Dining Out 2 minutes 18 October 2019

Chicago's Best Pizza Places

These are the top-rated pies in the Windy City.

Chicago pizza

Though Chicago is synonymous with deep dish when it comes to pizza—and for good reason—that isn't the only style you can find throughout the city. In addition to thick slices of butter crust filled with cheese, assorted meats and vegetables, and topped with sauce, there's also pan pizzas with crispy cheese edges and thin, coal-fired crusts with a nice char from 800-degree ovens. Assemble a group of friends and hit up all of these classic Chicago pizza joints the next time you're craving a pie.


What Our Inspectors Say: "Value, friendly service and delicious deep-dish pizza make Giordano’s a crowd sweetheart. With locations dotting the city and suburbs, this restaurant has been gratifying locals with comforting Chicago-style Italian-American fare for years. Come during the week—service picks up especially at dinner—to avoid the cacophony. The menu includes your typical salads and pastas, but you'd do well to save room for the real star: the deep-dish. Bring backup because this pie could feed a small country. The spinach version arrives on a buttery pastry crust, filled with sautéed (or steamed) spinach with tomato sauce, and topped with mozzarella and parmesan. For those cold, windy nights, opt for delivery—their website sketches a detailed menu."

Image courtesy of Coalfire Pizza. Photo Credit: Autumn Bastyr.
Image courtesy of Coalfire Pizza. Photo Credit: Autumn Bastyr.

Coalfire Pizza

What Our Inspectors Say: "Sure, you could come for a salad, but the focus here is on pizza—and yours should be, too. The dining room is cozy, showcasing an open kitchen where pie production is on full display for all to see. And in a playful bit of recycling, empty tomato sauce cans placed on each table become stands for sizzling pizzas churned straight from the 800-degree coal-fired oven. This hot spot has its ratio down to a fine art and knows not to burden its thin and crispy crust that’s blackened and blistered in all the right places. The mortadella is a delight, with chopped garlic and gossamer slices of peppercorn-flecked sausage. But if you wish to go your own way, build the perfect pie with toppings that run the gamut from decadent Gorgonzola to tangy goat cheese."

Nella Pizza e Pasta

What Our Inspectors Say: "The name of this delicious Hyde Park offering belongs to chef and owner, Nella Grassano, a classically trained pizzaiola. Together with her restaurateur partner, Francesco, the couple’s warm hospitality is the icing on the cake to an experience built around solid cooking. Favorite items include house-made pasta, laced with pristine ingredients and cooked to al dente perfection; or blistered Neapolitan pies, so fresh and authentic they’ll transport you straight to the Italian countryside. Don’t sleep on the starters though, like calamari affogati braised to perfection in a spicy tomato sauce studded with salt-brined black olives. Sop up the incredible sauce with Grassano’s lip-smacking bread, baked in-house and served warm from the wood-burning oven."

Image courtesy of Gino's East.
Image courtesy of Gino's East.

Gino's East

What Our Inspectors Say: "Pizza pilgrims continue to make the trek to the original location of this renowned deep-dish chain, where a 45-minute wait is worth every second for freshly baked, steaming pies. The walls, scribbled with years of graffiti, are nearly as iconic as the high-walled pies themselves, whose crusts get their signature crunch from cornmeal and searing-hot metal pans with two inch-high sides. Filled with heaps of mozzarella and toppings, like the “Meaty Legend” lineup of spicy pepperoni, Italian sausage, and both Canadian and regular bacon, it’s hard for some to eat more than two wedges here. The Chicago Fire layers hot and spicy flat sausage, fire-roasted peppers, and red onions for a kicky pie. Nonconformists can opt for thin-crust pies, but why?"

Pizzeria Bebu

What Our Inspectors Say: "Chicago and pizza go together like peanut butter and jelly, but does the Windy City need yet another shop dedicated to the crusty stuff? If it is Pizzeria Bebu, you bet your brick-lined gas (oven) it does. This excellent rendition gives any of its kind a run for their money. A crispy crust with cornicione that crackles with flavor—this is a first-class pizza. You can't go wrong here, whether you veer simple with a Margherita (San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella); have a little fun (crumbled meatballs, giardiniera, ricotta cheese and Parmesan); or go nutty with nutless pesto, vodka sauce and fresh mozzarella. Pizzas may be the star at this gleaming, modern restaurant, but the thick and fluffy frittata proves that their other staples deserve equal billing."

Hero image courtesy of Giordano's.

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