Antica Pizzeria

Another easy-to-miss foodie find, Antica Pizzeria (13455 Maxella Ave.), which occupies a second-floor corner of a Marina del Rey mall, claims the distinction of certification by the Associazone Vera Pizza Napoletana, a trade group devoted to preserving traditional Neapolitan pizza making. Though of course pizza is this restaurant’s raison d’être, it offers a full menu, with antipasti, soups, salads, and pastas. We started our meal with the very nice insalata mediterranea, featuring mixed greens, black olives, tomato, and goat cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette. For our pizza, we went with the classic, thoroughly authentic margherita D.O.C. (for “denomination of control”), not to be confused with the unmarked, less stringently governed margherita, also on the menu. At its best, the DOC is a lovely-to-behold speckled thin-crust pie topped with a deliciously acidic San Marzano tomato sauce, patches of dense fresh buffalo mozzarella, and basil leaves. Each pie is enough for one hungry person, but we started by ordering just one, which, we were sad to find, was burned on the bottom. Ordering a second pie, we said, “Please make sure this one isn’t burned,” and, sure enough, the next pie was just right, a pizza dream, with its thin but chewy crust and scrumptious toppings. As for our dessert, the coppa profitterol, all we can say is “non l’abbiamo neanche visto” (“We did not even see it”). This cup of vanilla cream-filled pastry balls covered with a dark chocolate custard and whipped cream disappeared in what seemed like seconds. Our final assessment: With the right choices and instructions, one can have a very memorable experience at Antica Pizzeria, though a misstep might lead to disappointment.

Update (August 5): Antica Pizzeria has closed down. Though thin-crust pizza is not hard to find in L.A., this restaurant offered something special, and we are sad to see it go.

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