According to all trusted reports I could find when researching in advance of my recent 50-hour trip to Atlanta, until the past couple years, seriously delicious pizza was a rarity in the city. But between Varasano's (reviewed here), Moto Bene (reviewed here), and Max's (reviewed here), I found that Atlanta has a pizza scene locals can point to with pride. And that's without taking into consideration that Atlanta is home to two outposts of Nancy's (reviewed here), which of course warmed my Chicago heart.
The plan for my fourth and final stop on my pizza tour of Atlanta was to hit Antico, which made it into the top 32 in Adam and Ed's Rachael Ray magazine article. But not long before it was time to go sink my teeth into a Neapolitan pie at Antico, I was reminded that I was not in Chicago anymore—Antico is closed on Sundays. Now in the mood for a wet floppy pile of pizza deliciousness, I headed to Fritti, the other Neapolitan game in town and the grandfather of quality pizzerias in Atlanta.
The pizza portion of Fritti's menu is divided into two categories. Listed first are pies that fall within the rules for Neapolitan pizza as imagined and enforced by Verace Pizza Napoletana Association. That organization's silliness is perhaps unwittingly mocked at Fritti where the second category of pizzas are called "Pizze Tradizionali Napoletane." Babelfish tells me means traditional Neapolitan peaks while Google tells me means traditional Neapolitan pizza. A little common sense tells me Google is right, but that title begs the question of if those pies are traditional, then what are VPN pizzas? Moreover, given that one of the "traditional" pizzas offered is topped with pineapple and gorgonzola, is it possible that Babelfish was actually accurate?
Categorical silliness aside, Fritti turns out some damned fine pizza. In the interest of thoroughness, I tried one pie from each category. Up first was the Sorrentina, which came with buffalo mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil, parmigiano reggiano and a sauce made of San Marzano tomatoes. I didn't notice the smokiness that I was hoping for, but this was an excellent pizza. I would have preferred a little salt in the crust, but that shortcoming was more than made up for by the generous application of delicious sauce.
My second pie, from the "Traditional" category, was the Salsicca e Peperoni, which came with sweet Italian sausage and roasted peppers along with mozzarella and San Marzano sauce. Once again, the pizza was textbook Neapolitan with the slight deviation of generosity with the delicious sauce. Given how easy it is to make good sausage, I'm always surprised when places that emphasize quality ingredients opt to slice up an encased sausage from an outside vendor. That said, whoever made the sausage did a pretty good job. There was nothing mind-blowing about the second pie, but it was solid.
The crusts on the pizzas were good, but not great. As was mentioned earlier, some salt in the crust would have been nice. I also would have preferred it if each pie had spent another 20 seconds or so in the oven, but that's obviously being nit-picky. That both crusts were identical tells me there's consistency in the kitchen, which is vastly more important than whether the salt level meets one person's specific tastes. Speaking of the kitchen, about a year ago, Antico poached Enrico Liberata from Fritti. I have no idea whether Fritti has dropped in quality since the switch but the place is still serving up some very good pizza.
About the author: Daniel Zemans, also writes about pizza as part of the Chicago Pizza Club.