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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Castel Gandolfo Wood Fired Pizza Review

Being one of the biggest supporters for independent restaurants, when a new pizza place opened up last week in our neighborhood- we couldn't wait to give them a try. The previous the space was occupied by Iggys, it lasted less than 6 months; we frequented often because of the fabulous bartender Carlos. Carlos left before they closed....honestly he was the reason we kept going.

It's seems like a good location, on Chicago just one block from the Red line and just a handful of block off Michigan. But it seems nobody can make a go of it.

Castel Gandolfo is a city in Italy outside of Rome, it's the Pope's summer residence; so what does that have to do with this pizza place in Chicago? My concern with this pizza place is that it doesn't know what it is. I think this is a tough name for a casual pizza place. I can't find a web site for it either. The scripted logo doesn't match the decor nor the menu. Being an extremely limited menu, the most important thing to pay attention to is the freshness and quality of ingredients; unfortunately it appears they did not pay attention to this aspect.

Let me say that we did like the crust on the pizza- it was a good representation of a thin, crispy, Napoleon crust. Beyond that, disappointment ensued with every other element served - a cheap salami, dry mozzarella, hard chewy bread sticks, slim toppings, cheap olive oil and balsamic vinegar, boring sausage and a tasteless sauce; the worst part is that the totally simple antipasto platter and a small pizza with two toppings cost over $40!!! Not even including drinks because at the time they did not have liquor license yet, (but it's on its way).

This is a tough for me to write because I want to support independents- but I also believe in serving good food. The staff also needs be become more comfortable with their customers to help them feel at home, as well as help them understand what the key specialty is in their restaurant.

If you're opening a pizza joint in the most renowned pizza city in the U.S.- it better be damn good. And unfortunately this place is just not worth it. We will give them another shot at some point, after they have a few months to gain their bearings, but in the mean time you should save your money.


  1. Really? A Napoleon crust? And you're criticizing the restaurant for an inattention to detail?

  2. I do not agree, because I tried their pizza twice last wekk and I just love it. Is the best pizza I have had in Chicago so far.

  3. The restaurant business is hard and details can make or break a place; I sincerely do hope they ultimately succeed! I did applaud the crust of the pizza - it was the best part of our visit, but $40 dollars (before tip) for a small pizza and a little antipasto platter of cheap ingredients was not worth it in my mind.

  4. I have to say that I did not have the antipasto, but the pizza I've had was fantastic. I used to live in Italy for two years, so I know my stuff when it comes to pizza. I believe they have the best Neapolitan pizza in Chicago.

  5. Glad to hear all the support for this newbie restaurant! I completely agree with you on their Neapolitan crust; it would be super if the entire limited menu was of the same caliber.
    Suggestion: make your own sausage, or heck, even purchase a good one- you are in Chicago after all!

  6. I disagree with the original article. The pizza was fantastic, and the service was teriffic. This will keep me coming back without a doubt.



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