The Best Pizza Places In Chicago

Our guide to Chicago’s best pizza spots—from deep dish to thin crust and beyond.

photo credit: Sandy Noto

Pizza can become a heated topic in Chicago—family feuds spanning generations have been started by people giving their opinions on deep dish vs. tavern-style. And new styles have crept in too, creating whole new types of pizza fights for us to have. But we fight because we care, and we care because pizza is a nearly perfect food that everyone likes. If you don’t like it, you should take a good, long look in the mirror. That, at least, we can all agree on.

This is a guide to Chicago's best pizza. You’ll find a diverse collection of pizza styles, in a variety of neighborhoods. Embrace the pizza debate by having an informed opinion. Then go ahead and throw all the chairs you want.



Lincoln Park

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCasual Weeknight DinnerClassic EstablishmentDeliveryImpressing Out of TownersSerious Take-Out Operation


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A recent survey of Chicago transplants proved that Pequod’s was a contributing factor in their decision to relocate here. OK, that’s not true, but whenever an out-of-towner asks us where they should get deep dish, we say “Pequods”—usually before they finish their question. Pequod’s serves pan-style pies, with sauce underneath the toppings (unlike traditional Chicago-style deep dish, which has sauce on top). What sets Pequod’s apart from the average pan-style is its “caramelized” crust, also known as the burnt edges of crispy cheese surrounding the pie. The crust itself is thick and airy with a great crunch, and the pies only have a little bit of sauce. Pequod's isn't just one of the best places for pizza in the city, it's one of the best restaurants in Chicago.

Spacca Napoli in Ravenswood makes great Neapolitan pies. They have bubbled, puffy edges and the thin crust is just perfect. And while you could only get them for dine-in or takeout before, they’re now also available for delivery.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

As this spot's name has given away, Professor Pizza's focus is on pizza. Right now they're operating out of West Loop rooftop bar Tetto, and their incredible NY-style pies are the main reason you should go there this instant. The NY pie has a flavorful crust, with a puffy edge and a beautifully charred undercarriage. There are a lot of creative topping combinations worth your attention (like gyro). But even their simple pies—like the cheese made with aged mozzarella, a spicy thick sauce, shaved garlic, and parm—have unexpected complexity. The addition of a soubise base, fried rosemary, and hot honey on their NY-style white pie makes us want to call Infatuation NYC for the sole purpose of bragging that it’s in our city, not theirs.

Pizza Friendly Pizza in Ukrainian Village sells Sicilian pan-style pizza by the slice (you can also pre-order a full pie) and it’s f*cking fantastic. The thick crust is incredibly light and airy with a slight sourdough-y flavor, and the tomato sauce is rich and spicy. They have several varieties available, like the charred pepperoni (that are perfect little grease cups), miso mushroom, and specials like the Apple—which has apple, gouda, caramelized onions, and hot honey.

Vito and Nick’s has been around since the 1950s and is a Southside institution worthy of its place in the Chicago Pizza Hall of Fame (which doesn’t actually exist but probably should). Their specialty is cracker-crust pizza, which is super thin and crispy, with bubbly browned cheese and spicy tomato sauce.

Two reasons we really enjoy Bob’s is that there’s no “Bob” (the chef just likes the name) and this place boldly claims it makes “Pilsen-style” pizza (which isn’t a thing). But we love it because it’s the kind of fantastic pizza we immediately want all of our East Coast friends to try. The crust is made with beer and it’s pliable enough to fold, with a slightly-charred undercarriage and puffy outer edge. We’re big fans of the specialty pies here—the pesto and stracciatella is a stand-out and so is the pickle (with mortadella and garlic cream), which sounds weird, but we promise is good.

As we mentioned, Pequod’s is our favorite deep dish in Chicago. But as the ’90s Bulls can attest, dynasties end, and George’s is legitimate competition for the best deep dish in the city. The reason is that this carryout spot uses a 48-hour cold-fermented sourdough. It creates a deliciously yeasty crust that’s very similar to focaccia, and has a crispy cornmeal base. There’s a fantastic balance of cheese to sweet tomato sauce, and like a traditional deep dish, the cheese is underneath the sauce. Oh, and George’s has a caramelized edge—not as pronounced as Pequod’s, but wonderful all the same. There are a bunch of varieties but our favorite is the simple cup and char pepperoni pie. Just be aware that these pizzas are made in very limited quantities, so you might need to order a week in advance to get yours.

Milly’s is a small Uptown pizza place taking its inspiration from Pequod’s. This means Milly’s has the same kind of pan-style deep dish with a caramelized crust that we all know, love, and keeps increasing our census numbers. What makes Milly’s different is that this pie has dollops of fresh mozzarella, making it a bit cheesier. They only make 45 pies a day, so you should place your order a day or two in advance, which you can do right here.

This counter-service spot in Clearing has been around since the ‘60s, and specializes in stuffed deep dish that we describe as "tidy." It’s not a cheese bomb, but has enough stretch to remind you that you are, in fact, in Chicago. The sauce is fresh and acidic, so it cuts through the richness of the cheese, and the flaky crust has a buttery flavor. Plus, the ingredients go all the way to the end of the crust, so you don’t have a boring breadstick waiting for you at the end. Also worth noting is that this place is right next to Midway Airport, so please come here instead of the Home Run Inn on Concourse B.

Naudi’s is a thin crust spot in Lincoln Park, and the pizza here shares some DNA with a Neapolitan pie. It’s cooked in a wood-fired oven, the cheese in the center is almost liquidy, and the slices droop nicely when you pick them up. But the edge of the crust is crunchy like a cracker, which creates an enjoyable contrast with the soft center. You have two pies to choose from (a margherita and a white) and about eight toppings to choose from. But thanks to basil, a wonderful four-cheese blend, and rich sauces on both, even a plain pie is really flavorful.

If you’re a transplanted New Yorker searching for big pieces of pizza you can fold, this is where you’ll find them. Jimmy’s serves huge, perfectly greasy slices on little paper plates. Come for the basics, like a plain cheese pizza with red sauce and a garlicky white one topped with blobs of ricotta.

Forno Rosso in the West Loop also makes fantastic Neapolitan pies, and we like them just as much as the ones at Spacca Napoli. But if you’re ordering from Forno Rosso, consider getting a calzone too.

Rounding out the Neapolitan trifecta is Nella Pizza e Pasta, a fantastic Neapolitan pizza place in Hyde Park. The pizzas are cooked in a wood-burning oven and have the perfectly-charred crust you hope for in a Neapolitan pie.

Paulie Gee’s is from Brooklyn and might at first seem like an unnecessary addition to the Chicago pizza scene. But if you haven’t already, you need to try their Neapolitan and Detroit-style pies. Go for any variety that comes with hot honey (and order extra honey to go with it). While you’re doing that, we’ll be busy investigating how they got so good at making Midwestern pizza.

One thing this list makes abundantly clear is that Chicago isn’t just a deep dish city—despite what the rest of the world thinks. Robert’s in Streeterville showcases this fact with its yeasty, airy, slightly crispy thin-crust pies. And this place has a variety of options to choose from, like fennel with pepperoni and honey, and sausage with caramelized onions. Plus, they have a lovely patio on the water that has a view of the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier.

Middle Brow is a cute brewpub in Logan Square with a short menu of mainly pizza and toasts. And their pies are fantastic, with a delicious and chewy hand-tossed crust with a puffy, bubbled edge. There isn’t a huge variety to choose from, but our favorites are the margherita, pepperoni, and sausage with green olives. All have just the right amount of fresh mozzarella and a slightly sweet tomato sauce we really like. But all the pies use great ingredients, and have just the right amount of sauce so the flavor of the sourdough crust shines through.

If you want deep dish (and not the pan-style variety), order Lou Malnati’s. It’s the best version of classic Chicago-style pizza, meaning its sauce is on top with the cheese and toppings underneath. The crust is buttery and flaky, there’s a ton of cheese, and the whole thing is pretty much a gooey and delicious mess. The weight of it when the delivery person puts it in your arms might make you nervous, but just go with it. Treat it like it’s your baby and you’ll be fine.

The original Bonci is a counter-service pizza spot in Rome that has its own Chef’s Table episode, and the West Loop location is the first outside of Italy. The pizza here is served “al taglio,” meaning cut (with scissors) and sold by weight. The crust is airy and thick like focaccia, and there isn’t much sauce, so the toppings are the focus. There are around 12 rotating varieties—combinations like potato with rosemary, mushroom and sausage, and ‘nduja with ricotta. Even if it sounds strange, it works. 

My Pi Pizza in Bucktown may not have indoor seating, but its Chicago-style deep dish will make you risk getting tomato sauce all over your dashboard. The sauce is sweet, zesty, and not too soupy, with juicy chunks of San Marzanos. The chewy crust has a yeasty flavor and a crispy edge. And the cheese-to-sauce-to-toppings ratio is perfect—each bite is loaded without feeling overwhelming. If you can’t wait to eat at home but don’t want your car to look like a murder scene, there’s a makeshift picnic area in the parking lot.

Piece in Wicker Park holds its own with its New Haven-style pies, which have a soft and chewy crust, lots of red sauce, and parmesan cheese instead of mozzarella (so no gooey cheese bombs here, unless you ask for them). As a bonus, Piece is also a brewery that makes some solid beer.

Five Squared Pizza is a takeout and delivery-only spot in Lincoln Park that does Detroit-style pizza by the slice. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the menu changes weekly, and is released on Mondays. Their interesting topping combinations are worth seeking out. Their long menu has fun varieties like vodka sausage, PBJJ (topped with pepperoni, bacon jam, and jalepeños), and spinach and artichoke. You can mix and match your squares, and heat them up yourself at home—the airy crust is guaranteed to still be hot and crunchy.

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