Istria Cafe | Hyde Park | Ice Cream, Italian, Coffee Shop | Restaurant

Istria Cafe Recommended Menu

Hours: 7 AM-8 PM daily

Price: $

Hyde Park gelato and coffee shop serving a range of panini.

Restaurant Details

It's hard to think of a more perfect example of early 21st-century food culture than this bright Internet cafe, full of laptop-using, iPod- wearing U. of C. students, yet literally carved into the crumbling urban infrastructure of the South Shore Line. Turns out it was built not by WiFi-seeking dwarves, but by two brothers who named it after their home region in the former Yugoslavia, where coffee culture is a source of local pride. The coffee and espresso, expertly hand-pulled, is Intelligentsia. Panini, the only real lunch offering, are served on a bread that doesn't have quite the crunch you'd hope for, but what's inside (prosciutto and fresh mozzarella, a couple of vegetarian choices) is fresh and flavorful. But the main reason to come here and try to snag one of the few tables is the house-made gelato. Texture-wise, it may seem a little too pliable as compared to authentic European gelato, but the fruit ones taste of real fruit, and the chocolate and hazelnut varieties are dreamily creamy. In the summer, sidewalk tables relieve the cramped interior somewhat. There's a second location in the Hyde Park Arts Center (1530 S. Cornell, 773-324-9660).

Michael Gebert

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Price: $

Payment Type: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

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