Delfino's Chicago Style Pizzeria
2623 NE University Village
Seattle WA 98105
Perhaps The Best Chicago Style Pizza in Seattle
By: Bryan R
The U.S. had several secret projects during WWII including the atomic bomb, self-guided rockets, and of course the search for the holy grail (we totally got it!). However, America's chefs were also hard at work creating a new, super-breed of pizza--the Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Debuted in 1943, the Chicago deep dish pizza forever changed the world of pizza. Although Chicago is still the place for deep-dish pizza, it's not impossible to find it in parts beyond. In the Seattle area, I can list off several pizzerias that have great thin or standard crust pizza, but when it comes to deep-dish, Delfino's Chicago Style Pizza truly stands out.
Located in University Village, Delfino's is tucked away in a small space near the Barnes & Nobles bookstore. On the inside, it's small, cozy and pleasant. Dark wood paneling and Tiffany-style lamps give the place a slightly old fashion feel. It's almost as if this were the very place back in 1943 where first deep-dish was popped out of an oven. Little touches like the vintage posters and chalk written menus help complete the feeling.
At Delfino's pizzas come in two styles: stuffed and deep dish. A stuffed pizza has an extra layer of dough stretched across the top with a bit of sauce ladled over the top crust. In the end, we opted for the namesake, a small stuffed Delfino's Special ($21.30) which included sausage, mushroom, onions and green peppers. We also decided to try the more offbeat Greek White ($19.35, small, deep dish) which featured feta, mozzarella, spinach and olive oil. We also opted for the Chicken Wings ($7.50) as well. It's important to keep in mind that all the pizzas at Delfino's are made on the spot, from scratch and may take up to forty minutes to prepare. While this translates into tasty pizza, it can take quite a bit of prep time.
Personally, I am a thin crust kind of guy so I was a little afraid I might not be able to give an unbiased review of deep dish pizza. But after taking my first bite of the Greek White, I was so impressed that I knew it wouldn't be a problem. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Our meal started with the Chicken Wings, which came with a few compensatory carrot and celery sticks. Initially, these wings seemed a little uninspiring to the eye--the breading was thick and inconsistent while a layer of oil shined brightly in the yellow, incandescent glow of the glass-covered lamps. The first bite, however, told a different story. The chicken was remarkably moist and tender on top of being coated in a tasty peppery breading whose only flaw was its oil soaking ability.
But enough about the chicken--at Delfino's the focus is on the pizza. The Delfino's Special was a classic Chicago-style deep-dish. The toppings were plentiful and just perfectly balanced in terms of taste and textures while the cheese was gooey but not dominating or annoyingly heavy. But the dough, with its spongy, slightly dense quality had the lightest hint of oil that resulted in an excellent flavor. My real favorite, though, was the Greek White and its tasty assortment of cheeses and leafy green goodness. Sometimes, spinach pizzas have strong bitter flavors due to the use of overripe, previously frozen spinach. But the Greek White had plentiful, fresh, ever so slightly sweet spinach that really rocketed this pizza to higher levels. The complex, flavorful olive oil and high quality cheeses didn't hurt either.
I am a die-hard Chicago style pizza fan who has even gone so far as ordering flown in, dry-ice packed pizzas straight from Chicago's upper crust of stuffed crust, Lou Malnati's. To say that I love deep dish is an understatement of Sear's Tower proportions.
Delfino's started out with a bang on the Greek White, which was a two-inch thick, peppered balance of sharp feta, stringy mozzarella and soft spinach. The crust was a baking marvel: thick, flaky and buttery, with no oily residue. Though I am inclined to order meats on my pizza, I would find pure contentment in ordering the Greek White any day.
I enjoyed the Delfino's Special, which stuffed in layers of juicy, fennel-flavored sausage, sliced peppers, mushrooms and tart tomato sauce. The thick bottom soaked in both the flavors of the sausage and sauce while not turning soggy, which gave the crust a savory, almost pastry like quality. On it's own, the Delfino's Special is easy to recommend, but the Greek white is still the must-have.
Delfino's is one of the few places in Seattle where you'll find Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Now I'm sick of hearing from people saying its not "true" Chicago-style--what do you expect? I'm looking for a taste of Chicago-style pizza in Seattle, not the definitive Chicago pizza experience.
We opted to start with the Chicken Wings, but they were lackluster at best. They were very oily and the portions was on the small side, which did not keep us occupied for the entire 40 minutes. In fact, it took us only a mere 2 minutes to finish off that plate which left us with another 38 minutes kill. Maybe it's okay for one person, but the chicken wings are not portioned for four people. You're probably going to want to order more appetizers to keep your time occupied.
The Delfino's Special was made with sausage, green peppers and onions, but it was not as stuffed with ingredients as its size might indicate. It's more crust than anything else, but it was very flaky and crumbly on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The sauce took a serious back seat to the crust as it was a little thin. The other ingredients also seemed to be lacking. Though it was called the "special", there wasn't enough going on to make it worth of the name.
The Greek White was a completely different experience compared to the Special. Everyone was really blown away by it with its feta cheese, mozzarella, and spinach. The garlic oil base really worked well with the cheeses making it truly fantastic. Be prepared for a very cheesy taste as it too is also light on the sauce. That didn't faze us one bit though. At one point, I wish we could have just traded our special for another Greek White as everyone kept grabbing another piece. If you're looking for a pizza that is a little off the beaten path, this one is highly recommended and truly delicious.
If you like Delfino's Chicago Style Pizzeria , you may also like: