5663 N Clark St [GoogleMaps]
CPC invaded Antica Pizzeria on 12/9/09.
The Andersonville neighborhood on Chicago's Northside is no stranger to good restaurants. In October 2008, native Sicilian Mario Rapisarda opened Antica Pizzeria and it competes with the best Andersonville has to offer, including the much-lauded Great Lake a few blocks away.
Our group of ten was comfortably seated in the small dining room. While the furnishings are non-descript, the wood-burning ovens give a warm honey glow which was especially welcome on a snowy winter night. We could actually see our pizzas cooking in the ovens.
We ordered nine pies:
- Fattarosa (Italian ham, hard-boiled eggs, English peas, mushrooms, and fresh mozzarella)
- Homemade Fennel Sausage
- Pistachio and Prosciutto
- Margherita (fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato sauce)
- Asparagus and Mushroom
- Funghi (white pizza, fresh mozzarell and mushrooms)
- Parma (fresh mozzarella, shaved parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, fresh arugula, prosciutto de Parma)
- Padania (caramelized onions, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella)
- Daily Special, which was the Pizza Maldonado, featuring fennel sausage, marinara sauce, mushrooms and salami.
Although all the pizzas were good, a few were standouts: the Caramelized Onion, the Fattarosa, and the Pistachio and Prosciutto. The Caramelized Onion pizza had caramelized onions, whole roasted garlic, and pancetta. The onions were likely sauteed in a vinegar which really brought out the flavor of the onions, but also added an interesting dimension to the pizza overall. I was afraid that the bold use of garlic might be overwhelming, especially on such a thin crust pizza, but it was very well-balanced.
The Fattarosa was the first time many of us had seen English peas or eggs on a pizza. The yolk of the hard-boiled egg tasted wonderful when combined with the spicy and sweet marinara sauce, and added an almost creamy texture. The peas make the whole dish seem a bit more virtuous.
Also noteworthy was the Pistachio and Prosciutto. Again, this was the first time many had seen pistachios on a pizza. The pistachios were halved and roasted. The sweetness of the pistachios provided a nice contrast to the salty prosciutto. They also provided an occasional crunch, which is a rare feeling when eating pizza.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the house-made fennel sausage. This sausage was a crumbly sort of sausage -- not sausage balls. It seems like you get more sausage this way, as there is sausage in every bite. It has a strong fennel flavor, but because it's crumbled it doesn't overwhelm your palate like chunks of it might.
Overall, Antica Pizzeria is well worth a trip to Andersonville. You can expect a high-quality pizza, with fresh and unique ingredients. It has been BYO thus far and there are no plans for a liquor license currently. And no, we did not forget the link to their website. Antica is living up to its name by not having one thus far.
The CPC gives Antica Pizzeria a score of 8.4.