Naples, Italy and Chicago, Illinois USA are both cities famous for great pizza. I live in the Chicago area and when I visited Naples recently, one of the first things people would ask was how pizza from Naples compared to pizza from Chicago. The two pies are both excellent, but they are very different from each other and are difficult to compare.
Sometimes I forget how Chicago is associated with pizza, because I am so used to seeing pizzerias everywhere. Chicago pizzas are delicious, but I do not indulge often because these nutrient rich pies are also high in fat, carbohydrates and calories.
When people refer to Chicago style pizza, they are usually referring to the pan style pizza; with a thick crust and generous portions of sauce, fillings and cheese. Chicago pizzerias also make terrific thin crust pizzas, which are also substantial. Both types of pizza are extremely popular in Chicago.
Thin crust, or thick crust, the pizza pies are great for groups because they can be eaten without utensils and the slices of the pie can be easily shared. Pizzas are great for parties and casual get-togethers.
I do not have nearly as much familiarity with pizza in Naples, but I did get to try some and also saw other people eating pizza in restaurants. From what I experienced, the pizza in Naples was more delicate and flavorful than the pizza in Chicago.
I ordered a pizza with prosciutto and basil in one of the many outdoor sidewalk cafes in Naples. The pizza was about a 12 inch size, but the crust was very thin. The crust was crispy on the outer edge, but flexible on the inside. The tomato sauce and toppings covered the crust, much like Chicago pizza.
Since the crust was almost crepe-like, I folded it over and ate it like a crepe, as I saw other diners do. Since the crust was thin, the layers of toppings were also much thinner than I am used to in Chicago. Basil leaves covered the top and gave the pizza a strong herbal flavor and pungent aroma. It was a stronger flavor than I am used to in a pizza and I am not sure I would order that particular topping again.
The pizza that I had was baked in an old wood fired oven, which I was told was the best type of pizza in Naples. The old wood- fired ovens probably lend their own flavor to the pizza. Pizzas are available in many, possibly most, of the restaurants and cafes in Naples.
Many times I would see diners order their own pans of pizza at a table rather than share the pie. Since the pizzas are so thin, one pizza seems to serve as an entree. The pizza that I ordered was between 5-6 Euro (about $6-$7 US). That seemed to be the going rate for the small sized pizza in various restaurants.
As to the question of which is better, I really cannot say for sure. The pizza in Chicago is always good, but I enjoyed the more delicate texture of the pizza in Naples very much. It is very likely, that given the chance to experience more pizza in Naples, that I would develop a preference for the Italian pizza pie.
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