Italian cuisine is characterized by simple dishes—a style defined by the quality, not the quantity, of ingredients used in a entree. From the food served in high-end ristorante to the local trattoria or deli, most Italian recipes call for less than 10 ingredients from start to finish. The taste and dimension, however, come from using the freshest meat, vegetables, herbs, and bread possible.
Wicker Park's Cipollina, a sister restaurant to nearby brunch destination Milk & Honey, follows this formula: simple, made-to-order sandwiches crafted from the freshest ingredients to be found. That's most evident in the Italian-style deli's vegetable-heavy artichoke and red pepper sandwich ($6.75). House-marinated artichokes and roasted red peppers are topped with heaps of arugula salad, a common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine that adds a bitter, almost lemony flavor. Black olives are pureed along with capers and olive oil into a tapenade that's spread on a fresh baguette. Pecorino romano, a sharp, salty Italian cheese made from sheep's milk, is grated on top for the finishing touch.
1543 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map)