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Leonardo's

View Map5657 N. Clark St., Chicago
Tel: (773) 561-5028
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Editorial Review of Leonardo's

Sitting modestly between two garishly lit restaurants, this undiscovered Tuscan jewel offers affordable eats and an atmosphere awash in the warm, sun-drenched tones of Italy, as well as replicas of the Renaissance master's own art work.

This feast for the eye and the palate begins with a manageable list of wines, served by the glass and bottle, and your favorite cocktails $7-$9. Ample portions of appetizers and salads—such as an aromatic bruschetta and scampi modo mio (seared tiger shrimp, grilled crostini, truffle potato frites and spicy beurre blanc) and caprese salad, with thick slabs of mozzarella and tomato—put you in the mood for Leonardo's northern Italian entrees.

But who could chose between such authentic Italian dishes as pollo limone (an egg battered sauteed chicken breast and spinach swimming in a shallow pool of lemon volute with a side of pasta) or the famous costella di maiale (an Italian sausage and gorgonzola-stuffed pork chop served with truffle polenta in a mushroom ragout)? Not to mention the pastas…so many pastas and so little time! Orecchiette salsiccia (with sausage, Swiss chard, garlic and oil), frutti di mare (a combination of linguine, mussels, clams, shrimp and fresh fish of the day in a tomato-white wine sauce) or chef Raul Garcia's 18-hour ravioli (filled with braised osso bucco and goat cheese and bathed in a sage demi glaze, surrounded by caramelized pearl onions). Entrees range from $14-$20.

There is no dessert menu, but the wait staff will gladly recite and recommend Leonardo's daily choices, such as the pistachio and vanilla gelato, the freshly made zabione with sliced fruit or the decidely decadent chocolate cake—all of which are guaranteed to top off any meal just right.

The charming spot seats 80 comfortably, with tables far enough apart to allow conversation and a bit of privacy amid the other diners. Private parties may request specific menus to suit any occasion.

Average cost: $10-$20

Centerstage Reviewer: Colin Douglas

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Hours

5-10 p.m.Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; closed Monday

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