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Going to Chicago for the 1st time. Need recommendations for good Chicago Pizza!

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My Fiance and I are staying at the Westin on Michigan Ave. Any good Chicago pizza places in the area? Looking for good atmosphere aswell.
Thanks!

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  1. Folks, we ask that everyone stay focused on food. Day spas are outside the scope of Chowhound's mission, so please keep your responses chowy.

    1. You are not going to get a definite answer for "the best" pizza in Chicago.

      My personal favorite is right around the corner from your hotel--Gino's East which is on Rush Street.

      Giordano's and Pizzeria Uno, two of the other bigger names are less than 1/2 mile from your hotel, and Lou Malnati's is just under a mile away.

      You can't go wrong with any of those honestly...but Gino's East wins for me because of their crust.

      1. Hmmm.... Where do you start with a question like this? ;-)

        Seriously, the suggestions you've already been given are pretty much the heavy hitters (Lou Malnotti's, Unos/Dues, Geno's East). My only concern about Uno's however, is that you must hit the downtown location. I've just never felt their chain locations are even close to being as good.

        1. You ask a loaded question indeed! Try this link on a recent thread on the topic: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          1. My vote is for Geppetto's in Oak Park (take the Green line El to the Oak Park stop). I've taken several visitors there and they all adore the pizza.

            1. You have to go to Pizano's. The BEST pizza. I miss it so much now that we have moved. The buttercrust is just amazing. Cute little atmosphere too. A nice walk from your hotel.

              http://www.pizanoschicago.com/state.html

              1. Just got back from Chicago... boy is it cold there! - We went to Gino's East and I have to say that I am not impressed with the pizza at all. We ordered a medium cheese and Gino's special sausage deep dish. The waiter told us it would take about 40 - 50 minutes to cook! After the pizza arrived I can see why it took so long... Boy is the pizza deep! I was not a big a fan of the cornmeal crust (I assume it was cornmeal... thats what it taste like to me) The pizza was bland and not much flavor. I wouldnt go back there if I ever return to Chicago. The concierge at our hotel said that we should have gone to Giordano's instead.

                1. Well, I'd disagree with the concierge from the hotel as well. Both Giordano's and Gino's are, in my opinion, sub-standard. The biggest problem: the sauce. Both are tasteless and far too liquidy, which means that the minute you cut the pizza the crust ends up a soggy mess. I favor Lou Malnati's and Due's/Uno.

                  Just for information's sake, Lou Malnati was a chef at Uno's back in the day, and he pretty much copied what they did back when it was great. The LM's restaurants generally come closest to true Chicago deep-dish, as they haven't been touristed up too much (undercooked and weird toppings). Sometimes Uno and Due can be fantastic, and sometimes they're awful. My pizza crazy family always specifically requests that they make sure to burn the pizza, then it comes out properly cooked. We tend to go with simpler things like garlic or green pepper and onion or plain cheese. The sausage tends to come with large slabs of meat on it, like a full layer of sausage under the cheese, which I'm not a fan of, as much as i love sausage.

                  So some words to the wise Chicago pizza tourist from an amateur pizza freak:

                  Make sure the pizza is well done. If it comes out looking pale, send it back to be cooked some more.
                  No matter what anyone tells you, don't go to Giordanos. There's tourist style and then there's Chicago style.

                  PS. If you're not specifically looking for deep-dish, Santullo's on North is great, more NY style than Chicago, but terrific pizza. And Candlelight way up on the north side has fantastic super super thin pizza.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: annimal

                    And from the other side of the aisle Jfood thinks Giordano's is the best. Went to Giordanos off Michigan in August and brought back all those wonderful B-School memories form the 70's.

                    You will find very passionate responses to the "best" Chicago pizza, but given the time of year my vote goes to my Incumbent - Giordanos

                  2. Seems like this debate is revived on this board every few weeks...I personally like Lou Malnati's much better than both Gino's and Giordano's (which is stuffed, not deep dish), but I know that there are others who dislike Malnati's.

                    I just wanted to quickly add that I recently tried Pizano's (for the first time) and really enjoyed their thin crust pizza. It was excellent. IMO, their deep dish, however, was not as good as Malnati's.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RMA

                      Only Giordano's is stuffed.
                      Funny, I've heard how remarkably similar Malnati's & Pizzano's are since Pizzano's is owned by one of the Manati brothers.

                      Did Gino's East quality do a big downward slide in the last year? I don't get the recent string of bad reviews, my last visit was about that long ago and it beat the crap out of anything else I've had in a long time.

                      I don't dislike Lou's, I really think it's just OK, and not the end all that I hear repeatedly around here. I'm also not a fan of the crumbly pastry dough crust, but then I also don't like Giordano's crust much either. The best crust I've had are Uno/Due, Gino's & Gulliver's.

                    2. As a native south sider, I can say the best Chicago-style thin crust is at Vito & Nick's.

                      http://www.vitoandnick.com/