Best Pizza In Chicago? 7 Expert Foodies Tell You Where To Get It!

When it comes to reviewing food, it seems as though everyone wants to put in their two cents (we're looking at you, Yelpers!). While we think you're entitled to your own opinion, sometimes it's best to leave the true critiquing up to the folks that know cool cuisine best. We're talking about Chicago's top food bloggers — who basically eat for a living.
Now, they're giving us a taste of their palate preferences. The topic du jour? Pizza, a Chicago staple that never gets old. And, trust — these seven experts of eats don't beat around the bush when it comes to dishing on the city's best pies. Any way you slice it, we suggest taking their taste buds for a spin — and then let us know if you like what you chew.
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Liz Grossman, managing editor of Plate Magazine.

"Right now I love the wood-fired pizza at Balena. The perfectly soft and slightly sweet crust with a perfect 'chew' and wood-fire char is the best canvas for unexpected and nicely portioned topping combinations like mortadella, pistachio pesto, and mozzarella. But my favorite of them all is the mushroom, fontina, taleggio scallion, and thyme. The cheeses aren't piled on to the point of being overly greasy or gooey, and the vegetables and herbs balance out each bite even more."
Balena,1633 North Halsted Street (between North Avenue and Concord Place), 312-867-3888.

Follow Plate on Twitter, or online, and read all about Liz's dining adventures on her blog, Elizabites.

Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Kauck >
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Lisa Shames, Chicago Social dining editor, FrontDesk editor-in-chief.

"I'm sure I wasn't the only one who had an eye-roll moment when the servers here announce how the flour used for the bread, pasta, and pizza is milled in-house by chef Jared Van Camp at Nellcôte. But rather than just some PR ploy to get more mileage on the whole locally sourced trend, you can actually taste the difference. But it was the Neopolitan-inspired pizzas — in particular, the fennel sausage one with hen of the woods mushrooms, parmigiano, and mozzarella— with their wonderfully chewy yet still crispy crusts that made me a true believer."
Nellcôte, 833 West Randolph Street (between Green and Peoria Streets), 312-432-0500.

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Photo: Courtesy of Potluck Creative
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Steve Dolinsky (the Hungry Hound), ABC 7's lifestyle and food reporter.

"Naples native Nella Grassano cut her crusts, so to speak, at Spacca Napoli. I never loved their soupy middle section, but her new namesake in Lincoln Park (Pizzeria da Nella Cucina Napoletana) is producing very good pies using imported cheeses and firing them in a brick beehive oven fueled by fire. She keeps her ingredients simple and doesn’t use inferior products. Her crusts could use a tad more char, but that’s just quibbling."
Pizzeria da Nella Cucina Napoletana, 1443 West Fullerton Avenue (between Greenview and Janssen Avenues), 773-281-6600.

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Photo: Courtesy of Pizzeria da Nella Cucina Napoletana
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Heather Sperling, Chicago editor of

"My favorite pizza in the city is (unsurprisingly) Great Lake — specifically the tarte flambée-style pizza with crème fraîche, onions, bacon, and a good crack of black pepper. They've done a few iterations (last time I was there, it was showered with scallions), and every one I've had is superb. I know some that may argue it isn't really pizza, due to the lack of cheese and tomato sauce...but it's spectacular, blistered, chewy crust with excellent toppings, so I think it absolutely counts."
Great Lake, 1477 West Balmoral Avenue,(between Glenwood Avenue and Clark Street), 773-334-9270.

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Photo: Courtesy of Tasting Table
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Tammy Green, co-founder of the Chicago Bites blog.

"Roots Handmade Pizza is a nice alternative to the thin crust and deep-dish selections around town. Their crust is made with malt, which results in a chewy, sweet and tender base for the pie. I find the house-made sausage or mozzarella to be nice taste contrasts; though, I sometimes pile on the roasted corn and basil toppings instead. A bottle of the house Root Beer is a must!"
Roots Handmade Pizza, 1924 West Chicago Avenue (between Wolcott and Winchester Avenues), 773-645-4949.

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Photo: Courtesy of Roots Handmade Pizza
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David Hammond, founder and moderator of, food blogger on, weekly food contributor to Wednesday Journal, and food detective at the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Like Nick Gambino, owner of Cucina Paradiso, I grew up Italian, and wheat was a big part of our diet. So, maybe it was a little odd when I opted to try his gluten-free pizza. On this crust I had one of my favorite combinations, prosciutto and arugula, no cheese. The gluten-free crust was chewy, crunchy but not at all dry, and somewhat buttery, which provided a good contrast to the arugula. This was probably the best gluten-free crust I've had. No doubt, most people prefer wheat-based pasta, bread, and pizza; it's what most of us have enjoyed all our lives. But if you have to avoid gluten, or if you just want to limit your gluten intake, the non-wheat pizza at Cucina Paradiso is a good and delicious way to go."
Cucina Paradiso, 814 North Boulevard (between Kenilworth and Oak Park Avenues), Oak Park, 708-848-3434.

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Photo: Courtesy of Cucina Paradiso
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David Tamarkin, Time Out Chicago restaurants and bars editor.

"I like deep dish pizza, but I can't eat it very often — once a year tops. It's just too intense. Pequod's makes a style of pizza that is just as hearty and aggressive as deep dish, but a little more manageable. I like the crispy burnt cheese on the outer crust. And I like the vibe in here, which is somewhere between pizza parlor and scary roadside bar."
Pequod's Pizzeria, 2207 North Clybourn Avenue (between Webster and Greenview Avenues), 773-327-1512.

Follow David on Twitter, online at Time Out Chicago, or his personal blog.

Photo: Courtesy of Pequod's Pizza