1551 N. Wells, Chicago, IL, 60610 , Near North Side
Price: $$$$$

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Gallucci - Chicago

No doubt about it, Chicago has come a long way since we were basically a town with just one type of pizza: the flat and crisp grid-cut tavern style, which remains a beloved Chicago favorite. Now, there are just so many options. Restaurants like Gallucci are introducing Chicagoans to some marvelous Neapolitan creations that may not have arrived in most of the United States (yet).

At the head of the Gallucci kitchen is Gianni Gallucci, an all-star player on the U.S. Pizza Team, who says he’s a traditionalist, working solidly within the respected and widely recognized culinary foodways of Neapolitan pizza-making (pizza, as we know it, was invented in Naples). Gallucci’s specialty is Tartufata, a white pizza made with black truffle cream and prosciutto di Parma aged, to concentrate flavor and firm the texture, for 600 days.

Chef Gallucci sticks to the fundamentals of Neapolitan pizza making, and his recipes, though many are time-honored classics, will surprise Chicagoans with stunning flavor combinations. Case in point: the Sorrentino is a white pizza with a beautiful composition of ingredients like thinly slice lemon, smoked mozzarella, bufala ricotta and basil).

Of the red pizzas, a crowd-favorite seems to be the Norma, with tomatoes (San Marzano, of course!), smoked provolone, sausage (house-made; did you have to ask?) fior di latte and extra virgin olive oil. Simple and spectacular, and there are lots more red ones that will also thrill you.

If you’d prefer pasta either before or instead of pizza, there’s a range of options, including Pasta e Piselli (broken spaghetti, guanciale, English peas, onion and aged Parmigiano Reggiano) and Nonna Carmella (wood-fired potato gnocchi, San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte and basil).

Gallucci is a pizza place that, unlike most, doesn’t forget about the importance of a good dessert. Migliaccio di Nonna Lucia is a ricotta and semolina cake with a topping of limoncello jam, and Angioletti Fritti is basic and the bomb: fried pizza dough, topped with Nutella and powdered sugar.

With a particularly good wine list, Gallucci offers a well-curated selection of reds and whites, by the glass and by the bottle (pricing is very reasonable; most bottles are around $50).