In Chicago, pizza is a touchy subject. If you ask a room full of locals where to get the best pizza, each person will point you in a different direction. However, if you ask where to eat the best Neapolitan pizza, you may receive a blank stare. Out of the thousands of restaurants in the city, less than five belong to the Verace Pizza Napoletana. This organization is the American Delegation of the Association Vera Pizza Napoletana that was founded in the early ‘80s by a group of pizza makers “looking to cultivate the culinary art of making Neapolitan pizza.”
Neapolitan pizza is baked in a stone oven for a very short time (60-90 seconds) at a high temperature (around 900 degrees) with an oak wood fire. So where is the best place in Chicago to try this particular ‘za? At Forno Rosso in the West Loop. The enchanting eatery is located at Randolph and Aberdeen (with a second location in Harlem). Pizza is served for brunch, lunch and dinner and in addition, they serve a variety of gluten-free pizzas. The cozy interior of the restaurant is the ideal space to kick back, enjoy a cocktail and eat a slice (or five) of pizza.
A Chicago brunch isn’t complete without a mimosa. Made with fresh squeezed orange juice and Mionetto Prosecco, its bubbles to juice ratio is on point. The brunch cocktail menu also includes a Grand Bellini made with peach puree, prosecco and a splash of Grand Marnier, as well as a traditional Bloody Mary that houses a San Marzano tomato blend.
The Salumi plate is served during brunch but resides on the lunch and dinner menus. On the day I visited we received hand cut Bresaola, Prosciutto, Soppressata, Salumi and Culatello with a selection of carefully selected artisan cheeses. Olives imported from Italy were served on the side, along with toasted bread. It was no surprise this classic spread paired well with bubbles.
Baked in true Neapolitan style, the mouthwatering Locale pizza wasn’t on the table for long. The thin crust wood fired pizza was topped with San Marzano tomato sauce, bubbling Fior di Latte mozzarella, locally sourced sausage, pungent Pecorino Romano cheese, organic mushrooms and fresh basil. The well-seasoned crust was extra crispy, lightly charred and soft to the bite.
The avocado toast embodies the spirit of Neapolitan cuisine – it’s simple, straightforward and boasts the freshest ingredients. Ciabatta bread is topped with creamy avocado, sumptuous burrata cheese and micro greens. The multi-colored cherry tomatoes on the side are bursting with flavor.
Oftentimes, executing simple food can be the most challenging. If something is wrong with the plate, it is glaringly obvious. At Forno Rosso, each dish is well-executed, made with love and celebrates the subtle intricacies of Neapolitan cuisine. If you want a true taste of Naples, head to Forno Rosso for brunch, lunch or dinner.
1048 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607 | www.fornorossopizzeria.com