Determined to find out how his favorite pizzeria made its pies, 13-year-old Vince Bibattista didn't scour cookbooks or even ask the chefs. Instead, he got a job there, which jumpstarted a lifelong culinary passion that led him to various Chicago kitchens and the classrooms of Kendall Culinary College before landing him at executive chef position at Evanston’s Campagnola. At the critically lauded Union Pizzeria, Vincent combines his experience with a return to his roots as he tops his wood-fired pizzas with locally grown, organic ingredients such as lamb, potato, and capers. He supplements those pies with shareable hot plates such as shrimp and grits, as well as cold plates such as bruschetta crowned with white beans and roasted cherry tomatoes––a cold plate far more appealing than the salted snow served at other locally-focused restaurants. To round out his Italian-style feasts, Vincent also crafts a different main every day, including balsamic-braised short ribs and herb-roasted Amish chicken.
Organic and small-batch wines fill swirling glasses beneath the soaring ceilings of House Red Vinoteca. At a rustic, reclaimed-wood bar, discerning staff members subject new elixirs to tastings and credit checks, and the chef makes changes to a rotating menu of vino-enhancing fare made from scratch. Plates bearing crispy flatbreads and desserts inspired by international culinary traditions glide back and forth between duos chattering beneath exposed-brick walls. The warm sway of live jazz rolls across wine-tasting events and bottle-laden shelves, and patrons sipping through tasting flights from Croatia, Lebanon, Morocco, Serbia, and Slovenia add delicate treble notes with clinking glasses.
From the minds behind Webster?s Wine Bar and The Bluebird, Telegraph emerged in the summer of 2011 as the chic-yet-rustic result of a focus on natural wines and seasonal, locally sourced cuisine. With Chef John Anderes at the helm of a menu that helped earn a place on Chicago Magazine?s Best New Restaurants list, dishes pay homage to Mediterranean fare, receiving Anderes? deft touch of interesting and unique flavor combinations. Joined by sommelier Jeremy Quinn?one of Food & Wine?s 2012 Sommeliers of the Year?Telegraph?s cuisine finds complement in a list of wines from small, family-owned European producers whose focus is on natural, non-interventionist processes. The list features more than 20 pours by the glass, recent vintages, mature wines by the bottle and half-carafe, and large-format bottles, ideal for events at Telegraph?s communal table.
Rittergut Wine Bar Restaurant & Social Club crafts the perfect wine, seafood, and steak experience, with seating that overlooks the Chicago River. Wine by the glass and bottle from the vineyards of Spain, Austria, France, and Italy complements charcuterie and imported cheese plates stocked with wild boar salami or herb-laden garrotxa goat cheese, much like the contents of an enophile's personal bomb shelter. The tasting bar and private wine rooms set the stage for uninterrupted swilling, while dining rooms bathed in amber light host feasts of lamb burgers seasoned with Moroccan spices. Arched ceilings draw the eye downward to exposed brick walls and hardwood floors indoors, and a riverside patio with dark wicker booths and wooden tables perch patrons over ebbing crests and bottled messages that implore you to try the salmon.
Named after the traditional farmhouses of the Friuli region of Italy, which sold fresh food and wine to locals, Frasca Pizzeria & Wine Bar stands as a neighborhood hub for casual Italian eats. Emerging cooked from Frasca's wood-fired ovens in just two minutes, thin-crust pies come littered with sumptuous toppings such as caramelized white onions and fennel sausage or in basic margherita form—a combination of mozzarella, tomato sauce, sliced tomatoes, and basil that landed on Chicago magazine's list of the city's 25 best pizzas. An extensive list of international wines, beers, and cocktails complement slices, seasonal pastas, and meaty entrees, all served atop wooden tables dotted around the warm dining room or nested inside leather booths. Frasca also serves weekend brunch featuring many of its signature pizzas alongside Nutella-stuffed french toast, eggs, and bloody marys.
Pops for Champagne feels right at home in Chicago?s effervescent River North district, where there?s rarely a dull moment among the throngs of tourists and sharply dressed businesspeople. Still, it?s clear that the lounge's home away from home is in France?the Champagne province, to be exact, from which it sources many of its nearly 200 types of bubbly. Chef Luke Creagan bases his menu around the list of champagnes and sparkling wines, favoring seasonal ingredients in a bounty of sharable items such as Black River Russian caviar and herb-infused escargot. The atmosphere meets the high standard set by the menu, as a jazz trio plays tunes by rapidly running their fingers along the rims of champagne flutes.