Chicago may be the home of deep-dish pizza, but true Italian-style pies, with super-thin and slightly charred crusts, are making serious inroads. At this joint, where authenticity is prized above all else, the owner has installed a brick oven whose parts were brought over from Naples and constructed by Neapolitan workers. Some of the toppings may vary from the home country—black truffles and porcini mushrooms share space on the menu with classic combinations like the Margherita—but the tastes and textures are pure Mezzogiorno. The noise level and the crowds can, on busy nights, be all too evocative of the teeming Naples neighborhood from which the restaurant takes its name, so escape to the sidewalk tables if the weather allows.
Tip: A dose of Averna, a sweet, slightly bitter digestif, can soothe a stomach that couldn’t say no to the last slice.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.