Our third installment of Atlanta Pizza Quest 2014 (APQ14) brought us to Fritti at 309 North Highland Avenue in Inman Park. This was the first pizza joint of APQ14 that we’d all been to and already had positive feelings about. We were interested to see how it would score when our feet were actually held to the fire (so to speak).
Guests for this week’s Quest were Jason, Kerri, Jen, Greg and Beth.
We chose to visit Fritti this week because it was on our list (obviously), but more importantly because it was part of Inman Park Restaurant Week. They were offering $15 and $25 menus that included one appetizer, pizza and dessert per person. The difference between the two levels of menus was basically a wider selection of appetizers and more pizzas with meat on the $25 menu. Any way you look at it, this was a lot of food for a bargain price (everyone loves a bargain). Winning!
We arrived for a 7 p.m. reservation and were shown to one of the better street view tables in the enclosed patio – off to a great start! The only bummer – a laser-like beam of afternoon sun was piercing Jason in the face and threatening to melt him down like Russell in True Blood. Our friendly server did offer to close the blinds for us, which was very thoughtful (“overall dining experience” points for Fritti!), but thankfully the sun settled down behind a building. Crisis averted.
After settling in and recovering from the sun drama, we went over some quick housekeeping topics, including – most importantly – whether we were all drinking (YES) and how we were splitting the bill (equally, thank god). These topics have caused some strife in earlier editions of APQ. I won’t go into it because I don’t want to ruin the positive juju we’ve got going on here so far.
And so onto the food, which is why we’re all here…
Since we don’t usually order appetizers or dessert as part of APQ14, I won’t go into detail on those because we don’t want to unfairly bias Fritti over the other restaurants in the Quest, so I will just say – YUM – and move on.
The rules of APQ14 dictate that we always order a margherita pizza and the pizza the restaurant is known for or has been written up about (by the likes of Thrillist or Eater Atlanta). In this case, it was the Maialona, which is basically Fritti’s version of a meat lover’s pizza (hot salame, cotto ham, sausage and pancetta with black olives). A little much for us girls, but the boys were happy.
So we ordered:
- the Maialona (I just told you about it!)
- the Regina Margherita (self-explanatory)
- the Salame Picante (Jen’s personal favorite: spicy salame and black olives)
- the Funghi di Bosco (Beth and Kerri’s fave: 2 kinds of mushrooms and white truffle oil)
- the Robiola e Pesto (a “white” pizza with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula pesto)
The pizzas came out pretty quick – but not too quick, i.e. we had time to enjoy our apps and leisurely drink some wine, so it was perfect timing. It is definitely a pet peeve of mine when a restaurant rushes you or brings your meal while you’re still munching on your appetizer(s). It makes the diner feel like a fat bastard who ordered a gluttonous amount of food (which may be true, but we can shame ourselves on our own time, can't we?). So basically, Fritti’s “overall dining experience” points were already through the roof.
So on to the pizza. We dove right in and each had our own methodology for trying each pizza. Some of us enjoyed and finished one slice at a time; others employed strategery (see Bush, G. W.) and sampled a couple bites of each right off the bat and then finished those he/she liked best. Any way you went about it, it was still pizza overload (not a bad thing).
The consensus: we have always enjoyed Fritti’s pizza and it didn’t disappoint this time. There was some disagreement on which pizza was the best – some thought my fave, the Salame Picante, was way too salty (I respectfully disagree); some liked the goat cheese/pesto, some didn’t at all (Kerri and I thought the pesto tasted “raw”). Everyone (except Greg who is an anti-funghite) loved the Funghi di Bosco (mushrooms, truffle oil – what’s not to love?). Most thought the margherita was “eh” (sporadic basil placement and too much cheese). But everyone LOVED the Maialona. The combination of all those delicious meats together totally worked. Yummy. And in conclusion, everyone thought the sauce and crust were damn good on all the pies.
Pizza comas ensued……until we realized five desserts were on their way. Yikes. But no worries, we rallied and scarfed them all down. We are professionals after all. Anyway, five appetizers, five pizzas, five desserts and a bottle of wine – all for $35 a person including tip. Not bad.
Scoring time: Everyone rated Fritti in the categories of sauce, cheese, crust, toppings, overall dining experience and overall score for a total possible score of 60 points. Our rule is to eliminate the highest and lowest score and then average the rest – which I’m not sure is a real mathematical formula or if we made it up (I spent a few minutes researching this and gave up, fully admitting that I would lose in a battle of “Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader?”). Fritti scored a solid 49 out of 60 – which to all you statisticians out there – is 81.66%. I think most of us thought they would come out scoring higher, but we realized we have to rate conservatively since we have a long list of great pizza joints still ahead, including Antico Pizza, Verasano’s and Ammazza…not to mention Varuni-Napoli which is opening soon in Morningside and whose chef is straight from Naples by way of Antico Pizza. Lots of pizza to look forward to! Next stop: Buckhead.
Stay gold, pizza eaters…