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Gino’s East vs. Lou Malnati’s

You can’t visit Chicago and not have deep dish pizza. It’s practically a law. So when I was there celebrating my grandma’s birthday, my family and I made sure to plan the trip around the pizza.

I’ve previously written about Lou Malnati’s, and you know how much I love it. But since I’m always willing to try new things (read: pizza) it was time to see how another Chicago pizza institution stacked up.

So here it is, Gino’s East vs. Lou Malnati’s.

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

I definitely like the decor and vibe of Gino’s East. It feels much edgier than most pizza places, with neon lights and graffiti littering the walls.

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

It was nice having the family all together, and the laughter and stories came easy. What didn’t come easy? Deciding on which pizzas to order!

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

We finally decided on one thin crust pizza and three deep dish pizzas, with a mixture of classic and unique toppings.

Deep dish pizza always takes a long time to cook (about an hour). So you can imagine how happy we were when this beautiful sight arrived at our table:

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Our thin crust pizza was the Chicago Fire with hot and spicy sausage, fire roasted red peppers and red onions. The toppings are good, although I much prefer deep dish pizzas.

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

My favorite that night was the Spinach Margherita deep dish pizza with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. Everyone else liked it too, and it was gone in seconds!

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

We also ordered the BBQ Brisket deep dish pizza with caramelized onions and roasted sweet peppers. It sounds like it would be great, but in reality it wasn’t executed well and the flavors were lacking.

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Our last pizza was a classic, the sausage deep dish pizza. It unfortunately wasn’t anything special.

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

But that didn’t stop us from eating a whole lot of pizza. I don’t think my family has ever been this quiet!

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Overall, I like Gino’s East’s decor better than Lou Malnati’s. But unfortunately for Gino’s East, that’s the only area where it has the upper hand.

Lou Malnati’s pizza is much better. After eating at Gino’s East, I felt a bit cheated, like I wasn’t getting the delicious Chicago pizza that I had been craving. I guess I’ll have to plan a trip back to Chicago soon, so that I can eat at Lou Malnati’s this time!

Gino's East vs. Lou Malnati's - Chicago dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

You can find my review of Lou Malnati’s here.

You can find all of my Chicago deep dish pizza posts here.

What do you think? What’s your favorite Chicago-style pizza?

~A

For all of my Chicago travel posts, click here.

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3 replies »

  1. You are not wrong that Lou M’s is great pizza, but it is definitely not as good as Gino’s East. We tried Lou M’s tonight based on your recommendation and the entire family determined Gino’s East is better. Personal preference I guess.

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