Nella Pizzeria Napoletana—Best New Restaurants
2423 North Clark Street; 773-327-3400
In Chicago pizza circles (yes, there are Chicago pizza circles), Nella Grassano is a goddess. For many of us, there’s something vaguely arousing—or at least mildly suggestive—about watching the Naples-born pizzaiola in the mirror over her kitchen as she makes a gorgeous Margherita. It helps that many of Nella’s 17 pizzas are sensual wonders, particularly the airy fiorentina (mozzarella, ricotta, spinach, shaved parmigiano) and the brawny funghi e salsiccia (homemade sausage, tomatoes, mozzarella, mushrooms, basil, olive oil). But this glossy Lincoln Park spot is more than just a pizzeria for peeping Tommasinos. From the impeccable mare a mare assortment of seafood antipasti to the supersmooth chocolate tartufo sporting a thick ganache foundation, Nella’s is a full Italian experience—for voyeurs and normal people alike.
TIP: Accept the inherent tackiness of flat-screens in the bathrooms, and learn Italian hand gestures from the videos playing in there.
PRICE KEY: ¢ $10 to $19 $ $20 to $29 $$ $30 to $39 $$$ $40 to $49 $$$$ $50-plus
[Cost per person for dinner, excluding wine, tax, or tip]