La Gondola Italian Restaurant [Google Maps]
2914 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
CPC invaded La Gondola on 6/11/09.
Review submitted by Mikel
Nestled among various retail stores and restaurants within a Lincoln Park strip mall, lies La Gondola. Since 1984, Chicago style pizza and Italian comfort food has been feeding hungry patrons in this small, dimly lit space. Andrew McGuire, owner/chef, bought La Gondola from its founding father in 2005, and continues to serve the same recipes made up of fresh ingredients from scratch every day of the week. Having received several accolades for outstanding Italian food and "fab pizza", including their presence in the Zagat guide since 1991, they have quite a following. Reservations are recommended due to a table shortage - they only have six!
We were a hungry crew of six last night, so we ordered three large thin crust pizzas. They do also offer an extra thin crust, but we didn't opt for this variety. Also, because of the overwhelming popularity of their signature Italian family style dishes and our ravenous appetites, we ordered a bowl of Rigatoni Boscaiola (pasta, fresh mushrooms, Italian sausage, sage) and shared it as an appetizer. This was an atypical Chicago Pizza Club move, as we only came to survey the pizza, but what the heck. It was very well received from everyone. Now, on to what really matters...the pizza. Although they list a number of specialty pizzas, we chose the following combinations:
- White Pizza (Fresh Ricotta, Mozzarella and Olive Oil)
- Italian Sausage and Spinach
- Pepperoni and Garlic
The pizza arrived in a timely manner, and it was hot. The toppings were fresh and flavorful, there was ample top quality cheese, and the sauce complemented everything quite nicely. The crust served its purpose and supported all the above. As the pizza sat, the crust did soften a bit but this wasn't detrimental. La Gondola calls their pizza Chicago style, which is in fact the case. Although it is thin crust, it is definitely on the crispy side as oppossed to a chewy more bready thin crust you would find on the east coast. The sausage and spinach pizza was one of my favorites and seemed to please most of us. The white pizza was also delicious and on the milder side of the scale. Do you want to know what wasn't mild? The pepperoni and garlic pizza! It was over the top with abundant garlic flavor and enough pepperoni for you pepperoni lovers.
Not to go unmentioned, our server, "D", was very attentive and personable. We had leftovers to box, which "his people" took care of for us. D also shares our love for pizza and minored in English, so we may be seeing more of him soon enough!