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  • Spacca Napoli [la pizza napoletana]

    Post #1 - June 15th, 2006, 6:10 pm
    Post #1 - June 15th, 2006, 6:10 pm Post #1 - June 15th, 2006, 6:10 pm
    Image

    I am impressed by the standard set by the nominees and nominators thus far. Yet, I am slightly surprised, given all the comment and traffic, that no one has nominated Spacca Napoli. Let me break the logjam and nominate my current favorite spot for pizza in and around the city for its fine version of the classic Neapolitan dish.

    Spacca Napoli
    1769 West Sunnyside
    Chicago
    773-878-2420

    And, a small wish: following Italy's win over Ghana, may the Azzurri take the World Cup.
  • Post #2 - June 15th, 2006, 7:25 pm
    Post #2 - June 15th, 2006, 7:25 pm Post #2 - June 15th, 2006, 7:25 pm
    Choey,

    I concur. I had the privilege of having lunch at Spacca Napoli after visiting the Richard J. Daley Center one morning for talking on my cell phone. Since I'm from out-of-state, and had to drive 90 miles to attend a court hearing, Neapolitan pizza seemed to be the right choice. After my charge was dismissed because one of Chicago's finest didn't show up for my hearing, I drifted over to meet several LTH members for lunch. I arrived about 45 minutes early and 15 minutes before they opened. I went inside before they opened and was welcomed to wait on the rest of my party. The staff was friendly and attentive even though they were busy getting ready for the lunch crowe. After sitting inside for 5 minutes I thought, "this sure seems like a GNR" and looked forward to lunch for affirmation.

    Affirmation was forthcoming with excellent pizza, great friends, and attentive service. I'll be back to Spacca Napoli.

    LTH Spacca Napoli Search

    Relevant Thread
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #3 - June 15th, 2006, 8:33 pm
    Post #3 - June 15th, 2006, 8:33 pm Post #3 - June 15th, 2006, 8:33 pm
    Oh thank heavens someone finally nominated Spacca Napoli.

    Even moreso than Scooter's (if that's possible), it's the epitome of the deserving new place-- it studied the greats, it worked hard to duplicate what makes them great, and it worked equally hard to be a welcoming and comfortable neighborhood place. It sounds like we're in for a slew of wood-burning ovens* and handmade pizzas in this town, and I imagine most of them will be pretty good, but it's very hard for me to imagine that anyone will surpass the dedication to craft and friendliness of Spacca Napoli and its owner, Jonathan Goldsmith.

    Salute!

    * Once they cure. :twisted:
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  • Post #4 - June 16th, 2006, 7:51 am
    Post #4 - June 16th, 2006, 7:51 am Post #4 - June 16th, 2006, 7:51 am
    Choey,

    I happily third Spacca Napoli's nomination for GNR. In 6 short months S N has gained a place of respect among LTHers, captured the imagination of the local, and to a ever growing extent, national, food media and all the while stayed true to their vision of classic Neapolitan pizza.

    I think it's safe to say if Spacca Napoli is awarded a GNR they will avoid the fate of the last two relatively new restaurants to receive same, Matsumoto and Cafe Salamera, both since closed.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #5 - June 16th, 2006, 8:48 am
    Post #5 - June 16th, 2006, 8:48 am Post #5 - June 16th, 2006, 8:48 am
    Even I, a stunch defender of Chicago Style Pizza in all its forms, heartily agree that Spacca Napoli deserves a GNR for both its committment to turning out a quality product and it's friendly and welcoming owner and staff.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - June 16th, 2006, 5:33 pm
    Post #6 - June 16th, 2006, 5:33 pm Post #6 - June 16th, 2006, 5:33 pm
    stevez wrote:Even I, a stunch defender of Chicago Style Pizza in all its forms, heartily agree that Spacca Napoli deserves a GNR for both its committment to turning out a quality product and it's friendly and welcoming owner and staff.


    Ditto. I too am a Chicago Style guy, like SteveZ - but Spacca Napoli makes an
    excellent product, and provides very good service. It is invariably packed
    and one always has a wait, but even that is made bearable by the staff
    (and the gratis samples provided while you wait). It hasnt been around
    long, but this nomination should be a slam-dunk IMHO.

    c8w
  • Post #7 - June 17th, 2006, 7:45 pm
    Post #7 - June 17th, 2006, 7:45 pm Post #7 - June 17th, 2006, 7:45 pm
    As one who grew up in a large but not particularly cosmopolitan Midwest city with limited pizza options, and who viewed Chicago as a sort of pizza Mecca for many years, it's been a revelation to me over the past couple of years to learn the ins and outs of the various pizza styles that are out there. New York City, Upstate NY, Trenton "tomato pies"; what a world of pizza to learn and enjoy. Spacca Napoli continues that education in particularly rewarding fashion. The best pizza in Chicago? I won't attempt to answer that. But delicious, conscientiously prepared and served, with attention to ingredients and technique and excellence, plus an obvious sincerity in the will to please the customer and create a neighborhood dining place of distinction? Yep, double plus. I heartily add my vote in favor of a GNR for Spacca Napoli.
    JiLS
  • Post #8 - June 19th, 2006, 1:31 pm
    Post #8 - June 19th, 2006, 1:31 pm Post #8 - June 19th, 2006, 1:31 pm
    Choey, I don't know if you'll get your small wish, but definitely agree on the nomination. I was very glad I got to Spacca Napoli before I left Chicago.
    Such flavorful crust and pizza, I found it truly educational. I offer a trixie-pea shot of a Ciao Chicago Spacca Napoli visit
    Quattro Pizze
    Image

    Wonder if anyone spots the pun pizza in the picture :)
  • Post #9 - June 21st, 2006, 8:27 am
    Post #9 - June 21st, 2006, 8:27 am Post #9 - June 21st, 2006, 8:27 am
    If there ever was a slam dunk GNR, this is it. SN opened their doors to do something special and they hit the bullseye. This forum embraced this place like it was a long-lost child.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #10 - June 22nd, 2006, 1:04 pm
    Post #10 - June 22nd, 2006, 1:04 pm Post #10 - June 22nd, 2006, 1:04 pm
    Went to Spacca Napoli last night for the first time. Loved it! We sat down and my husband said Kudos to these restaurants that keep the menu simple. We had a bottle of Prosecco since it was so humid out and bc I don't like a white without bubbles :wink: , started with the grilled calamari app and split the Funghi e Salsiccia pizza. Everything was fresh, service was great and food was timed perfectly. It was excellent, better than Pizza DOC in our opinion. Our waitress offered to order another us pizza (we likely inhaled the thing), but we refrained and opted for 2 desserts instead -- the tartufo and tiramisu. Neither are made in-house, but were a nice finish to the evening. We'll certainly be back.
  • Post #11 - June 22nd, 2006, 3:03 pm
    Post #11 - June 22nd, 2006, 3:03 pm Post #11 - June 22nd, 2006, 3:03 pm
    eatchicago wrote:If there ever was a slam dunk GNR, this is it. SN opened their doors to do something special and they hit the bullseye. This forum embraced this place like it was a long-lost child.

    Best,
    Michael

    Absolutely, which is why I keep bringing my friends to try SN. Tonight, I return to SN with my parents, who will be trying it for their first time. I can't wait.

    I find that it's always a rewarding experience to dine at a restaurant where the owners and chef truly care about the entire experience of their customers, right down to the time waiting for a table. Spacca Napoli is one of those places.
  • Post #12 - June 22nd, 2006, 4:53 pm
    Post #12 - June 22nd, 2006, 4:53 pm Post #12 - June 22nd, 2006, 4:53 pm
    sazerac wrote:Quattro Pizze

    Wonder if anyone spots the pun pizza in the picture :)

    That would be the Quattro Stagione pizza in the lower left, no?

    While I'm here I will needlessly add to the praise the restaurant is due in deserving a GNR.
    there's food, and then there's food
  • Post #13 - June 22nd, 2006, 10:03 pm
    Post #13 - June 22nd, 2006, 10:03 pm Post #13 - June 22nd, 2006, 10:03 pm
    Not that this one wasn't a done deal the moment the nomination was posted, but allow me to add another voice to the rousing chorus.

    We ate there for the first time tonight, and I don't need a return visit to know that this is an absolute gem and one of my favorite new restaurants in a long, long time. It's so close to being absolutely perfect that my only criticisms are too embarrassingly picky to even mention. I weep with nostaligia.

    Brilliant restaurant, and I cannot imagine a more worthy addition to the pantheon.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #14 - June 22nd, 2006, 10:08 pm
    Post #14 - June 22nd, 2006, 10:08 pm Post #14 - June 22nd, 2006, 10:08 pm
    My SO and I finally made it out to Spacca Napoli and were pretty impressed overall. When we first got there, we were told it could be about a 20 minute wait. I struck up a conversation with who I later found out was the owner. I told him I was impressed with how the building had been transformed (we were fond of Joann's for brunch) and had been reading a lot of good things about the restaurant on LTH. I'm not sure if it was the flattery on the building or that I mentioned LTH, but a 20 minute wait became a brief five minute one!! :-D

    After all I've read on here, we had a hard time deciding which pizzas to go for. We split a bufalina and quattro formaggi, with a starter of their mixed greens salad. The salad came with nice, plump olives, both black and green, with a light olive oil and balsamic dressing. I don't think either of us had had a Neapolitan style pizza before, not that we could remember at least. In any case, we really liked it. Yes, the bufalina was a bit watery, but I didn't mind too much. The quattro formaggi really was a hit!! Mmmm gorgonzola!!

    One complaint, though, and our server agreed with us, was the noise level. Perhaps because there were two large (and loud) parties, perhaps all the tile and nothing much to absorb the noise, but our server mentioned that sometimes she has a difficult time hearing people when they order. I mentioned this to the owner, who said they have been looking into ways to bring the noise level down.

    One more thing...the owner is amazing!! He was out on the floor talking to diners, clearing tables, basically in the middle of all the action. He even brought out a birthday cake(made there or brought in, I'm not sure) to someone celebrating outside, which I thought was really cool.

    Overall, a great neighborhood restaurant that I hope everyone can continue to enjoy for years!
  • Post #15 - June 28th, 2006, 10:48 pm
    Post #15 - June 28th, 2006, 10:48 pm Post #15 - June 28th, 2006, 10:48 pm
    This place is such a shoo-in that I haven't bothered posting, but I might as well say I can't wait to back.
  • Post #16 - June 30th, 2006, 6:19 pm
    Post #16 - June 30th, 2006, 6:19 pm Post #16 - June 30th, 2006, 6:19 pm
    Aaron Deacon wrote:This place is such a shoo-in that I haven't bothered posting, but I might as well say I can't wait to [go] back.


    Ditto.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #17 - February 22nd, 2008, 11:46 pm
    Post #17 - February 22nd, 2008, 11:46 pm Post #17 - February 22nd, 2008, 11:46 pm
    Hi,

    I was going to post to links to visits to Spacca Napoli since receiving their designation. Fortunately there has been a continuous flow of visits with occasional quiet periods and bursts of conversation. Sometimes there are people who don't like their style, though many more who love it for what it is.

    I went this evening for merely the second time with a friend who was experiencing her first time. Waiting was punctuated by pleasant conversation, a hostess circulating cheese slices and later pizza brushed with olive oil, salt and cheese. It made the wait a pleasant introduction to our meal.

    We began with the Zucchine Alla Spapece, which appeared to be wilted cooked zucchini dressed in balsamic vinegar and olive oil with fresh mint on top. We also had an appetizer from the specials list of rolled ham slices with a salad mounded with tuna. Neither of us were crazy about this appetizer. Once we saw our neighbor's Prosciutto e Bufala, we knew what we should have ordered.

    We ordered the Bianca con Bufala e Rucola, a pizza dressed with buffalo mozzarella and fresh arugula on top. While eating this pizza with the crisp edges and wet center. I remembered all the discussion here on whether this was acceptable while others claimed its authenticity. I recall there were some fears this very specific style might be cooked more crisp to please American tastes while disappointing those who favored the traditional preparation. I was glad the damp center unique to this style has remained as originally intended.

    Our second pizza was a parmesan pizza from the daily special. It was dressed with grilled mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and several kinds of parmesan. We liked the smokey, salty, creamy notes in this pizza quite a lot.

    The continuous support by the LTH community and Spacca Napoli's maintaining its culinary traditions, which is why we gravitated to them from the get-go. Spacca Napoli has earned their retention of their GNR status.

    We passed on dessert to go to Pasticceria Natalina for dessert, which delighted my friend because it was her first visit there, too. Once we were finished with our desserts we had to pull out a pin and pop our balloon. Yes, we were returning to Chicago after a fine evening in Italy. Are we not lucky to live in this cosmopolitan city?

    Pasticceria Natalina
    5406 N. Clark St
    Chicago, IL
    773-989-0662

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #18 - March 10th, 2008, 9:10 am
    Post #18 - March 10th, 2008, 9:10 am Post #18 - March 10th, 2008, 9:10 am
    Spacca Napoli has been in my regular restaurant rotation since my first time there. A place I am as comfortable bringing pizza particular out of town guests, who I want to show best of Chicago, as I am young nieces and nephews who I'd like to nudge past cardboard crust triple cheese gut bombs.


    GNR renewal, yes, absolutely.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #19 - March 12th, 2008, 2:31 pm
    Post #19 - March 12th, 2008, 2:31 pm Post #19 - March 12th, 2008, 2:31 pm
    Please ddd my vote for Spacca Napoli's GNR renewal. We have eaten there regularly since it opened and it remains fantastic.
  • Post #20 - March 12th, 2008, 4:30 pm
    Post #20 - March 12th, 2008, 4:30 pm Post #20 - March 12th, 2008, 4:30 pm
    Another shoo-in that I'm sure needs no further boosting, but allow me to jump in anyway.

    Image

    I feel like I've pretty much exhausted my superlatives when it comes to discussing the food, so let me just say that Spacca Napoli is, as far as I'm concerned, perfect. It's everything I could ask for in a neighborhood restaurant. Too bad it's not my neighborhood.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #21 - March 15th, 2008, 4:40 pm
    Post #21 - March 15th, 2008, 4:40 pm Post #21 - March 15th, 2008, 4:40 pm
    I was delighted to make my first visit to Spacca Napoli with Cathy 2. Our timing was relatively good and we had to wait a mere fifteen minutes to get a table. The wait provided an excellent opportunity to view the beautiful oven, and peruse the specials of the day. The sample wedges of pizza and cubes of cheese that were offered to waiting customers by the friendly staff added to the warm ambience.

    We started with two antipasti:
    Zucchine Alla Scapece. For this dish, zucchini was sliced, sauteed, and marinated in a vinger-based marinade. The chopped mint added a refreshing touch to the dish.

    La Porcheta Tonnato which was offered as a special that evening. I was expecting a pork version of the classic Veal Tonnato. Instead, rolled slices of ham were presented with a Tonnata-like tuna sald. The combined tastes were not unpleasant, but were certainly not an inspired variant on the classic.

    However, we were here for the pizzas and these certainly lived up to all the praise that has been heaped on them.
    The Bianca con Bufala e Rucola, was dressed with an appropriate amount of mozarella, basil and olive oil and garnished with glisteningly fresh arugula. The combination of mild cheese with the crisp, spicy arugula was excellent.

    The Pizza Parmigiano was another special. This deceptively plain sounding pizza had an array of toppings: grilled mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, several kinds of parmesan and eggplant. I was a little wary, but all the flavors melded together beautifully and the light-hand used prevented the crust from being overwhelmed by the toppings.

    In my opinion, Spacca Napoli embodies the characteristics of a the kind of great neighborhood restaurant that each of us wishes we had in our neighborhood. Certainly worthy of continued recognition.

    Jyoti
    Jyoti
    A meal, with bread and wine, shared with friends and family is among the most essential and important of all human rituals.
    Ruhlman
  • Post #22 - March 15th, 2008, 5:32 pm
    Post #22 - March 15th, 2008, 5:32 pm Post #22 - March 15th, 2008, 5:32 pm
    As we have not been back very recently, I will limit my comments to what I think is fair: based on our last, not-so-long-ago-visit, we love it. We don't visit as often as we like--in part because there are only so many hours in a day and days in a week and there are so many new (to us) places that need to be tried as well. Still: two thumbs up for renewal!
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #23 - March 15th, 2008, 6:32 pm
    Post #23 - March 15th, 2008, 6:32 pm Post #23 - March 15th, 2008, 6:32 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote:As we have not been back very recently, I will limit my comments to what I think is fair: based on our last, not-so-long-ago-visit, we love it. We don't visit as often as we like--in part because there are only so many hours in a day and days in a week and there are so many new (to us) places that need to be tried as well. Still: two thumbs up for renewal!


    Yea verily...

    I've wanted to post about SN in this thread but have felt like I should have been there pretty recently to do so but then again, I find myself in the same spot as Gypsy Boy... Nevertheless, it seems to me from others' posts who have been to SN in the last few months, nothing has changed and if that is the case, their GNR should most definitely be renewed.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #24 - March 19th, 2010, 12:36 pm
    Post #24 - March 19th, 2010, 12:36 pm Post #24 - March 19th, 2010, 12:36 pm
    I imagine this is one that might meet with some pushback, so let me simply offer my experience as a data point. Every time we're in town, even on the occasions when I'm willing to skip Spacca Napoli in favor of trying some new things while I have the chance, my wife won't let me. My visits over the past couple of years have, of course, been quite limited (two... maybe three?), but on those occasions, it was exactly as I've always remembered. I don't mean to refute the suggestion that they're not as sharp as they once were, just that this has not been my experience and on that basis, I support renewal.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #25 - April 3rd, 2010, 8:07 am
    Post #25 - April 3rd, 2010, 8:07 am Post #25 - April 3rd, 2010, 8:07 am
    LTH,

    In a town with a plethora of pizza Spacca Napoli remains in solid rotation. Much as I love the Neapolitan style pizza I'm a fan of the Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese, wood roasted vegetables and reasonably priced wine list. One think I have not had, and am willing to wait for, are the gratis stuffed fried olives KennyZ mentions in the [url=stuffed and fried olives]Best Thing You've Eaten [Lately][/url] thread.

    Spacca Napoli, count me a fan!

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #26 - April 3rd, 2010, 10:02 am
    Post #26 - April 3rd, 2010, 10:02 am Post #26 - April 3rd, 2010, 10:02 am
    Huh, somehow missed entirely that this was up for renewal. I've had lots of meals in the last 2 years at Spacca Napoli. There have been a couple of duds, but for my money it's still the best in town. They suck at mushrooms though. I support renewal.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

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