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Chicago's 5 Best Vegetarian Deep Dish Pizzas

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Chicago is infamous for many things, and deep dish pizza is towards the top of that list. When we visited Chicago in the spring of 2022, one of our family goals was to try out as many of the popular deep dish pizza restaurants that the city had to offer. In 5 days we tried 5 different places, and I came home 5 pounds heavier!

Below is our rating of the 5 most popular Chicago pizzerias. To rate our pizzas, we ensured we ordered the same kind (vegetarian) of pie at each location. The rating is based on our family of 3's opinion on crust, sauce and toppings.

#5 Lou Malnati's

Lou Malnati's came highly recommended by locals and the internet alike. This pizza parlor has a number of locations throughout the city. We visited the newest location on Michigan Ave. Wait time was over an hour on a Thursday evening. Although they don't have any reservations, we were able to put our name down on a wait list and pre-order our pizza, as each pie takes 45 mins - 1 hr to make. We ordered the Deep Dish Veggies, which had Mozzarella cheese, topped with a mixture of mushroom, onion & green pepper and vine-ripened tomato sauce. We were utterly disappointed when we took our first bite - the crust and the tomato sauce lacked any flavor, and the toppings were nothing great. The cheese felt too salty at times, and it was an overall bland pizza. We were especially disappointed by the minimal amount of sauce on top of the pizza, which made it lack the classic Chicago deep dish look. This particular pizza didn't knock it out of the park for us.

Dont be fooled by the look of it!

#4 Pizano's

We visited this pizzeria based on a recommendation that it is Oprah's favorite. Pizano's was started by Lou Malnati's half-brother, Rudy. The location we went to the one on Madison Ave is very close to the Bean and the Millennium Park. Though it was busy and crowded, we were seated immediately. The vegetarian pie we had ordered came out after the usual 45 minutes wait. It was not piled high with toppings, but the crust was decent and so was the tomato sauce. It was an overall okayish experience, and nothing stellar.

Oprah's favorite!

#3 Uno's

Uno's was our very first exposure to deep dish pizza in the Bay Area in the early 90s. We absolutely loved their pies and frequented their Cupertino and Fremont locations often. We were extremely disappointed when Uno's closed all their locations throughout California in the early 2000s. Since then, we have never been able to find a deep dish pizza establishment in the Bay Area on par with Uno's. So Uno's topped our must-visit list when we planned our trip to Chicago. We were thrilled that the only location, and the oldest, was located just a block away from our hotel, on Ohio Ave. Uno's is the oldest deep dish pizzeria in Chicago, founded in 1943. Like most deep dish restaurants, Uno's let us pre-order our pizza when we put our name on the waitlist to be seated, so we did not have to wait as long for our food upon arrival. The biggest difference we noticed with the Uno's pizza was the crust. It had a distinctive cornmeal crust that was a bit harder to cut into but made the pizza great for picking up and eating with your hands. We loved the flavor of the crust as well as the sauce, and thought that they had a great cheese to sauce to toppings ratio. Overall, we were reminded of why we loved this restaurant so much and were thoroughly satisfied with our experience.

That crispy cornmeal crust was so flavorful!

#2 Giordano's

Giordanos came in second place by a very slim margin. While most of the locals and tour guides we spoke to all chose Lou Malnati's as their top pizza, we fell in love with it's rival restaurant. We went to the Giordano's location on Navy Pier and were quickly seated after a short wait. All of the waiters wore shirts seeming to reference Giordano's infamous cheese pull, and they were not wrong. Giordano's vegetarian pizza had the most vegetables included by far. And the heaping serving of vegetables was met with equally as much cheese that stretched on and on. Their sauce was flavorful but could have used a bit more, given how much cheese and toppings there were. The crust was not the cornmeal style that we had fallen in love with but still complimented the pizza well. Definitely a huge step up from it's supposed competitor, Lou Malnati's.

Look at that cheese pull!!

And the #1 best Deep Dish pizzeria in Chicago is.......


Pequod's and Giordanos were our top two pizzas and it was extremely difficult for us to agree on a winner between them, but Pequod's ultimately triumphed. Pequod is located in Lincoln Park, a bit further from the downtown tourist attractions, but definitely worth the trip out there. A popular location amongst locals, we knew that we had to try this place to round out our pizza tasting tour. Out of all of the places we tried, Pequods was definitely the smallest restaurant and the only one that wasn't a chain. The menu listed it's deep dish pizza under the title of "pan pizza" and all of the pizzas were "build your own" as you started with a cheese deep dish and added additional toppings to it. What set Pequod's apart from the rest was its crust. A cornmeal crust with caramelized cheese on the top of it, paired beautifully with the flavorful sauce and toppings. The sauce was delicious and the cheese had a great stretch and flavor to it. If you have the time and love deep dish, Pequod's is worth the trip for any tourist.

Very generous toppings!


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