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Caponie's Trattoria

View Map3350 N. Harlem Ave., Chicago
Tel: (773) 804-9024
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Editorial Review of Caponie's Trattoria

The proprietors of this small restaurant/pizzeria seem determined to pay tribute to old-world sensibilities while also embracing lingering stereotypes associated with their ethnicity. One wall proudly displays sepia portraits of revered ancestors, reflecting a commitment to traditional Italian culture. Another is plastered with framed posters and photographs of morally questionable, albeit popular Italian-American film and television icons, including Tony Soprano, The Godfather, and the cast of "Goodfellas."

As attention-grabbing as the decor may be, it plays second fiddle to the menu offerings. Patrons are known to line up out the door, where they eagerly anticipate pizza served piping hot from a wood-burning brick oven. Thin-crust, deep dish, and stuffed options are available, as well as specialty creations, like a four-cheese pizza with no sauce; the authentic Margherita Napoletana comes with a crust no thicker than a cracker and topped with hand-crushed plum tomatoes, garlic, basil and fresh mozzarella cheese. Dinner for four will run you about twenty bucks, not factoring in must-have appetizers such as the toasted ravioli or mozzarella or a round of drinks from the full bar.

The kitchen also cooks up pasta dinners and salads, served in generous portions ideal for sharing. And if you can take the bustling atmosphere, you may want to stick around for some homemade tiramisu or creamy gelato. Just don't expect too much attention from your servers; once your order is in, they'll be scrambling to meet the needs of the countless other folks clamoring for a hearty Italian meal.

Average cost: $10-$20

Centerstage Reviewer: Jenny Seay

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11 a.m.-midnight daily

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chicago, metromix