Are you a fan of eating fresh and cheesy pizza? If yes, you might know the heavenly feeling one gets after a delicious bite. Deep dish pizza is a signature dish of the Windy City. It is not only a fantastic tourist destination, but it is also a pizza lover’s paradise. Some of the best Chicago pizza will visit you in your dreams long after you’ve taken a bite.
Do you consider yourself a fan of the ‘za? A recent study shows at least two in three Americans consider themselves “pizza experts.” A poll of 2,000 pizza-loving U.S. adults finds that 79 percent claim they can even point out the best places to get a slice in the town they live in. More than nine in 10 (94%) have eaten a pizza just within the past month of taking the survey. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) love pizza so much they could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without ever getting bored.
Now you might be worrying about your health, but what if we say you can eat all the pizza you want (occasionally) without damaging your health? Yes, a new study says involving pizza finds people can eat much more than what normally makes them feel “full” without causing health problems. The University of Bath says young men can devour twice as much pizza when they push themselves. For some in the study of 22- to 37-year-olds, this means chowing down two-and-a-half large pies in one meal!
Afficionado or not, upon a visit to town, you must try a slice. StudyFinds has selected the five spots to find the best Chicago pizza after going through 10 expert food sites. Do let us know which one is your favorite go-to place in the comments!
The List: Best Chicago Pizza, According to Experts
Tasting Table explains this joint’s claim to fame: “Ask any Chicagoan worth their salt where to go to get deep dish, and they’ll tell you Pequod’s. (That is, if they’re not trying to keep it a secret.) The Lincoln Park eatery has been pumping out pizzas since 1970 and is a local favorite. It’s so popular, in fact, that wait times on weekends are occasionally measured in hours, not minutes. Don’t worry, though: Those who plan ahead can make a reservation or join the eatery’s waitlist on Yelp. Other deep dish establishments like Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s are fine, but Pequod’s takes the gooey style and elevates it to its highest potential. The restaurant’s sausage is especially good, offering a nice layer of fennel flavor to cut through the pizza’s richness.”
“Pequod’s has become the standard for deep dish in Chicago with its unique caramelized crust. At Pequod’s, order pies loaded with sausage, spinach, ground beef, giardiniera, and more and see how a burnt, cheesy crust can drastically enhance an already-great classic,” writes Chicago Eater. “The original location is in Morton Grove. Order online here. Beware: Peak dinner times get busy, so be prepared to wait. Also beware: busy times may lead to an erosion in quality, so middle-of-the-week ordering may get customers a more delicious pie.”
“Pequod’s serves pizza with excellent focaccia-style crusts baked in cast-iron pans blackened with decades of seasoning. This pizza is serious, sprinkled with so much cheese that it oozes toward the edges during the bake and emerges as a caramelized nutty halo of crisped goodness. There are plenty of toppings to choose from, but the quintessential Chicago combo features thick knobs of fresh sausage and sweet white onion,” adds Food Network.
Food Network says it’s all in their method. “Anyone can throw a few logs in the back of a brick oven, but few fire pies with coal like the old New York pizza shops. That commitment pays off at Coalfire in super-crisp pizzas flecked with a touch of soot that taste like they were grilled over a campfire. The version you want here features slightly wilted escarole and creamy chile-flaked spreadable salami — called ‘nduja — all tempered by velveteen bechamel sauce.”
“Situated in an 1876 four-flat, this restaurant evokes classic charm and rich, historic details throughout. The temperatures on the coal-fueled pizza oven soar past 1200 degrees and cook these ultra-thin pies within two minutes flat—a feat only made possible by a specially sourced coal. The result? A wildly crisp crust and satisfying, chewy middle, which guests can top with a range of add-ons,” describes Conde Nast Traveler. “The team here places a premium on simple, quality ingredients, and its purveyors—local farms and butchers—play a major role in the process of acquiring them. Come one, come all—this spot is a go-to for every kind of occasion, be it date night, family gatherings, or celebrations with friends.”
“Coalfire isn’t Chicago-style pizza, but that’s because it isn’t anything-style pizza — they’ve created something that’s just their own. Their addictive thin-crust pies combine the best of a variety of different styles, emerging from the coal oven with crispy edges and a delicate center. Try the lasagna pie, topped with mozzarella, berkshire sausage, garlic, sweet red peppers, and dollops of whipped ricotta,” adds Choose Chicago.
3. Spacca Napoli
Tasting Tables says their classic Napolitan pizza is made with love: “The decade-plus-old restaurant is owned and operated by true pizza lovers who craft their pizzas in an oven straight from Naples, Italy, that was built by third and fourth-generation artisans. The restaurant’s owner is a certified pizzaiuolo and takes care to only use quality ingredients, often sourced from smaller or more specialty vendors.”
“Breaking from Chicago style deep dish pizza altogether Spacca Napoli is still rated as one of the best pizzerias in Chicago. Pizza Connoisseurs or foodies know this place well,” writes Delishably. “It’s the only Italian pizza on the list, but notable for fueling the fire that has inspired a growth of Neopolitan pizzerias in Chicago. Come here for a date or classic pizza.”
“It’s the perfect place to host an anniversary or birthday celebration with family. Neapolitan pizza, which is traditionally made with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, is incredible. They offer variations of this signature dish, with toppings ranging from olives and anchovies to sausage and sweet salami. However, every dish rings true to the kind of pizza you’d taste on a trip to Naples. In addition to their pizza, Spacca Napoli offers a variety of desserts, including my personal favorite – tiramisu – as well as a selection of beer, wine, and cocktails,” adds Restaurant Clicks.
4. Marie’s Pizza & Liquors
Time Out writes: “This beloved stalwart—which is part liquor store, part pizza parlor—has been around since the 1940s, and it’s not hard to see why it’s still kicking. Though indoor dining remains closed, Marie’s offers takeout, curbside pickup, delivery and an expansive outdoor space dubbed ‘The Piazza’ that’s lined with umbrella-topped picnic tables.”
“Very few look past deep dish pizza when in Chicago. But the city is also known for a very distinctive cracker-crisp, thin-crust pizza cut into tiny little squares and usually topped with hunks of Italian sausage from old-school butcher Anichini Brothers, Inc. The two places to try it are Vito and Nick’s on the Southside, and Marie’s on the Northside,” says Food Network. “Marie’s gets the nod here because it also happens to have a convenient adjacent liquor store where you can pick out a nice bottle of Chianti — or something stronger — for a very reasonable $3 corkage. If you can choose only one pie, go with the classic Marie’s Special, topped with sausage, green pepper, onion and mushroom.”
“A cursory glance at Marie’s storefront will tell you it’s a classic. This is textbook tavern-style pizza, thin and hearty, but the restaurant’s spirit is just as engaging. Although its indoor dining space is currently closed due to the pandemic, they’ve recently converted their parking lot into a beautiful outdoor eating space complete with picnic tables and an eye-catching mural. How to book: Stop by for first come, first served patio seating, order take-out via ChowNow, or get delivery via GrubHub and DoorDash,” notes Thrillist.
5. Gino’s East
The Clare explains this shop’s history: “Sometimes traffic can be a good thing. In 1966 a pair of cab drivers and one of their friends were stuck in a rush hour line. During the wait, they decided that opening a pizza place would get them off the road and into a better career. The rest was history. Like other famous Chicago pizza places, Gino’s featured deep dish. And like other spots, it has grown since its founding, featuring 16 locations.”
“Many Chicagoans swear by Gino’s pizza. Alice Mae Redmond developed the dough recipe for the original Pizzeria Uno’s. She worked at Pizzeria Uno for 17 years, but she spent the next 23 years making pizzas for Gino’s East,” says Delishably. “Taking what she developed at Uno’s she worked her magic in a new direction for Gino’s creating a unique crust like no other. The yellow cornmeal crust and a sweet sauce round out the main features of this deep dish classic. Their thin crust pizza is perfect if you’re with a lot of people because it’s saucy and crunchy and the cheese is melt-in-your-mouth awesome.”
“Gino’s East is known for their Chicago-style deep dish pizza. But there’s so much more to love about the local chain. Their downtown location on LaSalle Street is also a brewery and small-stage venue, showcasing live music and comedy throughout the week. Of course, the pizza is worth mentioning. The 50-year-old recipe is slowly baked in seasoned cast iron pans until the crust is golden and flaky, then served piping hot and table-side, right out of the pan,” adds Choose Chicago.
You might also be interested in:
- Chicago Eater
- Tasting Table
- Time Out
- Restaurant Clicks
- Conde Nast Traveler
- Choose Chicago
- Food Network
- The Clare
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.