Summer time means Italian eats outdoors, and winter brings those zesty delights inside. Spring and fall are a toss-up, so choose your location with confidence. But no matter where you eat—whether it be outdoors on the classically black, wrought-iron tables and chairs, or inside in either the low-lit trattoria or the osteria/bar that's full of white-tablecloth-covered tables—you're sure to be charmed by this Italian spot in Roscoe Village. But be warned: If you don't look 21 or older—even if you are indeed that old—and order alcohol, you might get some not-so-friendly vibes from the wait staff.
Expect reasonably priced Italian favorites on the lunch menu, like la caprese, a dazzling array of tomato, basil and fresh bufala mozzerella served with basil pesto, and panino ai vegetali (Italian bread covered with fresh grilled veggies and mozzerella cheese). Dinner gets a tad more expensive with entrees like fettuccine alla moda di Nettuno—basically fettuccine with clams, shrimps, mussels, calamari and scallops—for about $16.95. Meat, chicken and seafood entrees go for about the same, so if you're strapped for cash you'll want to avoid these dishes. The $10.95 "famous pizza" might be a better deal, but we still think that's a bit much to spend on pizza (especially when Frasca down the street has $9 margherita pizzas).
But one thing that can't be beat is the authentic Italian atmosphere. That's no surprise considering that the proprietors, Giuseppe and Dominic, grew up in Italy. To la dolce vita, we say!
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler