As you plan a meal at Evanston's Trattoria Demi, you should anticipate enjoying large portions of Italian food as the comforting smell of homemade meatballs fills the air under the familiar black and clay-colored awnings. However, you may not want to count on a stress-free experience. The restaurant shares its entranceway with next-door Pita Pete's
, making for the occasional traffic jam involving giggling college students and more discriminating diners. The place is also tiny; on a weekend night, you'll probably have to wait for a seat among the 20 or so cramped tables.
If you can stand the small, shoulder-rubbing atmosphere at its most crowded times (and possibly being seated at the dreaded back table, positioned just out of the wait-staff's path under a fire extinguisher) then you're the kind of jolly, carefree spirit that Italian food was meant to be cooked for. Antipasti range from $4-9, and close examination of the full page of pasta dishes reveals endless versatility. For instance, linguini can be plated with shrimp scampi with pine nuts and tomatoes ($14) or with homemade meatballs ($12). Those not into decision-making may gravitate toward the simple entree choices, including steak, chicken, lamb, veal and seafood ($16-$20).
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Puhala