There are few foods more classic to Chicago than Deep-Dish Pizza, and there are a lot of restaurants to find it (and therefore many opinions about it). If you think there’s a rivalry between White Sox and Cubs fans, try asking people to name the best pizza restaurant in Chicago! There’s no definite answer, so here are our picks for the Best Pizza places in Chicago (plural)!
- Pizzeria Uno – The One that Started It All
- Gino’s East – Next Stop on the Journey
- Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria – Keeping it In the Family
- Giordano’s – The Next Level
- Exchequer Restaurant & Pub – Pizza with a Side of Mafia
- Pequod’s Pizza – Not Burnt, Caramelized
- Bongiorno’s Cucina Italiana & Pizzeria – Cool It with the Deep Dish!
Best Chicago Pizza Restaurants— Deep-Dish, Thin Crust and Classic Chicago Food Tours
Pizzeria Uno – The One that Started It All
Before 1943, Chicago pizza was flat. Oftentimes eaten at taverns, it was crispier than a New York-style pizza and cut into rectangles for easy sharing. But in 1943, while Casablanca ignited movie screens across America, Alice Mae Redmond and Rudy Malnati ignited a new type of pizza at Pizzeria Uno: deep dish. This three-inch-thick pizza gave new meaning to the term pizza pie and heralded the next generation of pizza innovation. If you’re looking to experience the original deep dish, or if you think that modern-day cinema doesn’t hold a candle to Citizen Kane, Pizzeria Uno is the locale for you.
Gino’s East – Next Stop on the Journey
With the success of Pizzeria Uno’s famous Chicago pizza, Alice Mae was a chef in high demand. In 1966, she joined the newly opened “Gino’s East” where she stayed for twenty-three years until retiring. If you’re vegan, you can still get the deep dish experience at Gino’s East with a nut-free, vegan cheese. In addition to pizza, Gino’s operates its own craft brewery that has won four awards from the U.S. Open Beer Championship, including the gold medal-winning Lasalle St Lager.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria – Keeping it In the Family
Sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Rudy Malnati’s son Lou learned the ins and outs of pizza making at Pizzeria Uno, and in 1971, Lou opened up his own joint: the eponymous “Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria.” They’ve been sourcing their fresh mozzarella cheese from the same Wisconsin dairy farmer for over 40 years, and at every tomato harvest, they travel to California to select the crop in person. One of the most popular orders at Lou Malnati’s is their sausage pizza, which layers the bottom with a sausage patty so that every bite has an even amount of sausage. Giving back to the community is also important to Lou’s, and the Lou Malnati Cancer Research Foundation has raised more than $4 million to help find a cure.
Giordano’s – The Next Level
In 1973, Giordano’s took deep-dish pizza to the next level by turning it into a stuffed pizza. Yeah, that’s right; deep dish pizza became even more extra. They add an extra layer of bread above the cheese and below the tomato sauce, turning the pizza into a sandwich of sorts. And that means for the 45 minutes it takes to cook, that top layer of bread marinates in the succulent flavors of the tomato sauce. Surprisingly, this extra layer actually makes the pizza easier to eat than its non-stuffed counterparts!
Exchequer Restaurant & Pub – Pizza with a Side of Mafia
Exchequer doesn’t mess around when it comes to Chicago pizza. In 2019, they ranked as the 6th best Chicago-style pizza in the state of Illinois. Less than five minutes away from the Art Institute of Chicago, Exchequer is the perfect place to relax after an afternoon of browsing the Monets. Before it was Exchequer Restaurant & Pub, this location used to be a speakeasy frequented by Al Capone, and remnants of that time still exist there!
Pequod’s Pizza – Not Burnt, Caramelized
If you’re the person who loves the corner brownie, then Pequod’s Pizza is the joint for you. They’re known for the ring of caramelized crust that encircles the pizza, an effect caused by the way they layer their mozzarella cheese. Their pizzas are highly customizable, and unlike Lou Malnati’s thin layer of uniform sausage, the sausages that adorn a Pequod’s pizza are spread out and voluminous.
Bongiorno’s Cucina Italiana & Pizzeria – Cool It with the Deep Dish!
We spent a lot of time talking about deep-dish Chicago pizza because it’s the classic Chicago pizza, but some of the best Chicago pizza places in the city know better than to underestimate a well-made, thin-crust pizza. Bongiorno’s Pizzeria has everything you’d want from a family-run Italian establishment: delicious Chicago pizza made from scratch, refreshing gelato, juicy Italian beef sandwiches, and a location right alongside the best view of the Chicago River. This gem of a restaurant is laidback and homey compared to other Magnificent Mile restaurants, and it has a loyal following of regulars.
Bobby’s Bike Hike – A Bit of Everything
Although not a Chicago pizza establishment, Bobby’s Bike Hike is the top-rated food, walking, and bike tour company in Chicago. Explore the city and taste all the classic Chicago foods (including deep dish pizza) on any of the popular Chicago Food Tours.
- Bike through Chicago on a 21+ food tour called the Bikes, Bites & Brews – Chicago’s Signature Dishes Bike Tour. The tour includes a guided bike ride of the north side and downtown neighborhoods, a slice from one Chicago’s best deep-dish pizza restaurants, Chicago hot dogs, locally crafted beers, and dessert to top things off.
- If you prefer more of a stroll, the Chicago Favorites Walking & Food Tour feasts on iconic Chicago foods while walking around the heart of the Loop.