Battle for Chicago's Best Deep Dish Pizza

If there’s one thing I realize, Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza has what I would like to call the Buco Pie Syndrome.

What exactly is the Buco Pie Syndrome?  Buco Pie is one of the best desserts in Laguna, a province south of Manila in the Philippines.  Every store and every name that sells this pie claims to be 1) the original; and 2) the best.

It’s the same for the Deep Dish Pizza (also known as the Chicago-Style Pizza).  Each street has a store selling it, with each shop claiming to be the best.  The deep dish is a culinary pride of Chicago.  They’re very delicious, thanks to the overload of ingredients per pie.  Looks-wise, it is the extreme opposite of New York’s thin crust.  And come to think of it, the deep dish pizza is almost as thick as a quiche, pie, or a small cake.

The funny thing is appearance-wise, they all tend to look the same, as you will see.  Traditionally, the pizza has cheese on the bottom.  On top of it would be the toppings.  And finally, tomato sauce is spread on top.  The pizza is about 3 inches deep, which is why it is usually eaten with silverware rather than one’s hands.

So who has the best deep dish pizza?  Doing a very informal, three names still stand out: among residents 1) Gino’s East, 2) Giordano’s; and 3) Lou Malnati’s.  So I tried and reviewed all three to see which establishment has the best deep dish pizza in Chicago.

My verdict:

Gino's East - Chicago Deep Dish Pizza -
Who’s original, really?

3rd Place: Gino’s East

Gino's East - Chicago Deep Dish Pizza -

  • Among the three deep dish makers, I enjoyed Gino’s East the least (hey, nice rhyme there).  The tomato sauce just took over the show from the other ingredients.  While I personally liked it, many also do not like the crust, which tastes like hard cornbread rather than pizza crust.
2nd Place: Giordano’s
Giordano's Chicago Deep Dish Pizza -
  • This was a more tasty pizza.  However, while Gino’s tended to be overwhelming with the sauce, Giordano’s tended to be overwhelming with the mozarella cheese, stealing the show completely from the other ingredients.  If you are crazy about cheese, you will love Giordano’s.
Giordono's Chicago Deep Dish Pizza -
Now, that’s a loooot of cheese 🙂
And the Best Deep Dish Pizza of Chicago Goes to… Lou Malnati’s!
Lou Malnati's Chicago, Illinois -
  • This is my personal pick.  In my humble opinion, Lou Malnati’s had the right balance of cheese, sauce, and toppings.  It had the greatest taste, and the toppings all work together to create a taste you will love.Lou Malnati's Chicago Deep Dish Pizza -
  • Aside from the deep dish, you will also love the non-deep dish pizzas and salads of Lou Malnati’s.  Well, many people like Lou Malnati’s.  And perhaps these may be reasons why Bobby Flay and the Food Network chose them for a throwdown and not other establishments.  Lou Malnati’s is the tastiest from the first, all the way to the last bite.

    Lou Malnati's - Non-Deep Dish Pizza
    Deep Dish Pizza establishments also have non-deep dish pizzas. 🙂

I know people have their favorite.   Just to be clear, this is simply my personal review, and all three tasted fairly good. Here’s the bottom line: make sure you have a deep dish — or two — when you find yourself in Chicago.  And no matter what “team” they belong to, we know how Chicago’s residents are very proud of this dish.  And with good reason.

* Check the website of the three pizzerias as well as other reliable online directories to find out their exact addresses.

* Special thanks to my sister Gianina for some of the photos.

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