If you’re an avid local restaurant eater like me, then I’m sure you know that pizza is super hot on the street right now. Neapolitan style, in particular, is having a great 15 minutes of fame on the Atlanta food scene. Ever since Antico made waves among the Buckhead crowd, new spots have been popping up all over town. Varuni Napoli, one of the newest, has taken its stand in the heart of Midtown and Ansley Park at the corner of Monroe and Piedmont. An ideal spot for sure, but was the pizza going to live up to its rustic Italian namesake? Last week I found out.
First impressions can make quite a difference and by looks alone, Varuni has all the makings of a great culinary spot. The decor is clean and modern with a hint of homemade here and there – just enough to feel of the moment. Their sweet little back patio is also quite quaint, a nice spot to eat your pie as the sun goes down.
We sat with baited breath waiting for our pizza to come to us. Though all the choices sounded pretty good, we opted for a classic combo of mozzarella, sausage, mushroom, onions, and roasted smoked peppers. As you can see by these pictures, it looked every bit our dream of the perfect neopolitan pizza. By all accounts, things were looking good.
I regret to say this, but the taste and texture unfortunately did not live up to all the beautiful visuals. I like my pizzas to have a bit of crunch but these slices fell a bit flat. After the initial heat wore off, it was even more evident that the pizza didn’t seem cooked all the way through. Additionally, the toppings weren’t that remarkable; everything was pretty run-of-the-mill but dressed up in an expensive environment.
While I’m not going to say it was bad, it was definitely not satisfying. After three slices, I still didn’t feel like I fed my neopizza craving. Perhaps I’m spoilt by the others, but I just don’t think it lived up to the $19 pricetag. It’s more or less just bread topped with stuff, thrown into an oven. While it could have been super delicious, it was much closer to just ordinary. If the price points were more along the lines of $15, I could justify it’s lackluster quality for the pleasant dining experience alone (no crowds, ample seating, etc). But alas, the world is what it is and you really have to pay the price for a convenient location and nice decor. Will I go back? I don’t really think so. With all the other competition popping up, I think we just have to move on to better, cheaper, crispier options.