Pizza may not be your first idea when thinking of where to go on your next date. But there are several Chicago spots — some classics, some newer additions — that adequately set the scene for a you-tried-but-not-too-hard romantic rendezvous.
Think solid wine and beer offerings, a variety of innovative toppings and killer crusts, all set in non-divey digs.
Below, find our five recommendations for a variety of coal-fired or wood-fired squares and slices in relaxed and date-friendly settings.
Image from Forno Rosso
The situation: You’re not in the mood for overpriced West Loop small plates or cocktails, but don’t want to compromise on quality food. It’s a cozy-yet-modern space with a full bar if you’re still interested in a cocktail to pair with your slices.
Your order: Imported Italian burrata to start, and a red or white pizza like the Tartufo with rich black truffle pate, sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella and basil cranked out of Forno Rosso’s bright red Neapolitan pizza oven.
1048 W Randolph St. (map)
Image from Sandy Noto
The situation: You’re looking to impress a enologically inclined date with a solid wine list and incredible pizza crust.
Your order: Pizzeria Bebu is simple by design, which is what really makes its pizzas shine. Take advantage of the half-and-half pizza options to double your pizza journey. The Ode to Rubirosa and Carbonara pizza (be sure to ask for everything spice on your crust) are top picks here.
1521 N. Fremont St. (map)
Image from Longacre
The situation: You want a scene-y Detroit-style pizza without the scene, along with some tasty vegan options. This small neighborhood joint serves some of the best pizza outside of the Motor City.
Your order: The Red Devil with spicy pepperoni, chili roasted garlic and dollops of goat cheese is an absolute must-order. The Cheesy Vegan packs a medley of plant and nut cheeses, as well as red sauce, basil and cashew Parmesan.
1303 W. Wilson Ave. (map)
Image from Tim McCoy
The situation: You’re in the mood for a casual dinner-and-a-movie date. While the West Town location is the original, the Lakeview spot has ample seating and more of a date-friendly vibe. Head here before or after watching a flick at the neighboring Music Box Theatre.
Your order: The Pepperoni & Whipped Ricotta pie is a cult classic for a reason; crispy pepperoni with giant dollops of ricotta make it a winner every time. Coalfire’s charred and bubbly crust is also a tasty canvas for the Pistachio Pesto pizza with Berkshire sausage, burrata, and honey.
3707 N. Southport Ave. (map)
Image from US Pizza Team
The situation: You and your date can’t decide between woodfired and Detroit style pizza. Here, you can have both.
Your order: Logan Square’s outpost of the Brooklyn import is industrial hipster with a surplus of pizza options, including plenty of vegetarian and vegan pies. The menu rotates often, meaning you’re bound to try something new each time. Don’t leave without trying the US Pizza Cup Winner: white cheddar, mozzarella, pepperoni, bacon jam, red sauce, ricotta, basil and a drizzle of spicy honey.
2451 N Milwaukee Ave. (map)
Image from Coalfire