30 E Hubbard St
60611 United States
Italian – Communal Dining – Date Night – Free WiFi
For our first night in Chicago, my sister couldn’t have chosen a more perfect place. The seating areas were ridiculous! I love how suitably heighted the ceilings were, and the way they made use of the space. Located in Near North Side, Davanti Enoteca was both cozy, and provided a very nice family-diner feel. I immediately felt at home as we were quickly seated upon reservation and slipped into our booth, We started off with a Pinot Grigio, and excitedly wandered our eyes up and down the Dinner Menu. Reading the menu, it feels like you were at a completely foreign restaurant, words are just thrown at you. I’ve learnt that evening that “Vasi”, meaning, “Mini Mason Jars” is my favorite Italian word. You’ll see exactly why in a bit! A pointer is to keep a look out for the English translation or glossary somewhere about the page and you’ll be fine.
Simply, Italian food with a modern twist – Davanti Enoteca is all about communal dining, which means, smaller dishes, but more dishes to taste and share around! Be prepared to order for 1.5x the amount of people you’re dining with.
1. Ricotta & Honey ($9)
Served with Tuscan Toast
Oh boy, oh boy. The first dish of the night, and what exactly made me fall in love with Davanti! The perfectly light and creamy Ricotta is served in a Mini Mason Jar – a Vasi – hey look, we’re learning! with a delightful actual piece of Honey Comb. It was suggested for us to mix the Honey Comb into the Ricotta Cheese jar, but we instead found much more excitement and joy into spreading a light layer onto our Tuscan Toasts, and going for gold, however we wished with the Honey Comb. Just like my rice-to-meat ratio, I expected the same with the Ricotta & Honey, but I forgave them with this dish, because you really only need a smiggen to spread and enjoy the Tuscan Toast!
After falling for this one, I definitely, totally need to put the rest of the Vasi options onto my must-eat-list when in Chicago!
2. Orechhiette con Salsiccia e Rapini ($15)
Handmade Little Eats, Sausage, Rapini, Pecorino & Chilies
This was delightfully light tasting. Very nice! The Orechhiette, also called “Little Ears”, were perfectly cooked, and it’s slightly doughy self went well with the bitterness of the Rapini and flavoursome Sausage.
3. Riccio de Mare e Granchio ($15)
Linguine with Sea Urchin & Crab
You bet we liked this one. I would totally just go for a whole dish of Riccio de Mare e Granchio for myself, it was so good. The flavours of Sea Urchin and Crab were both very pronounced, lacing each thread of Linguine so well. There was also a minimal, tasty amount of crab.
4. Charred Cauliflower Steak ($9)
With Sicilian Tapenade, Crispy Ceci & Marinated Lemon Jam
5. Roasted Corn ($10)
With Walnuts, Mixed Mushrooms & Aged Goat Cheese
Dangit, so many delicious pastas, these vegetable-based dishes were a must to have along side! The Charred Cauliflower Steak didn’t provide many flavours worthy to go back for, it was very mediocre – but, the Roasted Corn Salad definitely did! I was very surprised by the simplicity of this dish, and how with simply roasting the cob, it took it to a whole ‘nother level! A simple combo that has inspired me to create delicious dishes like this of my own – just drizzle with Olive Oil!
The whole night was beautiful. Of course, this is another (maybe) biased review because of the wonderful time that my tastebuds had in Chicago. But, If I went to cram a bunch of restaurants into one night’s stay in Chicago, Davanti Enoteca would definitely make the list. If I lived in Chicago, I would be visiting this place at least once a month. The service was swell, they were always right there when you needed them, and were never overbearing at all. A great place with a group of friends, and an even better double date spot!
– Ricotta & Honey ($9)
– Any or all of the Vasi’s – for my sake, please.
– Riccio de Mare e Granchio ($15)