It became famous years ago -- when it first opened in Buckhead -- as one of Rachael Ray's favorite pizza spots in America. Now this gourmet parlor has taken a nightclub turn with its second location, bringing together enough TVs to be a sports bar, an Astroturfed patio, and a secret-entry interior lounge called The Vanguard where you can read old Playboys and play DJ with a selection of house vinyl. Oh! And the pizza’s still good as hell, using natural ingredients to make stellar pies. And yep, you can still hit the website for the recipe if you want to try making them at home.
Unlike the George Clooney movie nobody saw, this ristorante's “The American” pizza is totally worth checking out. It's got San Marzano tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, provolone, sausage, caramelized onions, and roasted peppers. It's also unique because it cuts the pies with scissors instead of those handlebar-ish blades you see at Pizza Hut... not as fast, but twice as fancy, and very fitting for high-quality pies.
There's no way to avoid the crowds at Giovanni Di Palma's trattoria, but why would you want to when it uses the finest small-batch dough, San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozz, etc., and cooks it all up in ovens handmade in Naples?
This Napoletana-style pizza house imports the essential ingredients from Campania, but also sources sustainable meat and produce from the ATL's wide array of community farms. The result is a menu that includes things like its signature Ammazzare with artisan Italian sausage, Vidalia onions, house mozzarella, and roasted peppers.
Pizzas -- like the Bianca, with bufala, fontina, pecorino, and smoked mozzarella, or the meat-heavy Maialona, with hot salame, cotto ham, sausage, pancetta, and black olives -- are cooked in a 1,000-degree wood-burning oven, and served whole (never sliced) directly at your table.
Yes, calling itself “Rome in Roswell” is a little weird, especially because we all know there’s an actual Rome, GA just up I-75, and who the hell wants pizza from there? But when you hit OM, you'll understand that the two brothers -- graduates of Roswell High School and global culinary travelers -- mean Italian business. And though the pies are flat, when it comes to flavor, all three house specialities are fat on taste. You can also build your own, with toppings such as farm egg, grilled zucchini, bay scallops, or select charcuterie from coppa to bresaola.
It almost feels wrong to look at everything at this eatery, which is adjacent to Piedmont Park, and say, “Nah yo, I want pizza.” But fortune favors the bold, and when you bite down into the fresh mozzarella over San Marzano tomato sauce, and through the expertly charred crust, you almost can’t believe you’ve never ordered it before. There’s also a charcuterie pie with mortadella, soppressata, and an arugula pesto. And it’s bomb. But trust us -- go simple here.
The coal-fired brick oven gets hot as hell, and not just because good pizza is supposed to burn the skin off the roof of your mouth. It’s because the crust should be charred crisp without burning the cheese, and it all mixes nicely with flavorful San Marzano tomatoes, or whatever sauce you pick. Max’s seems to get more tourists than in-towners, but on the low, it does the best pizza job in ATL Downtown, and you don’t get the Centennial Park proximity surcharge that other nearby restaurants throw at you.
Old 4th Ward
Not many people would brag about doing something “Jersey-style,” but that’s precisely what O4WP owner Anthony Spina is doing with his ultra-thin, super-saucy, somehow-still-crusty pies. Frills are on level zero as far as the interior is concerned, but the flavor is major, particularly when you order the rectangular-cut “Grandma," or build your own and get Ant’s family-recipe sausage on top of whatever you’re hankering for.
East Atlanta Village
Until 2am nightly, you can hit EAV’s big funky beer bar and put a variety of amazingly delicious 14in pies down your throat, ranging from veggie-topped (like the pepperoncini, spinach, and goat cheese “Mermaid”) to the “Don-A-Tello," slapped with black truffle pancetta from The Spotted Trotter. It also does one-off nightly specials like smoked trout, duck confit, and the corned beef “Shamrock” on St. Patty’s.
Started just outside Downtown Decatur, Avellino’s took its talents where there’s similar -- or greater -- money, because you can do that when you make pies with imported, finely ground 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and all-local everything else. If you’re brave enough to try the “IL Diavolo,” which is spicier than hell (and we’ve been, so trust us), just know you’ll have to sign a waiver first, because it contains ground red savina, habanero, jalapeño, and ghost peppers, and that’s before you even get to the peppers on top. Die happy!
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Mike Jordan is the king of pizza. He once ran a family pizzeria in Chattanooga, and knows where there’s a tiny little secret pizza shack on the Westside that didn’t make the list this round but is super-official and highly underrated. He’ll tell you where it is if you ask him on Twitter at @michaelbjordan.
1. Varasano's2171 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta
2. Double Zero Napoletana5825 Roswell Rd, Atlanta
3. Antico Pizza Napoletana1093 Hemphill Ave NW, Atlanta
4. Ammazza591-A Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta
5. Fritti309 N Highland Ave NE, Atlanta
6. Osteria Mattone1095 Canton Street, Roswell
7. ONE. Midtown Kitchen599 Dutch Valley Rd NE, Atlanta
8. Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria300 Marietta St NW, Atlanta
9. O4W Pizza660 Irwin St NE, Atlanta
10. Argosy470 Flat Shoals Ave, Atlanta
11. Avellino's1328 Windsor Pkwy, Brookhaven
Jeff Varasano's eponymous pizza restaurant gain national acclaim with its first outpost in Buckhead (it was purportedly one of Rachel Ray's favorite spots in America). This Perimeter offshoot is a clubby update of the original, complete with a outdoor patio, secret entry lounge and in-house DJ. Pies range from the traditional to fancier stuff like the "Nucci" (garlic, olives, Emmenthaler, arugula, Capocollo).
Old school style pizza in the Neapolitan tradition is the highlight of Double Zero's Southern Italian style menu. Their "American" signature pie is a must try-- cooked with DOP San Marzano tomatoes, shredded Bufala mozzarella , crumbled sausage, and caramelized onions, spread over thick, bubbly crust, it's a savory, surefire entrant onto your ATL pizza bucket list.
This tiny, family owned and operated pizza shop in Home Park doles out saucy, Neapolitan pizzas. Made using a wood-fired oven directly imported from Naples, pizzas come out perfectly charred, piled high with thick, melted mozzarella and flavorful San Marzano tomato sauce. A relaxed BYOB policy makes dining in a treat.
An industrial-chic pizza restaurant and bar in the historic Old Fourth Ward, Ammazza's a hipster hangout serving Neapolitan style pizza and other Italian fare. Using ingredients imported directly from Campania in addition to sustainably sourced meat and produce from the metropolitan Atlanta area, Ammazza's eats are flavorful, savory, and really quite tasty.
This hip, high-ceilinged spot in Inman Park offers artisanal Neapolitan pizza. Cooked in a 1,000 degree oven, pies come perfectly crispy and are topped with the likes of hot salame, cotto ham, sausage, pancetta, and black olives, among other toppings. So authentic, these pies are actually certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association (!!).
Located in Roswell, this cozy, cottage restaurant run by brothers Ryan and Daniel Pernice offers traditional Roman dishes inspired by their travels in Italy. Crispy, thin crust pizzas piled with fresh produce are the main draw: you can also build your own, with toppings such as farm egg, grilled zucchini, bay scallops, or select charcuterie from coppa to bresaola.
Located in a renovated warehouse, ONE Kitchen's cooking up gourmet American eats (wood grilled seafood, handmade pasta, and pecan smoked bacon burgers) that no doubt pair perfectly with their extensive wine collection. ONE offers a vast selection of affordably priced red and white varietals from Europe and the Americas, but if cocktails are more your thing, don't worry: ONE's also known for their refreshing, fruity spiked punches.
Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria looks like an old school New York pizzeria, which is exactly what it was going for -- both in decor and taste. It's got exposed brick walls, antique French factory lamps, vintage black and white photographs of NYC, and a coal-burning oven turning out 1,000 degree, charred NY-style pies and slices. Offering a build-your-own option as well as signature combinations, Max's is one of the best pizza joints Downtown.
Located in the historic Old Fourth Ward, this fittingly named local pie shop specializes in thin-crust New Jersey style slices and square-cut Grandma pies. Grab a seat at one of their communal tables inside the quirky, industrial digs and sample the goods: simple and satisfying pies piled high with juicy house-made tomato sauce and crispy cheese.
This massive bar in East Atlanta Village is a local late-night watering hole. Until 2am every night, this restaurant dishes out funky craft brews and everything from mini hot dogs, to gourmet pizzas, to seasonal entrees. Always bustling, this a great place to bring a group for drinks in the spacious beer garden.
Take a great neighborhood pub, add perfectly charred, thick crust pizzas, and you have the best place in Brookhaven for your mozzarella fix. This restaurant and tavern offers Neapolitan style pizza, backed by an extensive draft beer selection. Try their “IL Diavolo” pie if you dare: containing ground red savina, habanero, jalapeño, and ghost peppers, it's spicier than hell.