Pie in your eye 

Pizza in the ATL, Part I: In-town

The pizza situation in Atlanta, as most food lovers know, is a far cry from the glories of New York's intense, thin-crusted Neapolitan-style pizzas spread with balanced, gently seasoned tomato sauce and high-quality mozzarella. Sure, we've got excellent upscale pizza eateries, like Fritti and Baraonda. But a good slice or an honest pie in modest establishments is a rare find in these parts. Following are a few joints inside the Perimeter that do make a tasty pizza, most of which straddle the fence between classic New York-style and new-fangled gourmet stylings:

Adam's Garden-of-Eatin'
This is a popular, lowbrow little spot with a great patio, just right for laid-back get-togethers with friends. Adam and his buddies have come up with some crazy-ass pizza concoctions, like the mushroom bacon cheeseburger pizza with a ketchup-and-mustard base. I'll stick to tamer creations like the Pretty In Pink with marinated chicken and feta. Don't come in a hurry during prime business hours: Servers get flustered and food comes out slowly.

1451 Scott Blvd., Decatur. 404-370-0550.

Cameli's Gourmet Pizza
Folks are always pleasantly surprised when they stumble onto Cameli's. The crust is thin and crispy, their sauces have chutzpah and the unconventional but fun toppings (I'm particularly partial to their rosemary potatoes) make for a lively pie. One of their monster slices is pa-lenty for lunch. They've recently updated their booths and chairs to make eating in a bit more comfy -- though you still have to bus your own tables.

699 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-249-9020.

5 Seasons Brewery
OK, I'm going out on a limb here: 5 Seasons does nothing remotely close to a New York-style pizza. What they do are essentially grilled flatbreads topped with tidbits like smoked salmon and avocado, or diced, ripe tomato and cheese. But they're really yummy -- particularly with one of the restaurant's own craft-brewed beers (and this is a wine guy talking here). Absolutely worth checking out.

5600 Roswell Road, Suite 21, Sandy Springs. 404-255-5911. www.5seasonsbrewing.com.

Grant Central
Walk into this epitome of a neighborhood joint and grab a table anywhere. There's not much in the way of decor, but the people-watching is primo. The toppings are the standard pepperoni-mushroom-olives assortment, but what you really want here is a piping hot, plain cheese pizza. Out it comes on the classic silver metal tray. The crust is a little chewy, and the sauce and cheese marry in a gooey, zesty bite. Ah, now this is my kind o' pie.

451 Cherokee Ave. 404-523-8900.

Rosa's
Gang, if you need a New York slice fix, this is the place. I'd heard talk of Rosa's for quite a while before I finally made my way there (parking downtown blows). I arrived to find a line literally out the door. Good sign. As the line moves, the cooks points to you and asks for your order, which is usually ready by the time you get to the counter. This beauty in front of you has got all the requisite qualities: the substantial crust, the tangy but unobtrusive sauce, and the thin veneer of orange grease you mop off with a napkin. Fold in your hand and enjoy the best slice the city has to offer.

62 Broad Street. 404-521-2596.

Pizza recommendations? E-mail bill.addison@creativeloafing.com.

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