LAReview

photo credit: Jakob Layman

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7.5

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele

Pizza

Hollywood

$$$$Perfect For:Business MealsDate NightOutdoor/Patio Situation

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There's a scene in Eat, Pray, Love where Julia Roberts bites into a Neopolitan pie at L’Antica Pizzeria in Naples and delivers a corny line about how she wants to date the pizza. That moment was the restaurant’s Pandora's box. Ever since its cameo, this 19th-century pizzeria has evolved from a tourist attraction to a global brand serving pastas and steaks that we're guessing Julia would have no romantic interest in.

At L’Antica’s Hollywood location, the restaurant strays far from the original three-pizza menu. Its bubbly pies are some of the city's best, but the rest of the menu is forgettable filler.  

Let it be clear that this is not a casual pizza place where you can walk in with your sweaty friends after rec-league soccer. The only available parking is valet and the restaurant is usually full of PR types in Indochino blazers sh*t-talking their boss. We'll blame both on the neighborhood and the setting—the place looks like a $2 million home in the Hills, complete with a pizza oven in its spacious brick courtyard. The place feels like it wants to be an upscale restaurant, which means the main attraction—those gorgeous charred pizzas—shares way too much table space with lackluster dishes like underseasoned alla norma and heavily dredged zucchini flowers. The random beet salad and brunch carbonara on the menu distract from the real task at hand.

Rémy Martin

photo credit: Jakob Layman

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L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Rémy Martin
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L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele image

You're at this unnecessarily fancy place to eat pizza. We love that these pies don't go overboard with the toppings, because it means the thin, blistered crusts get all the attention. Slices are flimsy (consider eating this pizza with utensils, like they do in Naples), but the bottoms are sturdy enough to support marinara, two layers of mozzarella, and peppery pork sausage. If you're choosing just one, get the classic margherita with the thinnest layer of tart marinara—so thin, you see the crests of mountainous air bubbles peeking through. Dollops of fior di latte retain their salty, milky flavor and cut the deep smoke from the crust's char. It makes sense that such a simple, delicious, balanced pizza has stayed on L'Antica's menu for over 150 years. No need to waste your time with a standard pasta alla norma recipe from 2019.

Food Rundown

Zucchini Flowers

These taste just like every other fried zucchini appetizer with creamy ricotta filling oozing out. They're not worth $20. The dredging is too thick.

Calamari Fritti

Similar to the zucchini flowers, this basket of fried calamari and shrimp could be from any generic Italian restaurant. But unlike the other appetizer, the dreading is light and crackly.
L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Margherita Pizza

You'll forget all about the pricey valet once you try this classic pizza. For something scorched in an 800º oven, this thin pie is dainty enough to melt away after two chews. Everything works in harmony, from the sharp pecorino to the squeaky fior di latte, and a thin layer of warm marinara that coats the crust.

Bianca Pizza

This pizza ditches the tart savoriness from the marinara and doubles down on the mozzarella. It’s definitely heavier, but not overwhelmingly so.

Alla Norma

There’s some nice textural contrast in this pasta from the roasted eggplant and soft tomatoes. That doesn’t make up for the fact that the dish is underseasoned.

Pappardelle Alla Genovese

The wide pappardelle comes al dente and draped in a braised short rib ragú that’s wet and saucy without feeling like a sloppy joe. The one downside is that it could use a pinch or two of salt.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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