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Spacca Napoli - new pizzeria in Ravenswood, long

Spacca Napoli - new pizzeria in Ravenswood, long
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  • Post #271 - November 18th, 2008, 8:56 pm
    Post #271 - November 18th, 2008, 8:56 pm Post #271 - November 18th, 2008, 8:56 pm
    Well I just dropped by Spacca Napoli for the first time about two hours ago and loved everything about it. I showed up a few minutes late to find my friend sipping on a glass of sparkling wine ( the owner chose to take it upon himself to treat her with some wine while she waited for me to show up...great guy). When I arrived he came to straight to our table to greet us personally and asked if he could also get me a glass of wine which would be compliments of himself and the restaurant, great!

    After hearing the specials for the day (which I think should be printed since there's so many ingredients and more than one special) we settled on two pizzas. My friend had the Bufalina and I went with the Blanca con Bufala e Rucola. We loved every bite of each and they each had just enough char ( I'm enjoying the rest of mine as I type this :D ).

    Overall we had a great time in a very family friendly environment. I'll definitely be back if I'm ever in the Ravenswood area. :)
    GOOD TIMES!
  • Post #272 - December 11th, 2008, 1:38 pm
    Post #272 - December 11th, 2008, 1:38 pm Post #272 - December 11th, 2008, 1:38 pm
    Finally stopped by SN for lunch today, nice area of chicago with plenty of parking. I had the salsiccia which was noteworthy due to the excellent chunks of sausage, very meaty. The ingredients were obviously top notch, and I enjoyed the flaky, charred bottom and crust. However, when I visited Italy (florence, naples, sicilly, rome) the pizza places I frequented were all much thicker than the pizza at SN. I had craved the pizza I had in italy partly because of the thicker, gooey doughiness that could fill you up after one pie. The pizza at SN left me hungry for more, which is my only complaint. I now wonder if the pizza I consumed during my trip to italy were catered more for the tourists and thus that medium thickness pizza was not in fact, the norm in terms of autheticity. Nevertheless, I was a bit dissapointed simply because that type of pizza was the type I had been missing and salivating for since returning to the states, and the pizza at SN although similar in appearance (from a top down view) is nowhere near as filling and doughy-thick as the ones I ravaged while actually in Italy.

    Also the flavor is a bit minimalist, which I'm sure many will appreciate. It's a rather understated flavor profile where you appreciate the crust itself and the subtle flavors of the fresh ingrediants. However my americanized taste buds couldn't help but feel a bit underwhelmed. Although this may sound like blashphemy, I'd rather have a pizza at whole foods on wed (large for 9 dollars) and just tell them to lay easy on the cheese.
    I'm not picky, I just have more tastebuds than you... ; )
  • Post #273 - December 12th, 2008, 8:46 pm
    Post #273 - December 12th, 2008, 8:46 pm Post #273 - December 12th, 2008, 8:46 pm
    FoodSnob77 wrote: Although this may sound like blashphemy, I'd rather have a pizza at whole foods on wed (large for 9 dollars) and just tell them to lay easy on the cheese.


    Blasphemy indeed. :twisted: but I respect your opinion nontheless.....

    Being a dough man myself, what I love about SN that almost no other place can deliver is the experience of eating quality bread under the toppings. Beautifully charred, expertly raised. I could go on.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #274 - February 14th, 2009, 9:45 am
    Post #274 - February 14th, 2009, 9:45 am Post #274 - February 14th, 2009, 9:45 am
    Had an absolutely spectatular caprese salad at Spacca Napoli yesterday as a part of my lunch. The sun was shining through the windows, pitchers and catchers reported and the tomatoes exploded with flavor. It felt like spring.

    Great Caprese is rare in Chicago on February 13. I highly recommend the version at Spacca.
  • Post #275 - February 28th, 2009, 12:21 pm
    Post #275 - February 28th, 2009, 12:21 pm Post #275 - February 28th, 2009, 12:21 pm
    Based on all of the good reviews, RAB and I visited Spacca Napoli for the first time last week.

    Neither of us were impressed based on our one visit. The service was incredibly efficient and friendly, but the pizza left much to be desired.

    The pizzas were quite different from the other Neapolitan pizzas I've enjoyed in the past, mainly D.C. spots 2 Amys and Pizzeria Paradiso. Like Spacca Napoli, 2 Amys is a member of the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association and has D.O.C. status, for whatever that's worth. I've eaten at 2 Amys and Paradiso may times over the years and have enjoyed both immensely - - lightly-charred, crispy crusts and super-fresh ingredients. I've also enjoyed pizza in Italy, but haven't been to Naples.

    There are two problems I had with the pizzas at Spacca Napoli - - the crust and the fairly bland toppings. The crust was doughy, soft, and strangely pliable - - absolutely no crispiness. The char, which was pleasantly bitter, was limited to the edges. The bitterness, however, was strong enough that we would not have wanted the flavor throughout the pizza because it would have completely dominated the toppings. The only explanation I have is that I prefer a longer cook in a cooler oven. Paradiso, for example, keeps their wood-burning oven at 650 degrees, significantly cooler than Spacca Napoli's. A 2 Amys or Paradiso pizza is more brown on top and is crisp, as opposed to the soft doughiness of a Spacca Napoli pizza.

    On to the toppings . . .
    RAB and I shared the Funghi e Salsiccia (mushrooms and sausage) and the Antonio special (cherry tomatoes, speck, ricotta). Both pizzas were undercooked for my palate, with barely any color on top. I thought the Funghi e Salsiccia was a failure, mainly because the pizza lacked sufficient flavor or salt. I tasted the sausage on its own and it was super-bland, paling in comparison to Burt's delicious sausage. I've actually never had Italian sausage with so little salt. Perhaps just a bad batch of sausage? Combined with the mild mushrooms, this made for one boring pizza. For the first time in my life, I salted a pizza. The Antonio was slightly better, mainly because of the speck, which did add some flavor to the pizza. Still, with the soft dough and the short cooking time, this isn't a pizza I'll be craving.

    Based on this experience, we won't be back.

    Ronna
  • Post #276 - February 28th, 2009, 2:05 pm
    Post #276 - February 28th, 2009, 2:05 pm Post #276 - February 28th, 2009, 2:05 pm
    REB wrote:Based on all of the good reviews, RAB and I visited Spacca Napoli for the first time last week.

    The crust was doughy, soft, and strangely pliable - - absolutely no crispiness. The char, which was pleasantly bitter, was limited to the edges.



    Pizza in Naples is characterized by very soft, light crust - not crispy - baked very quickly at very high temps.
  • Post #277 - February 28th, 2009, 2:17 pm
    Post #277 - February 28th, 2009, 2:17 pm Post #277 - February 28th, 2009, 2:17 pm
    Bill/SFNM wrote:
    REB wrote:Based on all of the good reviews, RAB and I visited Spacca Napoli for the first time last week.

    The crust was doughy, soft, and strangely pliable - - absolutely no crispiness. The char, which was pleasantly bitter, was limited to the edges.



    Pizza in Naples is characterized by very soft, light crust - not crispy - baked very quickly at very high temps.
    I wouldn't call the pizzas we had last week "light." More doughy than light, if that makes sense.

    If this is true, then the Neapolitan spots in D.C., which are among the busiest restaurants in the city (not just pizza joints), must be doing it wrong. The D.C. spots have thin, light crusts, but there's substance to them. The undersides have color. The tops are golden brown.

    In any event, if the pizza we had last week at Spacca Napoli is how Neapolitan pizza should be, I don't like Neapolitan pizza. I'll take Burt's or Pizano's any day over Spacca Napoli.

    Ronna
  • Post #278 - February 28th, 2009, 4:46 pm
    Post #278 - February 28th, 2009, 4:46 pm Post #278 - February 28th, 2009, 4:46 pm
    SN keeps it hot, in my experience, which leads to a different kind of pie, even within the range of what can fairly be called Napolitana. Try Coalfire.

    FWIW, the pies on 2Amy's website front page look a whole lot like SN pies. Pretty pale with char on the edges. Maybe they notch down the heat and cook longer to appeal to local tastes. Maybe they are so busy they can't keep the oven hot. Maybe you got lucky with one place but not the other.

    For better or worse, "true" pizza from a real wood-burner (or coal burner) (i.e., not one of those "Southern Pride" of pizza oven deals with gas and some wood for flavor) is like BBQ. Consistency is an issue.
  • Post #279 - April 24th, 2009, 9:50 pm
    Post #279 - April 24th, 2009, 9:50 pm Post #279 - April 24th, 2009, 9:50 pm
    Disappointing night at Spacca Napoli tonight. AmyandPhil ventured up to Ravenswood on this wonderful evening to enjoy what was said to be some of the best pizza in Chicago. Unfortunately it did not live up to the expectations. We had the Funghi e Salsiccia and the Bufalina (this one based on the waitress' enthusiastic suggestion). Both were terribly disappointing. I won't go into too much detail. Our thoughts echoed REB's above. The crust was a little too doughy for us, but pleasant enough. The toppings however were blandorama. I had to salt and pepper mine... (i would have loved some red pepper flakes or oregano but none were provided). The Funghi e Salsiccia was also terribly bland and awfully forgettable. We only just got home and I already had to look up what we got because I couldn't remember.

    Boring overall. Good service but that doesn't make up for boring pizza. We'll be going to Coalfire for our next oven fresh pizza. The price may be much higher, but the proof is in the flavor.
  • Post #280 - April 28th, 2009, 10:04 am
    Post #280 - April 28th, 2009, 10:04 am Post #280 - April 28th, 2009, 10:04 am
    amyandphil-
    price higher @ coalfire?!

    I was a SN this weekend for the first time and agree w/ the less than enthusiastic lthr'ers, but the pricing really is a bit over the top. Coalfire is priced higher than SN? How is that possible? I had a the pizza w/ prociouto, parma, arugala and it was $16.50!!! IMHO, much too high for the portion AND not to may taste (it was pleasant, but kind of bland and chewy doughy and not "$16.50 pleasant")

    I do agree whole heartedly, that the service there is very warm, but I go to restaurants to EAT!

    I want to try coalfire, but I'll have to do some research/financial planning.
  • Post #281 - April 28th, 2009, 10:42 am
    Post #281 - April 28th, 2009, 10:42 am Post #281 - April 28th, 2009, 10:42 am
    hamcha wrote:amyandphil-
    price higher @ coalfire?!

    I was a SN this weekend for the first time and agree w/ the less than enthusiastic lthr'ers, but the pricing really is a bit over the top. Coalfire is priced higher than SN? How is that possible? I had a the pizza w/ prociouto, parma, arugala and it was $16.50!!! IMHO, much too high for the portion AND not to may taste (it was pleasant, but kind of bland and chewy doughy and not "$16.50 pleasant")

    I do agree whole heartedly, that the service there is very warm, but I go to restaurants to EAT!

    I want to try coalfire, but I'll have to do some research/financial planning.


    That's about the same price range as the pizzas at Coalfire. Most are between 14 and 16, but the "meat" is $18.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #282 - May 1st, 2009, 7:40 pm
    Post #282 - May 1st, 2009, 7:40 pm Post #282 - May 1st, 2009, 7:40 pm
    Kennyz last August wrote:...I am growing more and more conviced that SN has a growing inconsistency problem. Several posts up, I noted that on my last visit, the pizzas were way overtopped and the mushrooms were poorly cooked. The crust was still perfect on that visit, but not so when I returned more recently. Befitting the description in the article, my pizza was not nearly as charred as usual, and it did indeed seem to deflate after about 30 seconds on the table.


    Back on track tonight. The smell of a perfect char was unmistakable when the sausage and broccoli pizza arrived at the table, and the topping proportions were in perfect balance. I've had mediocre pizzas at Spacca Napoli, but I continue to return because when the place is on, it makes me very, very happy.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #283 - August 12th, 2009, 9:35 am
    Post #283 - August 12th, 2009, 9:35 am Post #283 - August 12th, 2009, 9:35 am
    Recently , a passionate young film maker ,named Sky Dylan Robbins,
    from Northwestern University, decided to share her love of Food, Family and Spacca Napoli-
    in a short piece she created-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNvB4xYILPk
    That's not only posted on YouTube-
    but will be a part of Spacca's Website as well.

    Mangia!
    (con Amore! )
  • Post #284 - August 12th, 2009, 9:48 am
    Post #284 - August 12th, 2009, 9:48 am Post #284 - August 12th, 2009, 9:48 am
    Hombre de Acero wrote:Recently , a passionate young film maker ,named Sky Dylan Robbins,
    from Northwestern University, decided to share her love of Food, Family and Spacca Napoli-
    in a short piece she created-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNvB4xYILPk
    That's not only posted on YouTube-
    but will be a part of Spacca's Website as well.

    Mangia!
    (con Amore! )


    Very nice video. Thank you for sharing.
  • Post #285 - September 3rd, 2009, 8:41 pm
    Post #285 - September 3rd, 2009, 8:41 pm Post #285 - September 3rd, 2009, 8:41 pm
    Spacca Napoli is closed until Sept 14 for vacation. I found out the hard way.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #286 - September 3rd, 2009, 8:50 pm
    Post #286 - September 3rd, 2009, 8:50 pm Post #286 - September 3rd, 2009, 8:50 pm
    Kennyz wrote:Spacca Napoli is closed until Sept 14 for vacation. I found out the hard way.

    Ouch. Glad I made it last Sunday. Although, the prosciutto on the "Giovanni" special that I had that day look like it took too much heat. Don't know why, because I assume they didn't fire it up with the pizza.

    In any case, thanks for the heads up, because I was planning on taking a visitor there this weekend.
  • Post #287 - September 3rd, 2009, 8:53 pm
    Post #287 - September 3rd, 2009, 8:53 pm Post #287 - September 3rd, 2009, 8:53 pm
    Kennyz wrote:Spacca Napoli is closed until Sept 14 for vacation. I found out the hard way.



    That sucks! I'm starting to plug all the Great Spots (this includes non-GNR's :P ) into the phone & literally calling them first. I hate that surprise more than any other. Once you get your mind set on something, nothing else will do. I suspect it didn't help your experience at Pizza D.O.C.

    Speaking of which, I haven't been there in some time (since I started going to Spacca Napoli) and I'm deeply saddened that you had such a bad experience.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #288 - September 4th, 2009, 9:43 am
    Post #288 - September 4th, 2009, 9:43 am Post #288 - September 4th, 2009, 9:43 am
    Hombre de Acero wrote:Recently , a passionate young film maker ,named Sky Dylan Robbins,
    from Northwestern University, decided to share her love of Food, Family and Spacca Napoli-
    in a short piece she created-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNvB4xYILPk
    That's not only posted on YouTube-
    but will be a part of Spacca's Website as well.

    Mangia!
    (con Amore! )


    Coulda used a few frames that showed the zza as opposed to the rotund, yet affable, proprietor.
    Cheetos are my favorite snack atm.
  • Post #289 - September 4th, 2009, 10:05 am
    Post #289 - September 4th, 2009, 10:05 am Post #289 - September 4th, 2009, 10:05 am
    Habibi wrote:
    FoodSnob77 wrote: Although this may sound like blashphemy, I'd rather have a pizza at whole foods on wed (large for 9 dollars) and just tell them to lay easy on the cheese.


    Good call. I had the santa fe chicken pizza from WF on Wednesday....delish. 8)
    Fundamentals are a crutch for the talentless
  • Post #290 - October 24th, 2009, 1:19 pm
    Post #290 - October 24th, 2009, 1:19 pm Post #290 - October 24th, 2009, 1:19 pm
    Went for lunch today when my friend and I saw that the line for Hot Doug's was just absurd. No line here, and a very nice meal. This place is solid. I liked it. It's not quite good enough to inspire pizza rapture, but I'm happy to have this around. It's a nice approximation of proper Neapolitan-style pizza. Just wish it was much closer.

    Oven
    Image
    Such a nice oven.

    Started with an antipasto of the fried mozz/prosciutto sandwiches. Simple but quite tasty. I liked the crunch. Pizzas were the star, however. A special with two kinds of mozz and two kinds of prosciutto, no tomato. Very rich, quite salty, but in a satisfying sense. The mozz di buffala gave the whole thing a creaminess that the fior di latte didn't seem to possess.

    Which brings me to the margherita. This was a solid pie, but I had a few minor issues with it. Wasn't a big fan of the mozz. It was gummy when just slightly cooled. Also, the sauce is a bit wet for my tastes. I'm all about the pillowy Neapolitan-style dough, but these tomatoes could've used a bit less water.

    As for the common elements, I thought the dough was quite good. I might want the oven a bit hotter for a bit more char and just a touch of crispness. Again, the oven spring and pillowyness of the dough, taken together, were quite nice.

    Pizzas
    Image

    Very similar to Keste, with Keste having the slight advantage owing to its more unique, but still largely traditional, toppings.

    I'm definitely interested in coming back here and will make a point to if I'm in the area. I think $25/person with two pizzas, an app, and a soda.
    Last edited by BryanZ on October 24th, 2009, 3:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #291 - October 24th, 2009, 1:40 pm
    Post #291 - October 24th, 2009, 1:40 pm Post #291 - October 24th, 2009, 1:40 pm
    What's a kestie?
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  • Post #292 - October 24th, 2009, 2:55 pm
    Post #292 - October 24th, 2009, 2:55 pm Post #292 - October 24th, 2009, 2:55 pm
    Keste is a pizzeria in the East Village of NYC that's gotten a lot of buzz for being pretty real deal Neapolitan. It's been discussed on other pizza threads on LTH.
  • Post #293 - October 24th, 2009, 4:20 pm
    Post #293 - October 24th, 2009, 4:20 pm Post #293 - October 24th, 2009, 4:20 pm
    I went to Spacca a couple weeks ago, and was a bit let down by the mushroom/sausage pizza. I'd ordered it before but noticed this time that the mushooms *really* seemed to be canned. They were all uniform in size, a dark, dull grey and had that rubbery texture of mushrooms dumped out of a can.

    Scratch one Spacca Napoli pizza off my list.
  • Post #294 - November 5th, 2009, 9:01 pm
    Post #294 - November 5th, 2009, 9:01 pm Post #294 - November 5th, 2009, 9:01 pm
    BryanZ wrote:Which brings me to the margherita. This was a solid pie, but I had a few minor issues with it. Wasn't a big fan of the mozz. It was gummy when just slightly cooled.
    The margherita pizza at Spacca Napoli isn't always this way, but the version I had tonight was very much like what Bryan describes. Not only did the cheese turn to bubble gum when the pizza cooled just a bit, but it wasn't really even fully melted when it arrived at the table. The crust had terrific char - more than usual - so I wonder if for some reason the oven is running hotter than usual, making it difficult to cook the top fully without burning the pizza. The pizza was also overtopped - too much sauce and cheese weighing it down. Ditto for the special pizza which had truffled cheeses, a motherload of sliced, rubbery porcinis that were either canned or completely butchered in the cooking process, and pools of oil.

    I like Spacca Napoli a lot - when it's on it's really on - but it has clearly gone through major up and down cycles. This looks like a down one.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #295 - November 27th, 2009, 11:32 pm
    Post #295 - November 27th, 2009, 11:32 pm Post #295 - November 27th, 2009, 11:32 pm
    Totally over rated. Expensive for what you get.
    Wally Wade
  • Post #296 - March 19th, 2010, 6:21 am
    Post #296 - March 19th, 2010, 6:21 am Post #296 - March 19th, 2010, 6:21 am
    It's funny. I don't even think of Spacca Napoli as a GNR anymore. It's been a solid player and stays in our family rotation of spots to eat alone and with others.

    I've chosen to break the Fast at Spacca Napoli twice in the last 17 days. On both occasions I felt good about eating with friends who had never been. The oohs and the ahhhs over the food remain.

    I've even branched out and had a great white pizza a few weeks ago. The Bianca Nero with pecorino, porcini mushrooms, truffle oil, and a mozzarella with truffle in it. The salad is spot on with the best olives ever. It remains big enough to share. I always dream that one day I will just have the salad and not share it with anyone else. I would be full and satisfied plus it's healthy but alas the pizza and the zabaglione prevent me from ever stopping with the salad.

    Oh did I mention the melanzane? I tried that for the first time a few weeks ago. A rich and delicious tasting marriage of eggplant and tomatoes. It needed nothing. My friend kept eating it and commenting on how she could eat it every single day.

    So the pizza has a great chewy crust and yes there's char. It has a delicious tomato sauce that tastes only of the sweetness of tomatoes and a few spices. The cheese and toppings always seem married to the crust, not to few, and not to heavy handed. I don't get tired of these pizzas. Rarely, does any of my pizza ever get boxed to savor on another occasion.

    Service remains smooth, friendly, and efficient. If they think you've been waiting too long you find yourself trying to say no to delicious tiny beverages (unfortunately we don't drink alcohol) or crust charred & drizzled with truffle oil. That may happen less frequently now that they have expanded in size and permit reservations.

    Then there's the exit where you get handed a tiny cannoli. I've asked Jonathan to place these on the menu and charge for them because I would order them every time. He refuses with a twinkle in his eye as he places one in my hand.

    Spacca Napoli should continue to be a Great Neighborhood Restaurant.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #297 - March 19th, 2010, 11:17 am
    Post #297 - March 19th, 2010, 11:17 am Post #297 - March 19th, 2010, 11:17 am
    pairs4life wrote:
    Then there's the exit where you get handed a tiny cannoli. I've asked Jonathan to place these on the menu and charge for them because I would order them every time. He refuses with a twinkle in his eye as he places one in my hand.

    Spacca Napoli should continue to be a Great Neighborhood Restaurant.


    Agreed. I returned after a yearlong hiatus a week ago and was still quite pleased. They had expanded the dining room since I'd been there last and it seems like getting a table is no longer the ordeal it once was, making this a great dinner option on the cheap.
  • Post #298 - March 19th, 2010, 11:34 am
    Post #298 - March 19th, 2010, 11:34 am Post #298 - March 19th, 2010, 11:34 am
    Reservations AND beautiful new addition. Still the same great food and service. You can't help yourself from returning and I love introducing new people to Spacca. I have yet to find anyone who was disappointed.
  • Post #299 - March 19th, 2010, 5:42 pm
    Post #299 - March 19th, 2010, 5:42 pm Post #299 - March 19th, 2010, 5:42 pm
    went here recently. of course, delicious. and i love the cannoli at the end. two comments:

    one, always get the burrata appetizer if they have it. what could be better?

    two, we had this bizarre mushroom 'zaaah recommended by our waiter. it was mealy, mushy, basically inedible. tho we may have eaten it anyway. :wink: :wink:
    "cooking is an art. baking a science."
    -- benjamin franklin
  • Post #300 - March 19th, 2010, 6:52 pm
    Post #300 - March 19th, 2010, 6:52 pm Post #300 - March 19th, 2010, 6:52 pm
    Enough on this place.
    It's overrated.
    When you want the "real McCoy" Vito & Nicks, 83Rd
    Ave & Pulaski. ONLY
    ENOUGH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks,
    Wally Wade

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