Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight, Tues.-Fri.; 11 a.m.-midnight, Sat.-Sun.; closed Monday
The welcome invasion of authentic, wood-fired Neapolitan style pizza in
continues in a big way. With the recent opening of Ciao Napoli Pizzeria, Chicago Logan Square is now the proud territory to this excellent pizza and more. This contemporary styled yet homey newcomer is a good neighborhood spot. The restaurant overlooks the Square with ceiling to floor glass windows. The décor is exposed brick and beautiful rustic wood tables. The staff is super friendly and enjoys schmoozing with the guests. It’s already bustling and, although it’s not a spacious restaurant, it doesn’t feel cramped. There is an ample bar area next to the main dining room.
The main draw is the pizza, which comes in two sizes (12” and 18”), is made from fresh, mostly imported ingredients. Whether you order a tomato-sauced version or a white version, the crust is king. Thin, chewy and slightly charred on the bottom, the way it should be. Among the choices, you can order Pizza D.O.C., a traditional Margherita, with tomato, fresh bufala mozzarella and basil. Pizza alla Diavola features tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella with spicy salamino; the vegetarian Pizza Primavera comes with tomato sauce, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, artichokes, olives and zucchini. If you’re a cheese lover, don’t miss the Pizza 6 Formaggi, featuring (only!) six cheeses. Pizza Pestum is a white pizza with bufala mozzarella, shrimp and parmigiano. Pizza Bella features tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, basil, crushed black pepper, extra virgin olive oil.
There are a variety of home style appetizers and salads to start. The calamari was somewhat bland although properly cooked; some dipping sauce helps out and don’t be shy about asking for your choice of sauce to spruce it up. There are several bruschetta choices as well. You’ll also enjoy the prosciutto and mozzarella rollups.
The menu also offers several pasta dishes. For many, you can simply choose the type of pasta—fettuccini, gnocchi or penne—and your choice of sauce. Other dishes, such as Lasagna, come only as prepared, which isn’t a bad thing.
For dessert, we liked the Nutella (hazelnut spread) Italian doughnuts. You can also order tiramisu and chocolate mousse, among others.
As with many new restaurants, the food and/or timing can be a bit inconsistent. By now, however, most of the kinks should be worked out and we think it’s worth a try. If you haven’t tried this type of pizza, you’ve been waiting too long. Go for it.