Take one step into Caffe Gelato and you're immediately transported across the Mediterranean Sea into the sleek-yet-homey feel of an Italian gelateria. With minimalistic decorations, immaculate tabletops, a spacious dining area and an exquisite gelato display, it's as hard to leave as it is to choose which of the 18 flavors to indulge in.
Owner Dominick Geraci grew up in Italy and had always aspired to bring a little corner of his homeland to Chicago. He overwhelmingly succeeded, with gelato that tastes as close to the Italian version as you'll find in America. The creamy delight is made fresh every day and comes in traditional flavors such as tiramisu, stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate chips), frutti de bosco (forest berry) and pineapple. To add to the quality, all the fruit flavors are made with 100 percent fresh fruit that is locally grown. The gelato is presented just as it is in Italy, with swirly heaps in narrow metal pans, garnished on top with any applicable fruit or chocolate. One scoop of heaven costs $3.50.
Caffe Gelato doesn't just fulfill the latter part of its name; it also sells Illy coffee, cappuccino, pastries (homemade by Geraci's wife) and paninis.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Laura Brown