Saturday, October 29, 2005
Antica Pizzeria non e l'autentico
I'm doing some pizza research at the moment, and having recently had pizza from La Buca and Damiano's, we decided to go further afield. I heard that Antica Pizzeria in Marina del Rey had the only pizza maker in L.A. certified by the Vera Pizza Napoletana association -- in fact the owner is apparently president of the North American branch. Well, I didn't find out whether he was in the kitchen Saturday night, but I hope he would be ashamed at the pizzas they sent out to us. Matt ordered a Quattro Stagioni, with artichoke hearts, proscuitto, mussels and clams. When they put it down, the burnt mussel shells gave off a powerful briny odor, which immediately put him off. They were so burnt that pieces had already broken off in the cheese, making it impossible to eat. I've never seen a seafood pizza served with the shells still on like in a pasta dish, and this seemed like a new and bad idea. The proscuitto seemed haphazardly piled on the pizza, and under the cheese lurked some chunks of pre-cooked mushrooms. It didn't seem like this pizza had been put together by anyone who had ever eaten a pizza -- everything was just thrown on, and nothing was integrated into the cheese, which didn't seem cooked enough.
Many of the pizzas are inexplicably served without sauce, including the one I ordered, with broccoli rabe and sausage. It also seems crystal clear that sausage on a pizza must be crumbled, not in chunks, but this one featured haphazardly-strewn chunks of sausage and some nice clumps of broccoli rabe. The crust, from a wood-burning oven, had a good flavor. My pizza could have been good with sauce, crumbled sausage, and a little more time in the oven, but Matt's was a disaster from start to finish. Service was also a minor disaster, with the pizzas taking forever to come out and a friendly Italian waiter repeatedly visiting the tables on either side of ours to chat and make sure everything was ok, while our waitress hid far away in another part of the restaurant. At least she comped the shell-filled pizza. Strangely for a place supposedly known for their pizza, most of the people around us had pasta and salads.
Verdict: Stay away from Antica Pizzeria. If I'm ever in that neighborhood again, it's back to Abbot's Pizza.
13455 Maxella Ave.
Marina del Rey
at 9:08 PM