Chicago SMAK: Quartino

I went to Quartino a while ago, but wanted to be sure to share it with you. Even before moving into Chicago, I had heard from a number of people that the restaurant was one of their favorite restaurants to go to in River North. Sitting at 626 North State Street, Quartino is in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city.


The restaurant has a very authentic Italian feel to it but plays with the food, serving it in the tapas style. This take on Italian food was very refreshing because often when I go to a restaurant I want to try a number of items on the menu. With this set-up, I was able to pick a number of dishes and try them all. It is great for a group of people who want to be able to sit around a table to enjoy conversation, food, and wine. However, if you enjoy eating a dish on your own, this may not be the place for you.


The restaurant can often times be very crowded, which is exactly what I look for in city eating - a lively atmosphere, sitting amongst other people, surrounded by noise, enjoying food. My only complaint is that the wine glasses are extremely deceiving. Before you know it, your wine is gone and you've ordering 6 liters of wine...

In regards to the food, after six hours at a table, we went through quite a few dishes. The ones that stood out to me were:

  • Neapolitan Pizze - Margherita: mozzarella, tomato sauce, & sweet basil. It was simple but reminded me exactly of the pizza that I enjoyed while visiting Napoli, Italy. The crust, the flavors - it was wonderful. 
  • Polpette Al Sugo Di Pomodoro: veal meatballs in organic tomato sauce with fresh basil & house made ricotta. These were to die for. There were about four meatballs that came in a small skillet, still hot. My mouth is watering now just thinking about them. 
  • Tuscan Sausage Risotto: tomatoes & fresh peas. I think I have discovered that risotto is one of my weak spots. Given me a well made risotto, through is some Tuscan sausage with tomatoes and peas...I all in!

Quartino = 8/10 SMAK Approval Points