After reading multiple raves on Pizza Antica in Lafayette, finally got to try it.
First off, they have a no-reservation policy. I arrived at 6PM on a Saturday and was told that a table of four would be ready in 30-35 minutes. In actuality, the table was ready in 15! As I waited, I sensed that they turned over their tables pretty quickly.
Inside, it is pretty cavernous and noisy. Black & white tiles on the floor, a bar stacked with wine, open kitchen where you can see the ovens. Tables with heat lamps are available outside. One TV with the Giants game on above the bar, but the TV was so small and high up it was hard to see anything- I personally think they shouldn't try to go for that sports-bar kind of feel & should just stick to being a restaurant.
Onto the food:
We asked our waiter how many pizzas to order for a group of 5. He said 2 large. Boy, was he wrong!
1) Large order of fried artichokes ($12.95). Not a very large portion, but perfectly fried in bread crumbs with an creamy aioli sauce & lemon.
2) Large #6 ($14.75): Potatoes, caramalized onions, cheese, truffle oil- best of the bunch, reminiscent of Cheeseboard pizza with less oil & garlic. The crust was thin and shattered when you bit into it at the edges. Very satisfying & crust held up toppings without sagging. Truffle oil balanced everything without being overwhelming.
3) Large #9: Shaved broccoli, pancetta, caramalized onions- taste of broccoli overwhelmed everything else and we could barely taste the little bits of pancetta. Everyone agreed this was their least favorite, but still not bad.
Needless to say, each large pizza only has 8 pieces and is football shaped. These pieces are small (max 3" square), so 2 large pizzas are NOT enough for 5 people. We are not large eaters but the men in our group said that they could probably eat a whole large by themselves. (Small pizzas are the size of round dinner plates.)
We ordered one more large pizza after this: asparagus with lemon. Very flesh flavors, although parts of the asparagus didn't seem to be peeled and were stringy.
I was happy to see they had elderflower syrup on the menu. The only other place I've seen it at is Cafe Rouge in Berkeley. For those who haven't tried elderflower, it is fresh, fruity and very similar to lychee flavors. (IKEA sold the syrup awhile ago, don't know if they still have it.)
Next time, I would probably want to try their basic margherita-style pizza to judge their tomato sauce, since none of the ones we ordered had tomato sauce.
Pastas looked large-portioned & desserts sounded scrumptious, ranging from bittersweet chocolate to a strawberry shortcake. They also have Scharffen Berger hot cocoa on the menu & Illy coffee.
Very family-friendly, they automatically put drinks for kids in plastic cups with lids, and servers are knowledgeable and quick, although the pace of the restaurant is quite fast and not the place to really leisurely sit and talk. Noise level is quite high so you have to shout if you have a large party.