Pizza D.O.C.Address: 2251 W. Lawrence Ave.
I hate to insult the folks at Pizza D.O.C. by plagiarizing another restaurant’s tagline, but when I’m there, I really do feel like part of the family. The restaurant does double duty as both a date-night destination as well as a family restaurant (where the food is actually tasty and not just fast), with the comfort level of Cheers thrown into the mix.
At first glance, the menu might seem pricey. The wood-fired pizzas run in the $13-17 range, which is more than what the chains charge, but they are large enough for two people to share, especially after you split one of their generous salads ($7-8).
My only (minor) complaints are that I find the pizzas to be salty, and I usually prefer my thin crust to resemble a cracker. But you can request that they leave your ‘za in the oven a few extra minutes if you like your cheese well done, and there’s always the football-sized calzone option if you don’t like a soggy crust.
Instead of being an obligatory section on the menu, Pizza D.O.C.’s vegetarian pastas (~$13) are a hearty alternative, plus they offer Bolognese and Frutti di Mare ($18). My personal favorite is Gnocchetti Ai Formaggi ($14) — homemade potato-spinach dumplings with blue, mascarpone and parmesan cheeses. The menu is rounded out with a handful of meat and fish entrees in the $15-20 range. I’ve always been too full to try the desserts ($6), which include tiramisu, panna cotta and a variety of cakes.
Recently we have found service to be much improved, even when I call within an hour’s notice to feed my extended family or out-of-town guests. The welcoming atmosphere was recently enhanced with a new German-influenced bar that takes up the eastern wall of the restaurant (complete with authentic glassware).
I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to recommend their Sunday buffet brunch ($16 for adults). Now that the weather is turning colder, I once again have an excuse to eat pizza with my omelet (plus a waffle for dessert). I wonder if I could request the pizza as my omelet filling next time?
In case you’re wondering, the D.O.C. stands for “Denominazione di Origine Controllata”– an Italian quality assurance label for food products and wines. Not only do they take their food quality seriously at Pizza D.O.C., they also are committed to excellent customer service and being a vital part of the Lincoln Square community.