Monday, November 23, 2009

A Guide to Neopolitan Pizza in Chicago

Coalfire. Nella's. Spacca Napoli.

That's the order in which you should try Neopolitan pizza in Chicago.

I've been waiting for months for Nella's to open. It's walking distance from where we live and I was anxious to see if they would impress. Nella's finally opened on Friday and we were there the following night.

Nella herself was the pizza maker at Spacca Napoli and the pizzas at her new establishment on Clark, just north of Fullerton, have very similar crust but a much deeper flavor. My only complaint about Spacca Napoli's pizzas were that they tasted like a pizza that lacked any taste of a pizza. Too bland. But their gelato! Salads! Antipasti! It's a decent place to dine, but they need some improvements to the main dish.

So Nella did that at her place, but she also added a bar and some big TVs so it's a bit noisier. Still, it's a nice family spot. She does have a giant cooking-school style mirror above the open pizzaiolo station, so if your seat is oriented toward the back you can watch a pizza being built. My children were also encouraged to go back and have a look at the cooks themselves, which is always nice. Earning other kid friendly points, the young children at the table next to us had bunny ears on their pizzas.

Anyway, at Nella's we had a few pizza Margheritas and a Diavolo (spicy pepperoni). I started with an arugula/Parmesan salad that arrived perfectly dressed with lemon, salt and olive oil. We'll try the gelato on another visit.

Still, Coalfire makes the best pizza, hands down. And when going out for pizza what I want is REALLY GOOD PIZZA. Maybe someday they'll serve lovely salads, salumi and gelati but for now, we'll continue to make it our family pizza joint.

1321 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60642-6447
(312) 226-2625

Nella's Pizza Napolitana (soon to be renamed Francesca's Pizzeria Napoletana)
2423 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614

Spacca Napoli
1769 W Sunnyside Ave
Chicago, IL 60640-5312
(773) 878-2420

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