The best pizza in Chicago

Whether hawking deep-dish or turning out thin-crust pies, these are the spots where you can find the best Chicago pizza
Piece Brewery and Pizzeria
Photograph: Bradley Danner Piece Brewery and Pizzeria
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Chicago's deep-dish pizza is legendary, but we have to break it to you: To get the best pizza in Chicago, you have to get out of River North. Otherwise, you'll miss out on the remarkable, cheese-laden specimens at Pequod's in Lincoln Park. Since as many people love deep-dish as love to hate it, we're happy to inform you that Chicago is home to many other pizza styles, from New Haven (Piece) to Neapolitan (Spacca Napoli) to Neapolitan-ish (Reno). For a real taste of Chicago, head south to the stalwart Vito & Nick's, which has been slinging cracker-thin pies since 1949. Here are our picks for the very best pizza in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Our picks for the best restaurants in Chicago

Best pizza in Chicago

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VitoandNicks.pizzerias.jpg
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Pizza

Vito and Nick’s Pizzeria

icon-location-pin 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.)

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Pequod's serves pan pizza.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Pizza

Pequod’s Pizza

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park

With exposed brick and plasma-screen TVs, Pequod's is firmly a neighborhood bar. But Pequod's is a bar that serves some of the best pizza in the city. The signature pan pizza is ringed with caramelized cheese, and 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.

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Restaurants

Pizzeria Bebu

icon-location-pin River North

Just when we thought that Chicago had too many pizza joints, Pizzeria Bebu opened its doors with 25 pies that highlight delicious seasonal ingredients and genius flavor combinations. Purists will dig the pepperoni, which is accessorized with spicy Calabrian chiles, fresh basil and melty Parmesan cheese. Looking for something a bit more adventurous? You can't go wrong with the Garden State, which is dressed up with with mozzarella, broccoli rabe, pickled jalapeño, red onion and ricotta. And because guests can order each flavor by the half pie, you can mix and match to avoid FOMO. 

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Restaurants

Burt’s Place

icon-location-pin Suburbs

After going on a two-year hiatus, Burt's reopened in 2017, much to the delight of its longtime fans. The 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 enjoy a glass of wine while you wait. Psst: You can still call in a carry-out order, which is arguably the easiest way to get your fix. 

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ArtofPizza.Venue.jpg
Photograph: Brendan Lekan
Restaurants, Pizza

The Art of Pizza

icon-location-pin Lake View

Art of Pizza has a stand-out pie, and whether you order an entire 12-inch pizza to go or stop in for a slice, you’re sure to get the authentic Chicago pizza experience. The cracker-like crust at Art of Pizza is typical of many of deep dish joints, but with the crisped golden crust you can only get from a well-seasoned pan, they do it best here.

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Coalfire Opens In Southport
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Pizza

Coalfire

icon-location-pin 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, 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. The restaurant fills up fast, but there's always takeout.

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Marie's pizza & liquors
Photo: Jessica Dixon
Restaurants, Pizza

Marie’s Pizza & Liquors

icon-location-pin Albany Park

Contrary to most of the country’s opinion, Chicago does not exist on deep-dish alone. The other kind is “tavern-style pizza,” a pie with cracker-thin crust topped with bubbled, almost crispy, cheese that’s square-cut rather than pie-cut. Since 1940, this liquor store/bar/restaurant has been serving a very tasty version. Sausage is the preferred topping among the dudes sucking down beers at the bar, and we agree that the fennel-seed-flecked Italian sausage is great. 

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Paulie Gee's
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl
Restaurants, Pizza

Paulie Gee's

icon-location-pin Logan Square

The Logan Square outpost of the Brooklyn pizza joint serves up the same wood-fired pizzas it has in its other locations, all coming from an oven blasting at a hot 1,000 degrees. Crispy crusts filled with bubbles dominate the menu—like the Daniela Spinaci, with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh mozzarella, sliced garlic, baby spinach and olive oil. Want to depart from the original? Grab one of the Logan Squares, a version of Detroit-style pizza with a thicker crust and a crispy edge.

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Pizzerias.Piece.jpg
Restaurants, Pizza

Piece

icon-location-pin 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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Restaurants, Pizza

Spacca Napoli

icon-location-pin Uptown

This place is serious about Neapolitan pizza: 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.

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Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co.
Restaurants, Pizza

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co.

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park

Tucked in a cozy basement space in Lincoln Park, this pizzeria has only a handful of tables and a large tourist draw, so you may want to avoid the wait at peak hours. Instead of the traditional deep dish or pan, these pizzas are actually pot pies, built bottom-up in a ramekin and baked with the crust on top. Served tableside, the pie is flipped upside-down and the fillings slide into the resulting bread bowl crust. Overflowing with a sausage-laced bolognese sauce and lava-like cheese filling, this is pizza to the extreme. You can’t provide a better spectacle for out of town guests requesting a Chicago pizza.

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Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Pizza

Lou Malnati's

icon-location-pin 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.

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Roots.venue03.jpg
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Pizza

Roots Handmade Pizza

icon-location-pin East Village

Chicago residents 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 over, 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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Bonci Pizzeria
Arianna Giuntini
Restaurants, Pizza

Bonci Pizzeria

icon-location-pin West Loop

Bonci is the namesake of legendary Italian pizza maker Gabriele Bonci, whose landmark Roman shop Pizzerium slings some of the best scissor-cut (al taglio) slices in Italy. The West Loop storefront marks his debut on U.S. soil, and those springy, crispy pies piled with all manner of artisanal goodies taste like nothing you can get around here. Pizza choices may include anchovies draped over oozy burrata, fior de latte with crimson ribbons of prosciutto crudo, or cubes of potato blanketed in lightly blistered mozzarella.

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Butternut pizza at Reno
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Italian

Reno

icon-location-pin Logan Square

The all-day bagels-and-pizza joint from the Telegraph crew is a casual coffee shop by day—so casual it feels almost like a cafeteria—and only slightly less casual at night, when proper table service kicks in. But this is nothing more than a great neighborhood pizza parlor, albeit one with excellent house-made pastas, a killer mizuna salad and house-made hot sauces on the tables.

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Photograph: Marcello Rodarte
Restaurants, Pizza

Bella Bacino’s

icon-location-pin Loop

If you told anyone the pizza was "heart healthy" while they were chowing down on the stuffed spinach pizza at Bella Bacino's, they'd call you a liar. But it's true—it's been deemed as such, and it's a pretty damn good pie to boot. Filled to the brim with spinach, cheese, herbs and optional mushrooms (you should add them), the 'za is a great option for Loop workers and tourists alike.

Where to find more pizza in Chicago

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