So, you're hanging around Boystown when the inevitable pizza craving occurs. No problem. Dial up or stop by Panino's, a local, friendly solution. But wait...what's that around the corner? On the other side of the Broadway delivery/take-out entrance, diners will discover the restaurant's more upscale, dine-in alter-ego.
The pizzeria half of the dual eatery looks like somewhere plumbers Mario and Luigi might stop by to get their pie-fix after work. But on the weekend, when they need to wine and dine Princess Peach, they might swing around to the other door on Waveland, entering into a sweet little neighborhood place where they can get their fill of spaghetti, gnocchi or cacciatore with a hint of romance on the side.
This Lakeview hideaway presents nothing new or innovative, which is quite possibly the reason it's so charming. The congenial staff offers up smiles and conversation, as well as good ol' Italian yumminess in the dimly lit small space. Rustic kitchenware and bric-a-brac hangs on the butter-colored walls, next to painted scenes of an old-fashioned village. All these things factor in to win this place those sought-after "cozy" points.
Those stopping by for lunch might want to try one of the tostinos (grilled sandwiches). The Napoli proves to be a simple pleasure; mozzarella, ham, roasted red pepper and basil on your choice of ciabatta or focaccia for $6. For dinner, Peach can go all out and order the lobster on her date with Mario (and/or Luigi). Well, lobster capellacci—pasta filled with lobster terrine, creamy tomato sauce and sauteed spinach. But pair that $12 entrée with a nice red or white, and you've uncovered affordable elegance.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Paige Gray