Even though Angelina Ristorante is located at the tail end of Boystown, it still has all the fabulousness and flair that a restaurant in this neighborhood needs. Considering that this Italian favorite has been around for two decades, we might go so far as to say that perhaps location doesn't matter when you've got a good thing goin'.
A homey locale whose interior feels like a cross between an Italian grandmother's kitchen and a tidy little nook, the servers and cook at Angelina's know how to entice their customers. Drawings of famous Italian landmarks dot the walls, suggesting that visitors can take a trip to the boot-shaped country just through being in this space while feasting on delicious delectables. The original concept came from co-founder Nunzio Fresta's grandmother, Angelina, whose portrait hangs in the restaurant's dining room.
But what does this grandma cook up, exactly? She starts off with antipastis like baked crespelle, warm crepes stuffed with baby spinach, goat cheese and mushrooms and antipasti freddo, a selection of cured meats, pate and cheese. Crisp insalates are always in season, especially the time-honored caprese autunno, roasted roma tomatoes topped with thick slices of imported buffalo mozzarella and slathered with basil pesto.
True to Italian standards — not the Americanized Italian stuff you see elsewhere — grandma Angelina continues the menu with pasta (we recommend the black truffle gnocchi with shrimp), secondi (mostly meaty dishes like the pollo Angelina) and contorni selections (creamy polenta, sautéed spinach), finishing off with desserts like tiramisu and sorbetto di limone. But even though you're almost in Italy, you can still grab a cup of Intelligentsia coffee after the meal.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler
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