Autre Monde 

Dining Description:  This neighborhoody pan-Mediterranean bistro could easily be a subject of one of those "Why Berwyn?" billboards that have popped up all over Chicago to convince potential home buyers of the charms of New Svengoolieland. The four principals behind Autre Monde all worked under Tony Mantuano in various restaurants. Former Spiaggia wine steward John Aranza's nerdtastic horrorbilia decorates the bright, inviting Berwyn storefront with a long communal table running down the front and a spacious bar in the back. And the menu from Beth Partridge and Dan Pancake (ex-Cafe Spiaggia and Spiaggia, respectively) is certainly Mantuanoesque, most tellingly in a trio of ruddy handmade pastas, such as a generous tangle of tagliatelle with rock shrimp and bay scallops, a creamy sweet-pea puree that perfumes the entire dining room when it leaves the kitchen, or a voluptuous Taylor Street-style red sauce that blankets four fat pork-and-spinach-stuffed throw pillows. This is simple food, simply prepared, and when a server promises that plates are shareable, it's true—from a crock of fatty pork rillettes and pickled Rainier cherries to a pair of long crostini topped with white bean puree and thick, fresh-cured sardine fillets. Three flatbreads in particular take up quite a bit of surface area, but their crusts are light and wafer thin. Ingredients are high-quality, some of them coming from Partridge and Pancake's Ohio farm, others from the backyard greenhouse the team built. Read the full review >>

User Rating:  ★★★★★ ★★★★★ by 1 User

Hours:  Dinner: Sunday, Tuesday-Saturday
Sunday brunch
Closed Monday
Open late: Friday & Saturday till 11

Price:  $$$

Features:  Recommended, Menu, Image

Dining Features:  Full Liquor Service, Dinner, Open Late, Sunday Brunch, Open Sunday, Reservations Accepted

Payment Type:  MasterCard, Visa, AmEx, Discover

Neighborhood:  Berwyn

Reviews / Comments (1)

Showing 1-1 of 1

★★★★★ ★★★★★

The menu at Autre Monde is a real treat -- and an unlikely find in a locale like Berwyn. There's a nice selection of not-often-seen Mediterranean-inflected small plates and flatbreads, and a few tempting large plates, too. The wine list is similar, featuring unusual choices from Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and the Balkans. Food prices are generally moderate (though I wish there were more wines in the low-$30 range). The staff was congenial and our server was very helpful & knowledgeable.

We especially enjoyed a plate of roasted veggies served with a romesco sauce. A special house-made chorizo was deliciously fresh, and the accompanying roasted potatoes were light, crisp and tender. Grilled sardines were good, although the server filleted them at the table and left more bones than she might have -- I'd suggest the filleting be done in the kitchen. A flatbread with pancetta, rapini and Talleggio cheese was not so successful -- the pancetta was not evenly dispersed, resulting in very salty bites, there could have been more rapini (and less pancetta), and the cheese tasted a bit sour to me.

Autre Monde reminds me a little of Avec, in that it features unique Mediterranean plates and a casual café atmosphere. Unfortunately, it also shares another characteristic with Avec -- it's very NOISY, so noisy that I'm not sure I'll go back. (Were it more conversation-friendly, I'd give it 4*.) For diners with terrific hearing and a tolerance for conversing loudly, though, Autre Monde may well be a total delight.

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Posted by Comensal on 02/10/2012 at 10:34 AM
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