In the heart of Envigado on the northeast corner of Calle 38S and Carrera 35 (across the street from the tango bar La Cabaña del Recuerdo) is a humble little pizzería with a whole lot of heart of its own.
Unassuming from the outside, Italian-owned Pizzería Antica Italia will win you over the moment you step inside.
The space is not large—bar seating is the only type of seating available—but it is always bustling with patrons looking for an authentic slice of thin crust pizza.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crust so thin. The owner, Ramon, is as dedicated to his pizza making craft as he is amicable. He greets each customer with the same enthusiasm he uses to prepare his ever-so-thinly sliced toppings or roll out his impossibly thin pizza dough.
Pizza is mostly served by the generous slice, but whole pizzas are available as well.
There are several topping combinations that are staples of the menu and a number of house specials written on a whiteboard at the back of the kitchen—the latter can change from day to day. There is also the option to build your own slice with whichever available toppings you choose.
I was eating at Antica Italia on a strong recommendation from a friend who badgered me for weeks on end until I agreed to give it a try. After squeezing into two seats at the bar facing the kitchen, we ordered a few slices from the special menu and one tried-and-true slice.
My first choice was a slice topped with portobello mushroom and speck, a type of cured ham from northern Italy. I was excited to see that it was, in fact, speck, and not just a cheap imitation (read: sandwich meat) like on other pizzas I’ve ordered in Latin America.
My friend settled on a slice topped with blue cheese and green apple followed by a vegetarian slice topped with no fewer than five ingredients. Every slice comes with a base of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, so any additional toppings are placed on top of that.
As we waited, Ramon placed in front of us two lovely bottles of oil, one infused with garlic and herbs and the other with chili, as well as a handful of shakers containing oregano, garlic salt, black pepper and chili powder.
It didn’t take long for our slices to arrive—no more than 10 minutes, I’d wager—and we each sipped a glass of house red wine (they serve the Chilean brand Gato Negro) while we waited.
As thin as the crust is, for those with a hearty appetite, ordering two slices is probably a good idea. I would have been perfectly sated with just one slice on a normal day, but the temptation to try a second variety was too great for me to resist—I ordered my own bleu cheese and green apple slice shortly after finishing slice number one.
In addition to pizza, Antica Italia serves pasta as well. You can choose from bolognese, carbonara, cream of mushroom, vegetarian or lasagna.
As we finished our meals, Ramon made sure to check in with us to see how we’d liked everything. I didn’t even have to lie when I told him how delicious it was.
A dining experience at Pizzería Antica Italia may not be the most elegant (I wouldn’t recommend it for a first date) but the quality of the food you get is outstanding for the affordable price.
After two large slices of pizza and two glasses of wine each, our bill amounted to just 22,400 pesos per person ($11.20).
The next time you find yourself hungry for pizza in Envigado, I heartily recommend giving Antica Italia a try.