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Sapori Trattoria

View Map2701 N. Halsted St., Chicago
Tel: (773) 832-9999
Fax: (773) 871-3333
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Editorial Review of Sapori Trattoria

You could say my wedding started and ended in Italy. While the honeymoon was a journey through Rome, Venice and Capri, the matrimonial experience truly started at Sapori Trattoria, where we held our rehearsal dinner in the back private room.

Our guests still rave about the dishes we indulged in that night: Sure, the wine was flowing, but not enough to sedate our eager taste buds. I've returned to sample the same menu since and left equally elated. Take my recommendation and start with plates of fried calamari, crispy and sprinkled lightly with lemon, and pass around family-style servings of bruschetta. The pollo ternana, chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, smoked provolone, mushrooms, asparagus, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts, is a dish worth its weight on your hips.

With a focus on contemporary Italian cuisine, chef/owner Anthony Barbanente puts a fresh spin on fish and chicken dishes, departing from the typical marsala and parmigiano recipes; vitello saltimbocca features veal in white wine and sage sauce, topped with prosciutto. Homemade pasta dishes, available both ai funghi (with wild mushrooms) and pescatore (with mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp and scallops) round out the menu. Entrees top out at a reasonable $19.

The ambience, with exposed brick, low lighting and an oversize chalkboard with the day's specials is not award winning, but achieves the relaxed sophistication that you crave after a long, tiresome day. People enjoying drinks at the bar and waiting for tables can spill over and into the dining room a bit, crowding the scene. But, who cares? └ bon santÚ! Keep the Chianti coming!

Average cost: $31+

Centerstage Reviewer: Joanne Hinkel

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5-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday; 3-10 p.m. Sunday

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chicago, metromix