I visited Antica Pizzeria today. I cut out of a conference early to find pizza. This is becoming a habit! Yesterday I did the same thing to visit Mozza.
From my hotel in Santa Monica, Antica's location in Monica Del Ray was about halfway to the airport. The restaurant itself is quite nice, with free parking and lots of natural light from the "teepee" roof and colorful walls. If I had to complain, I might mention that faux Italian decor in an Italian restaurant is one of my pet peeves.
I arrived at noon to find a completely empty restaurant. Bad sign. I ordered a Margherita, and it came out of the oven in record time. The pizza was fairly large and cost $10.50, ($0.50 more than the Margherita I had last night at Mozza). The cornice was modest (especially compared to Mozza) and had a nice amount of charring, suggesting a hot oven. However, there was ample bench dough on the underside of the pizza, and it was quite bitter and unpleasant. There was also a strange flavor on the pizza, perhaps anchovy residue. Interestingly, the crust improved as it cooled. That has never happened to me before. The sauce was bland, with lots of seeds. Now that I think of it, the cheese was bland too. The basil was limp, soggy, and easily removed. Everything needed more salt.
After eating at Antica, I need to revise my review of Mozza, which really shines in comparison. I'm a bit bummed, because I heard that Antica runs a VPN training course, and I'd love to improve my pizza making skills in a restaurant setting. I guess I'll have to go to Naples after all.