Best Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza: Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's

Updated on January 14, 2020
anunez49 profile image

Lover of food and all things delicious! I love recommending good eats from different destinations.

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

Oh, how I love thee, pizza! Pizza is beloved across the United States, and I'm sure that you have all heard about the greatest debate of all time: Which is better, a New York slice or Chicago deep-dish?

As a foodie and pizza aficionado, I can tell you all about the differences between these two types of pizza—but really, I'd rather you try them on your own and decide which is your personal favorite. At the end of the day, it all comes down to preference. For now, let's stick to the Chicago deep-dish as our main foodie focus.

Let's set some ground rules first. When you go to a Chicago-style pizzeria, make sure that you come hungry because the portion sizes are insane. However, you also need to be aware of the wait time. Usually, these pizzas are made to order and take about 45 minutes to prepare. Don't worry, they are worth the wait. If you can't wait that long, there are always a bunch of great appetizers on the menu that will definitely tide you over until the main course is ready.

Gino's East, downtown area
Gino's East, downtown area

Gino's East

I love to travel, and one of the reasons I love it so much is because I get to see and experience new and exciting things. One of these, obviously, is food. I've made the trip to Chicago on a number of occasions, and my favorite spot for some savory deep-dish style pizza has been Gino's East.

A staple in the city, this pizza place has a few locations across the city, and some in other states, as well. The decor is pretty amazing once you step inside, with writings on the walls and the aroma of pizza filling the air. It's got amazing ratings on Zagat. I highly recommend this joint.

Let's talk about the pizza. With a variety of choices including a typical handheld slice, the deep-dish pizza at Gino's East packs a powerful punch. Even just a regular cheese pizza tastes otherworldly. The crust is crunchy, the pizza is cheesy, and if you happen to choose fan favorite "Meat Lovers" pizza, you can bet you'll get some hearty chunks of ham, sausage, and beef. All I'm saying is that next time I go back to Chicago, I will definitely make my way over to Gino's East.

Gino's "Meat Lovers" is a fan favorite. Filled to the brim with cheese, sausage, and ground beef.
Gino's "Meat Lovers" is a fan favorite. Filled to the brim with cheese, sausage, and ground beef.
Close-up look at Gino's "Meat Lovers" pizza
Close-up look at Gino's "Meat Lovers" pizza

Lou Malnati's

Gino's East was a place I was lucky enough to find on my own while exploring the city, but for this particular trip to Chicago, I really wanted to focus on going to restaurants that locals recommended. Fortunately, getting recommendations was pretty easy. Just hop in a Lyft and talk to your driver—or if you're more daring, ask a passerby. Asking our driver was a great idea, and we found ourselves heading to a place called Lou Malnati's.

Walking into Lou Malnati's is completely different from walking into Gino's East. While Gino's seems to be catered to a younger crowd, Malnati's shows us that typical family-orientated restaurants hold a dear place in the hearts of the community.

Same rules apply when ordering at Lou Malnati's as with Gino's East. There will be about a 45-minute wait time on personal pies. In the meantime, I recommend looking at the drinks menu as they have an awesome selection of alcoholic beverages for those over 21 to drink. Whiskey sour, anyone? You should give that a shot! And don't forget those chicken wings!

There is a marked difference in taste when it comes to the pizza at Lou Malnati's versus Gino's East. Lou Malnati's selling point is their buttery pizza crust, and boy, when I tell you the flavor is beyond anything I've had the pleasure of eating, you might even buy yourself another slice to take home with you! (Side note: I came back a few hours before my flight back home and ordered a slice to go. It came home with me to New York. Worth it.)

Close-up of a Lou Malnati's slice
Close-up of a Lou Malnati's slice

Gino's or Malnati's?

If I had to decide who had the best pizza, I couldn't. These two pizzerias are both amazing, and I honestly can't pit them against each other. But hey, if you're ever in the Chicago area, don't hesitate to try both places and make your own decision.

FYI: Both pizzerias ship nationwide! Personally, I know that I will be taking advantage of that option. Until next time!

© 2019 anunez49


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      9 months ago

      I’m offended! Next time you’re that way (or in Indianapolis) stop into Giordano’s. I grew up in Chicago and no pizza tour is complete without them! All Chicagoans will have an opinion, I’m surprised they weren’t recommended.

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      Louis for sure! We go to Chicago every October (girls'trip). Louis is our first stop when we get off the plane. We try to drop our luggage off first but we have taken it with us. No kidding, we love it that much!

    • anunez49 profile imageAUTHOR


      17 months ago from New York

      Welp, there's always vacation destination planning!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      17 months ago from UK

      They might ship nationwide, but they don't reach us in the UK unfortunately. We have to make do with frozen alternatives of the Chicago Town brand.


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