                                                  t
                                                  TailbackU May 10, 2010 11:31 PM

                                                  Westsidegirl, I'm very familiar with what Neapolitan Pizza is and what it should be. Antica may have the certification but what they served was not good neapolitan pizza. And no, they don't have a soggy center by default.

                                                  according to wiki....The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine, and may be no more than 3 mm (⅛ in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire.[4] <b>When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant.

                                                  1. re: TailbackU
                                                    westsidegal May 10, 2010 11:44 PM

                                                    it's what i've always been served as neapolitan pizza, here, in new york, and in new jersey.
                                                    maybe you have a better source?
                                                    presumably your source would also have the vpn designation.

                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                      l
                                                      lapizzamaven May 12, 2010 07:14 PM

                                                      I still cant believe some of the negativity Antica gets...Westsidegal, hope you went there for your pie...As far as "authentic" Neapolitan pizza, the wet center is typical b/c the fresh mozz or bufala have a lot more moisture than the typical low moisture variety "NY" style pizza uses... you could do better than relying on Wikipedia for knowledge of pizza...

                                                    2. re: TailbackU
                                                      ChrisG.PersonalChef Aug 2, 2010 02:20 AM

                                                      Oooooh. Good one. I love you ppl.
                                                      I thought I was the only food nut till I Came here.

                                            2. j
                                              jadekarrde May 13, 2010 10:28 AM

                                              thanks to westside gal for explaining about Antica. I've had the best pizza I've ever tasted in LA from Antica (my first visit) and had some pretty mediocre pies as well. however, seeing as I go to the LA fitness next door 5 or 6 times a week I've been jonesing for some Antica for nearly a month now.

                                              This damn thread put me over the top. Antica and I are going to meet up very soon. :D

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