For me, pizza falls into five categories:
1) authentic Italian-style pizza, distinguished by its wood-fired, from-scratch crust, and simple fresh ingredients
2) American-style pizza (my personal favorite), incorporating cooked sauces, copious cheese, and generous piles of toppings
3) New York-style pizza, featuring those broad, flat, greasy slices you can fold in half
4) Fusion pies (a.k.a. “preppy pizza”), combining pizza basics (i.e., “crust + toppings”) with ingredient lists from other cuisines (think — ew! — California Pizza Kitchen)
4) all the rest, from the dubious “State Fair Pizzas” to something sad, encased in plastic, and frozen in a box.
Sapori Di Napoli in Decatur (314 Church Street, with ample parking right next door, off Trinity) served us some noteworthy Type 1 pies this past Friday. They’re baked up in an acunto oven, one of the wood-fired, Italian-made models considered the Lexus of pizza ovens.
The result? Perfect, delectable crusts: crisp, chewy, with just enough char to give the light, airy dough some texture. That crust alone merits your visit … but when you pair it with a bright, spicy red sauce and market-fresh toppings, you get six to eight slices of pure, undiluted joy on a plate.
Comparisons to Antico, the darling of Atlanta’s Italian-style pizza-eating crowd, are unavoidable. Now, don’t get me wrong: I like Antico. I just never go. For me, the charm of eating at communal tables in the restaurant’s kitchen quickly wears thin. While the food is good, worries about adequate seating and the frenetic energy of the place keep it off my “Go There Anytime” list.
By contrast, Sapori Di Napoli is sedate, with a vibe I associate more with a cafe than a pizza joint. In my opinion, it’s a more welcoming environment: less eager to be So Very Authentic and more about good people and good pie. The staff charmed our entire table, managing to be engaging and present without trying to act like our BFFs.
If you’re a Midtowner in the mood for good, authentic Italian-style pizza and Antico just isn’t doing it for you anymore, Sapori Di Napoli is definitely worth the drive to Decatur. In fact, the pies are good enough to put S.D.N. at number three on the official “Atlanta Anytime PIzza” list. (Da Vinci’s Pizzeria on West Peachtree and Avondale Pizza — both serving American-style pies — are numbers one and two.)