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Dantes.venue.jpg
Photograph: Martha Williams Dantes Pizza

The 18 best pizza spots in Chicago

From gooey deep dish to fire-kissed thin crust, these are the top pies in Chicago

By Morgan Olsen
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When out-of-towners start talking about Chicago pizza, they tend to get hung up on deep dish. The supremely gooey, decadently thick style certainly has its moments, but real Chicagoans know that the city is rife with options from near and far, like tavern, New Haven, Detroit and Neapolitan. And though we may not lay claim to all of these styles, we know some Chicago chefs who do them justice. We tracked down the best pizza in Chicago at slice shops, Italian restaurants and delivery-only ghost kitchens. Consider this list a rite of passage that should top your list bucket list of things to do in Chicago. Put down the folk and knife and prepare to get your hands dirty with the best pizza in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best restaurants in Chicago

Best pizza in Chicago

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Photograph: Martha Williams

1. Vito and Nick’s Pizzeria

Restaurants Pizza Ashburn

Serving pizza to Chicagoans since 1949 (although this location opened in ’65), Vito and Nick’s is the king of thin-crust pizza done Chicago-style. With Old Style on tap and the Bears on TV, surly waitresses shuffle bubbling-hot pies to a full room of revelers. The crispy but pliant crust, tangy sauce and top-quality sausage separate this pizza from other Chicago thin-crusts. The wait times for pie can run a little long on weekends, so order your drinks by the pitcher and enjoy a true Chicago scene. (Or, thanks to a glut of national attention after the Food Network blew through town, scan the walls for plenty of reading material.)

Middle Brow Bungalow
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

2. Middle Brow Bungalow

Bars Breweries Logan Square

The flame-kissed pies at this Logan Square brewery might just rival the beer that Middle Brow is best known for. Expect a short but sweet menu of options, like the classic margherita with fresh mozzarella and herbs or the mushroom with melty fontina and caramelized onions. And because the dough's made in-house daily, there's not a dud on the menu. The only mistake you can make is not pairing your 'za with a beer: The namesake lager is just right for a picnic at nearby Palmer Square Park.

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Marie's pizza & liquors
Photo: Jessica Dixon

3. Marie’s Pizza & Liquors

Restaurants Pizza Albany Park

Contrary to most of the country’s opinion, Chicago does not exist on deep dish alone. In fact, most locals really dig tavern-style pizza, a pie with cracker-thin crust topped with bubbled, almost crispy cheese that’s cut into squares rather than triangles. 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, delivery and an expansive outdoor patio that's lined with umbrella-topped picnic tables.

burt's place, burts place, deep dish, pizza
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

4. Burt’s Place

Restaurants Suburbs

After going on a two-year hiatus, Burt's reopened in 2017, much to the delight of its longtime fans. The beloved Morton Grove pizzeria specializes in deep dish pies that boast a signature caramelized crust. Stuff yours with whatever you want (we're fans of sausage, onions and mixed bell peppers) and toss in some jalapeño poppers and cannoli for good measure. The new and improved carryout menu makes it easy to get in and out without braving the wait list.

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Pizza Friendly Pizza
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

5. Pizza Friendly Pizza

Restaurants American Ukrainian Village

In a flip that epitomizes 2020, Bite Cafe is now Pizza Friendly Pizza, a scrappy but hopeful collaboration between friends Noah Sandoval (Oriole, Kumiko) and Bruce Finkelman, the managing partner of 16" on Center (Empty Bottle, Bite Cafe). Like its name suggests, the star of the menu is pizza—more specifically, thick Sicilian-style 'za that sports a bubbly crust that's anchored by crispy, caramelized edges. Here's the fun part: To order, head to the alley behind the building, where you'll find a small window and host stand plus several tables with plants hanging overhead.

Hot Doug's Pizza, piece pizza, piece, 100 best, bradley danner
Photograph: Bradley Danner

6. Piece Brewery and Pizzeria

Restaurants Pizza Wicker Park

Two things keep this place from going the route of sports-bar-beer-bong culture: excellent house brews and expertly executed pizzas. The crispy pies hold a lot of weight, so after you choose your pizza style—red, white, BBQ or New Haven–style “plain” (red sauce, no mozzarella)—start piling on the toppings. (If you’re really going New Haven–style, try one with clams and bacon.) Wash it down with a pitcher of the crisp Golden Arm, and you’ll never disparagingly say “pizza and beer joint” again.

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Coalfire Opens In Southport
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

7. Coalfire

Restaurants Pizza River West/West Town

Coalfire comes out among the top of the thin crust pizza joints in Chicago. The little spot in West Town (with a second location in Southport Corridor) turns out blistered pies with a chewy, slightly crisp edge from its 800-degree coal oven. While the crust is a work of art itself, the toppings are inspired—soft whipped peaks of ricotta balance coins of spicy pepperoni; thin slices of fiery 'nduja, a spreadable Calabrian salami, with fresh mozzarella; and a garlicky white pie are among the standouts.

Pequod's serves pan pizza.
Photograph: Martha Williams

8. Pequod’s Pizza

Restaurants Pizza Lincoln Park

If you ask an honest-to-god Chicagoan to name their favorite deep dish pizza, chances are they'll point you to Pequod's, where the signature pan pies are ringed with caramelized cheese and the slices are massive—one piece makes a meal. Add veggies to lighten it up a bit, or go all in, with the sausage pie, dotted with perfectly spiced, ping-pong ball–size pieces of seasoned ground pork. It's not hard to see what all the fuss is about.

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Reno Pizza
Photograph: Morgan Olsen

9. Reno

Restaurants Italian Logan Square

We can't think of a more dynamic duo than pizza and bagels, and lucky for us, Logan Square's Reno specializes in both carbolicious delicacies. Swing by in the morning for breakfast sandwiches and return again in the evening to grab a pie for the road. The menu is rife with far-out flavor combinations that totally work, like the Spanish Monster, with mushrooms, chorizo, cream sauce, scallions and mozzarella. You can certainly share the 14-inch pizzas, but we recommend one per person if you're hoping to have leftovers.

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Photograph: Martha Williams

10. Roots Handmade Pizza

Restaurants Pizza East Village

Chicagoans have become accustomed to a variety of different styles of pizza: Neapolitan, New York, Detroit and Sicilian. But what the heck is a Quad Cities-style pie? The crust is crafted with dark-roasted malt, which gives it a subtle sweetness and great chew. From there, a slightly spicy sauce is layered with toppings and blanketed in cheese. After baking in the oven, each pie is cut into long strips with a pair of scissors. No matter where you're from, it's a style worth trying—if only for that satisfyingly sweet crust.

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Gluten-free pizza, Spacca Napoli, chi_fd_GlutenFreePizza_ss_0714
Photograph: Martha Williams

11. Spacca Napoli

Restaurants Pizza Uptown

This place is serious about Neapolitan 'za: A custom-built, oak-stoked oven kicks out bubbling beauties with perfectly charred peaks and valleys in less than two minutes. The hand-formed crust is paper-thin at the center and thicker toward the edges and has the unmistakable chew of a true Neapolitan pie. Aside from the simple marinara or Margherita, toppings run the gamut from fennel-flecked sausage to bitter rapini to prosciutto ribbons. Add a humble Italian wine and beer list, after-dinner options such as espresso and limoncello, and you’ve got a great night out.

Paulie Gee's pizza
Photograph: Morgan Olsen

12. Paulie Gee’s

Restaurants Pizza Logan Square

Usually we'd shy away from putting a Brooklyn import on a Chicago list, but we can't deny Paulie Gee's pull. And once you try the springy, bubbly, fire-kissed crust at this Logan Square shop, you'll be powerless, too. While dine-in service is temporarily suspended, pizza lovers can walk up to the takeout window and peruse a lineup of New York-style slices that are reheated on-site and packaged up for easy transport. It's a quick walk to Logan Square Park, which offers plenty of seats in the grass and around the Illinois Centennial Monument.

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Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza
Photograph: Martha Williams

13. Lou Malnati’s

Restaurants Pizza Loop

There are two kinds of Chicagoans: Giordano’s people and Lou Malnati’s people. Lou's has been slinging deep dish pies since 1971 and is known for its flaky, buttery crust. Each pizza is stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese from Wisconsin, vine-ripened California tomatoes and an exclusive sausage blend. Don't fuss with anything else on the menu—including pasta dishes or thin-crust 'za. A large deep dish pizza easily serves (and fills) four hungry adults.

phil's pizza, jaclyn rivas
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

14. Phil’s Pizza

Restaurants Pizza Bridgeport

Every Chicago neighborhood has its favored thin-crust pie, and for decades, Bridgeport’s preference has been Phil’s. Regulars will tell you all about the former dining room, which was located on Halsted and exuded a bit more charm (and plenty of wood paneling), but the recipe hasn't changed. The owners took their old-school Blodgett ovens with them, and the crispy exterior crust, chewy interior crust and hunks of fennel-flecked sausage honor the tasty tradition of the original.

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Marcin Cymer

15. Nella Pizza e Pasta

Restaurants Pizza Hyde Park

Owner Nella Grassano is a professionally trained pizzaiola, which essentially means that she's a bonafide pizza expert (talk about a dream job). Grassano and her husband, Francesco, use this training to crank out pristine Neapolitan pies at their Hyde Park restaurant. Go classic with the stripped-down Nella D.O.P., with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil—or turn things up a notch with the pescatore, a pie loaded with calamari, shrimp, mussels and clams.

Dantes.venue.jpg
Photograph: Martha Williams

16. Dante’s Pizzeria

Restaurants Pizza Logan Square

Welcome to the “Nine Levels of Hell”: poblano peppers, pepperoni, giardiniera, bacon, fresh garlic, jalapeño, sausage, red onion and banana peppers, together forming the “Inferno.” This pizza sounds terrifying, but trust us, it won’t hurt. The heat’s present but mild-mannered, the thin crust is pleasantly chewy, and the thing is huge. Both of Dante's locations are currently closed to dine-in customers, so order an entire pie (or a couple slices) for delivery or pick up to get a taste of pizza heaven after a particularly hellish day.

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Five Squared Pizza
Photograph: Morgan Olsen

17. Five Squared Pizza

Ideal for the indecisive, Five Squared Pizza lets you select four different Detroit-style slices per box, and the flavors available are anything but ordinary. The cheeseburger is loaded with ground beef, caramelized onions, American cheese and classic burger sauce, while the Nashville hot chicken comes topped with spicy chicken tenders and comeback sauce. A new menu goes live every Sunday, and deliveries are made on Friday night. You'll need to slide into their DMs to place your order.

Bonci Pizzeria
Arianna Giuntini

18. Bonci Pizzeria

Restaurants Pizza West Loop

Bonci is the 31 Flavors of pizza, in a more elevated, carbo-loaded sort of way. No two visits are the same, thanks to a rotating cast of Roman pies that guests are invited to order by the strip. The crust eats like focaccia, and you can expect to find classic and imaginative toppings like crispy potatoes, spicy eggplant, silky lox and creamy ricotta. Three or four strips is the perfect serving for a hungry adult, and the staff at Bonci is happy to heat them up on-site or give you detailed instructions to do it at home.

Where to find more pizza in Chicago

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