In search of ... pizza

In search of ... pizza

Once a pizza wasteland, lately Atlanta has become a place where “pizza wars” are fought. A recent topic of Big A List jawing over crusts and toppings, here are five spots where the pie battle lines are being drawn.

Varasano’s Pizzeria, [TWO STARS]

2171 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, 404-352-8216, varasanos.com

Jeff Varasano is a mad scientist of pizza. So what if he doesn’t use traditional Italian ingredients or wood-burning ovens? The proof is in the great crusts and refined flavors of his pies. One taste of a thin, puffed-up, yet perfectly crispy pizza topped with an unlikely but wonderful combo of sweet caramelized onions and sharp Emmenthaler cheese says it all.

Fritti, [THREE STARS]

309 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, 404-880-9559, sottosottorestaurant.com

Long before the Atlanta pizza wars began, Fritti was the only place to go for an authentic wood-fired Neapolitan-style pie. And it’s still the place for a super-traditional margherita with San Marzano tomatoes and fresh bufala mozzarella, simply displayed on a crust that’s both soft and crispy.

Vingenzo’s, [NOT RATED]

105 E. Main St., Woodstock, 770-924-9133, vingenzos.com

Fine wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza at a really good full-service Italian restaurant makes for a great thing. The basic margherita is topped with Vingenzo’s handcrafted buffalo mozzarella, and the char on thin, crisp, nicely textured crust gives it just the right kiss of smoky flavor.

Hearth Pizza Tavern, [NOT RATED]

5992 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, 404-252-5378, hearthpizzatavern.com

The pizza at Hearth owes a debt to the original Neapolitan style, but it also represents much of the substance of the great American pie, with an airy but chewy, breadlike crust coupled with a wide variety of inventive toppings. Try the Ring of Fire, with chili oil, chorizo salami and cherry peppers.

Antico Pizza Napoletana, [THREE STARS]

1093 Hemphill Ave., Atlanta, 404-724-2333, anticopizza.it

For the true believers, San Marzano tomatoes, Italian bufala mozzarella, finely milled “Typo 00” flour, and Italian Acunto wood-burning ovens add up to the fire-kissed flavors of the best pizza in Atlanta. Still, others wonder: Why all the fuss over these doughy pies with the fat end crust?

Weather and Traffic