Best restaurants for pizza
One of my favorite places in Chicago is Balena's bar, where I like to order an amaro cocktail and a pizza, which has a fantastic chewy crust and toppings that range from classic (pepperoni, fennel sausage) to surprising (mortadella and pistachio pesto). The pizzas are big enough to split, especially if you're also getting an order of pasta (which you probably are).
Adding a wood-burning pizza oven to the new Ceres' Table location was an idea even smarter than changing addresses. That pizza oven, located smack in the middle of the restaurant, is the star of Ceres’ Table. The lightly charred crust is thin, nicely chewy and well-salted, and most are topped with fior di latte, a lovely mozzarella, plus combinations like sausage meatballs and crimini mushrooms. The pizzas are simple, but at $11–$14 apiece, they’re perfectly sized for one person to have with a glass of wine while sitting at the bar.
The Italian restaurant, which has locations in both River North and Taylor Street, has some excellent Italian small plates—and a solid pizza that's very thin in the center, with a puffy, chewy edge. Of the five available pizzas, which includes a margherita, I gravitate toward the soppressata e caciocavallo, which picks up heat from slices of soppressata.
The Neapolitan pies at Quartino are both solidly executed and affordable—basic pies start at $8 and go up to $15 for a duck prosciutto version. The delicate, bubbly crust works best with light toppings, like an arugula-dressed pie.
You can order pizza from any seat at Siena Tavern, but at the pizza bar, you'll see them make it in front of you and and you can peer into the oven as it cooks. It doesn't take long to make the pizzas, which have a pleasantly chewy edge and crisp base that holds up well to toppings like caramelized Brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes.