FBI Pizza serves up pies of massive proportions that are slightly doughier than a traditional Neapolitian pizza and has created a name for itself thanks to high-quality ingredients.
FBI (which stands for Full-Blooded Italian) has been slinging pizzas near Lake Shore and Park Lawn for close to a decade, but it's also a welcome addition to another neighbourhood that's already brimming with Italian food options.
The spot on St. Clair West comes with moody lighting, benches lining the wall to the back and a wraparound bar. It seems like the perfect laid-back, dimly lit setting to scarf down one of the pizzas, which can come up to 21 inches in diameter.
The smallest they come is a 12-inch medium and other sizes include large (14-inches) and XXL (18-inches). The largest of them all is aptly called "massive."
No matter the size, they're all made with Caputo flour, which is based in Naples and is renowned for its soft consistency that forms into the ideal fluffy pizza crust.
The dough is floured, massaged and spun high into the air, nearly reaching the ceiling every time before the sauce and toppings are applied.
Only the highest quality (all Italian) ingredients are used for every pizza. The sauce is made with San Marzano tomatoes and a special blend of fresh fior di latte mozzarella goes on before and after toppings.
The pies go to cook in an electric oven (no wood oven here). As the key to achieving wood-fired pizzas is all about temperature, a similar taste is easily replicated in this oven that still brings plenty of direct heat.
The pizzas come out with crusts that look pillowy and chewy, two defining qualities of a true Neapolitian slice, and are finished with a touch of olive oil.
We go with an XXL size of the Margherita extra ($34.55), it's a classic and therefore easily one of the most popular options. It's covered in fresh basil and cherry tomatoes and grana padano added on top.
Compared to the XXL or the even larger massive pie, the medium, which is how we get the spicy diavola ($17.80), looks more like a personal size. This one comes with hot soppressata, Moroccan black olives and hot peppers making it the go-to for those looking for some heat.
The capricciosa (large: $20.70) features prosciutto cotto, sauteed mixed mushrooms and some sea salt.
Although it's nice to have options when it comes to the toppings, my top choice would have to be the classic Margherita. With few toppings to distract, you're able to fully appreciate the dough, sauce and cheese.
In case you don't get your fill on bread with the fluffy crust, there's also a tower of garlic bread that makes for a good starter. It's topped with their fior di latte, fresh oregano and garlic and comes stacked on a stick giving it the name: Leaning Tower of PI ($8).
The same tomato sauce used for the pizzas is served on the side for dipping.
Another sought-after starter would be the fried chicken wings that come either breaded or naked and range from buckets of six pieces ($12.50) to 48 ($80).
There are also sandwiches on the menu. The incredible hoagie ($13) comes with a whole host of Italian cold cuts and cheeses like capacollo, salami, porchetta, soppressata, mortadella, mozzarella and smoked provolone.
The Caprese salad ($12), tossed with arugula, cherry tomatoes, bocconcini, fresh basil and a housemade dark balsamic vinaigrette, makes for a nice fresh side to either a sandwich or the pizza.
When it comes to refreshments, you can either wash it all down with an espresso-based drink for a hit of caffeine or something slightly boozier like a sangria.
Pizza lovers who find themselves farther east can now share in the wealth that is FBI Pizza.