HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >


The Official Best Pizza in Chicago Thread

I want to hear everyone's opinion of what the best pizza in Chicago is. I mostly want to hear from the people that live in Chicago and have tried a lot of places but visitors are welcome to post their opinions too. Second thing is that this has to be broken down into 3 categories.

1. Regular normal pizza which is eaten most of the time and is the thin-crust variety and cut into squares.

2. Stuffed or Deep Dish variety such as Giordanos.

3. Gourmet Pizza which you find at those hob-knob places which I personally don't like and will not vote on.

You don't have to vote on all 3 categories if you dont want to. Now I am sure there has probably been numerous threads of this nature posted on here already but usually those threads just ask which is this best and people start naming pizzas from all the different categories and blending them all together but you cant do that. You cant compare a thin-crust to a stuffed pie. They are two totally seperate things. So please vote on what place you think is the best in order and by number. Thank you!

My Picks:

1. Obbie's Pizza near Archer Ave and Harlem in the Chicago city limits. Best thin-crust pizza I have ever had in MY LIFE! A close second would have been Santucci's pizza which was near Midway Airport but has been gone for a long time. Anyone remember that place?

2. This is a tough pick for me. I have tried Giordano's, Connie's and Pizzeria Uno & Due. Personally, I go with Connie's near Chinatown. I haven't tried Lou Malnati's before which I heard is very good so know that when hearing my opinion.

3. I will not vote on this one because I dislike that gourmet pizza and I dont feel it deserves to actually be called pizza because it isn't.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We have had many extended discussions of pizza in Chicago. Two of the more extensive ones can be found at:


    The consensus is that there is no consensus.

    1. Illuminatus,

      In your categories you're missing one of the basic types of pizza that have come to the fore lately in Chicago, and to mind are becoming one of Chicago's gastronomic destinations: that is the more traditional kind of wood/coal fired pizza found in such places as Naples/Rome/MIlan. Exemplars would be Spaccanapoli, Pizza Doc, Coalfire, Follia, Quartino's, Gruppi di Amici, and probably many more to come.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jbw

        the cracker crust thin pizza styis le also missing; ie Candelight or Wells Bros (Racine, Wi)

        My votes:
        Traditional deep dish/pizza in the pan: Gullivers
        Stuffed: Bacino's
        Thin crust: Barnaby's - Northbrook
        Cracker crust thin: Wells Bros, Racine WI
        NY Style: Giggios, Evanston or Uptown

        1. re: jbw

          jbw, I suspect that is what the original poster might refer to as "gourmet pizza" that does not deserve "to be called pizza because it isn't." I couldn't disagree more. Artisanal pizzas have reestablished a link to traditional methods and practices that are in many ways more authentic than other varieties of pizza. I also note the ommission of pan pizza, which is another distinctive category -- neither deep dish, stuffed, thin, not artisanal.

          Anyway, I think they all have their place and time and all can be tasty.

          1. re: what I want

            "jbw, I suspect that is what the original poster might refer to as "gourmet pizza" that does not deserve "to be called pizza because it isn't." "

            Perhaps, but I certainly hope not. A simple Margherita made to strict Neapolitan standards not deserving "to be called a pizza because it isn't"? If so, what hath deep dish wrought? (I was thinking rather pineapple/shrimp/coconut toppings, but who knows?)

        2. 1) Regular Chicago style thin crust: Calo's in Andersonville

          2a) Deep dish - Pizano's
          2b) Suffed - Chicago's stuffed cheese and spinach

          3) Artisanal pizza - Pizza Art Cafe on Rockwell

          1. Look people, this thread is about the pizza one would find in Chicago and the majority of pizza found and eaten in Chicago is an "American" style of pizza which is totally different than authentic Italian style pizza. I'm Italian, I know the pizza found in Italy is totally different than the pizza we are used to in America. The "gourmet" pizza I am talking about are the kinds of pizza one would find at CPK or places like that which put chicken on their pizza. Those are the types I dont consider real pizzas. Pizza doesnt traditionally come with chicken on it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Illuminatus

              "Look people, this thread is about the pizza one would find in Chicago and the majority of pizza found and eaten in Chicago is an "American" style of pizza which is totally different than authentic Italian style pizza."

              "this thread" is about whatever people posting to it make it about - not what you or someone else dictates. What an attitude! There is a wide variety of pizza available in Chicago - and all of it subject for discussion and expression of preferences.

              Me, I'm liking the pies at Coalfire, Malnati's, Candlelite and, yes, sometimes Domino's - and it's all about the "mood" I'm in at the time.

              1. re: gomexico

                I started the thread and I can specify it to be whatever I want it to be about.

                1. re: Illuminatus

                  <<I started the thread and I can specify it to be whatever I want it to be about.>>

                  Good luck with that.

            2. For regular pizza I love Pizza Rustica. Just south of Irving Park on Sheridan Rd. Their garbage pizza with blue cheese is to die for. They are genuine Italians and claim that their pizzas are "authentic Italian" from their area of Italy. (Steps from the red line at Sheridan Rd station) You will love it!

              1. I do remember Santucci's which I thought was the best cracker crust around. It came in rectangular form and on a wire rack. Does anyone know where the Santucci's are? I'd love that crust recipe.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Den C

                  They've been gone since the late 80's I believe.

                2. Here's one for ya. Looking for an authentic, deep dish place THAT TAKES RESERVATIONS! Open to an Italian restaurant w terrific pizza. Visiting from LA and looking for a place Friday night during Thanksgiving weekend, in the Loop -- thanks!

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Silverlaker

                    Hard press to find one that DOESN't take reservations. I'm pretty positive all of them will.

                    1. re: lbs

                      Ok -- now I know this is gonna sound like asking for a referral to a mexican restaurant in Los Angeles -- but can you guys recommend a good deep-dish place, in the loop? I love deep-dish pizza and have NEVER been to Chicago!

                      1. re: Silverlaker

                        Pizano's. Lou Malantis Gino's East (Original) are the big three. Can't really go wrong with deep dish at any of these. Pizano's being my personal favorite.

                        1. re: lbs

                          Thank you for saving me from doing a search on this!

                          1. re: Silverlaker

                            You need to add Uno's and Due's (as long as we're crossing the river) to your consideration. These precede all of the above (at least in length of service).

                          2. re: lbs

                            I don't think any of those are actually in The Loop, but they all have outlets near The Loop.

                            1. re: lbs

                              Pizano's has a location in the Loop on Washington and Wabash which would be near to your hotel (I think you are staying at the Hotel Burham?). I atcually prefer the thin crust but since you are a tourist, you should go for the deep dish.


                              1. re: lbs

                                I made resies here, thank you! Yeah, we want thick crust -- we've never had an authentic deep dish pizza as we live in LA. First time in Chicago, looking forward to it!

                      2. For stuffed pizza, Lou Malnati's.

                        For gourmet pizza, I like Spacca Napoli. It's a thin crust, certified Neapolitan style.

                        I don't have a regular thin crust pizza to recommend. I generally like to get a pan pizza, and for that, my favorite is Art of Pizza.

                        1. My pizza pics for each category I feel worth mentioning.

                          Deep dish: Art of Pizza, 3033 No. Ashland
                          Neapolitan: Spacca Napoli, 1769 West Sunnyside
                          Thin crust: Pat’s Pizza, 2679 No. Lincoln
                          Eclectic: Pizza D.O.C, 2251 West Lawrence

                          Spacca Napoli
                          1769 W Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

                          Art of Pizza
                          3033 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

                          1. Only ever have had one: Large, stuffed Polermo pie at Red Ivy. Wonderous!

                            Red Ivy
                            3519 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657

                            1. I've seriously never had any good pizza in my 13 years in Chicago. I admit I have never tried CoalFire but when I lived in NYC, I just bought it on the street and it was great. I've never had anything even close here. Those weasels in NYC probably inject their pizza with fat and garlic (in fact, they do the latter), but they use great ingredients. Chicago, meh. It's just flatbread or some gross upside-down crap.

                              Just go to one of the several competing Original Ray's in NYC and buy a slice. You will see what I mean. The best I got was at 7th Ave. and Prospect Ave. in Brooklyn. My daughter was a baby then, and I had to cut up little pieces and blow on them til they were cool. She'd sit there and say YUM. And SPICY!

                              It's really the quality of the ingredients, along with cooking it right. I've never had decent pizza here.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Pete Oldtown

                                I'll try to keep a straight face as I respond to Petie O. First off, anyone who has been in NYC more than a week or so knows the Original Ray chain locations are a joke. Er, correction: anyone above the age of 2 or so knows (which may explain your baby daughter's reaction). I mean, just how many 'Original Rays' did they really expect to franchise anyway? The name became synonymous with low grade chain knock-offs as far back as the early 90's. Got so bad at one point a place opened in Ft Greene called 'Not Original Ray's'. Anyway, from Spacca Napoli to Vito and Nicks, Coalfire to Burt's, Chicago can easily go toe to toe with NYC in the pizza domain. Come to think of it, in a pinch I'd go with Chicago (sad to say for this long time NY'ker).

                                Spacca Napoli
                                1769 W Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

                                1321 W Grand Ave Ste 2, Chicago, IL 60642

                                1. re: burton

                                  I wouldn't agree at all for Neapolitan, Roman, coal oven, and even conventional gas oven pizzas, I feel NYC is way ahead in those, especially with the recent explosion of new, ambitious pizzerias. Naturally, Chicago's deep-dish and pan pizzas are far better than NYC's.

                                2. re: Pete Oldtown


                                  When i first came to Chicago, if you didn't like deep-dish you were pretty much SOL. But in the past five years serious pizzerie and pizzaioli have been proliferating with wood-fired ovens heating up neighborhoods all over the place. I don't think Chicago still has many (if any) serious buy-by-the-slice NYC style pizza, but for those who like authentic Neapolitan- Roman- (and maybe even a little New Haven-) style pizza Chicago has become IMO a destination. Not only the dedicated pizzarie, either, as mentioned elsewhere, but restaurants like La Follia, A Mano, Quartino can put out pretty fair versions. Get out. Try some, Enjoy.

                                  A Mano
                                  335 N Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60610

                                  626 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

                                  953 W Fulton, Chicago, IL 60661