Cuisine: Italian, Small Plates, Pizza, Wine Bar
Address: 626 N State St, Chicago (Near North Side); Close to Grand-Red (metro)
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 am – 2:00 am
Sat 11:30 am – 3:00 am
Sun 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Price: ~$55 for three people
Date visited: November 2013
Verdict: Great neighborhood find; excellent for casual dining occasions and large group dining. Very good for value.
Quartino is your friendly neighborhood dinner joint where you'll find yourself gathering with long-time-no-see friends or a group of coworkers after work. It is bustling and loud. The interior décor is vintage; hardwood tables and chairs sprawl out across the large dining room. The colors are warm and welcoming.
Our server recommended that we order a number of dishes to share, as most of their dishes are designed to be served in a family-style manner. The menu is quite extensive, featuring classic Italian dishes like house-made pastas, from-scratch Neapolitan pizzas, risottos and house-cured salami.
Between the three of us, we ordered an appetizer to share and three main dishes:
Roasted Baby Octopus, Braised Escarole, Red Chili, & E.V.O.O. ($10.5) Tender and juicy. I would recommend this.
Housemade ravioli, filled with Braised Pork, Speck, & Fava Beans ($10.25)
The braised pork filling inside the ravioli was richly flavored but not too salty. Topped with speck (a type of special, prosciutto-like cured ham from Northern Italy).
Linguini with clams, E.V.O.O., Red Chili, & Pinot Grigio, White Sauce ($11.25)
A very solid and classically-prepared dish. I like my noodles very chewy and found these cooked quite perfectly to my preference (although some people may find it a little too firm). The broth is buttery and tasty.
Neopolitan Sausage Pizza, Fennel-Sausage, Onions & Diced Tomatoes (made with Italian flour, San Marzano Tomatoes, Parmesan & House-made Mozzarella) ($11)
This dish was just average. I found the fennel-sausage to be a little overcooked, which made it hard to chew on. The crust was neither chewy nor crispy (uh, indecisive chef perhaps?).