#1 Great Lake Because Nick Lessins makes a dough that is ethereal: complex, slight chew, great complexity, just enough salt and moisture content; his toppings reflect the seasons and he makes each pie himself.
#2 Burt's Place in Morton Grove Because even though this is the precursor to Pequod's, I still find Burt's version superior - not sure if it's the seasoned pans or the chunky tomato sauce or both - and the crust has a richness while maintaining a good chew.
#3 Castel Gandolfo Because they make their cheese from scratch, and use it judiciously on their blistered pies.
#4 Macello Because they know how to use burrata on a pizza (like Nancy Silverton at L.A.'s Mozza) and they don't overwhelm their dough with buckets of sauce.
#5 Lou Malnati's (the original in Lincolnwood) This is the Uno's of the 1950s - deep & cheesy, with a layer of ripe, plump tomatoes and a buttery crust.
(Incidentally, for another respected colleague's views on pizza in our environs, be sure to check out Jeff Ruby's list of his Top 25. I take issue with a few of his picks, but isn't that what healthy pizza debate is all about?)
(half of a Great Lake masterpiece...but oh, the wait)