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Accanto

2171 N. Milwaukee | 773-227-2727

$$$$

ITALIAN | DINNER: SUNDAY-MONDAY, WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY | CLOSED TUESDAY | OPEN LATE: FRIDAY & SATURDAY TILL MIDNIGHT; SUNDAY-MONDAY, WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY TILL 11 | BYO

Accanto shares a building and an owner with Lucky Vito's Pizzeria—but that's about all. With a separate entrance and brown-and-beige decor, the little restaurant exudes the fine-dining aesthetic of another era: polished tables set with look-of-leather runners, shiny silver show plates, and textured-gold hardcover menus. Chef Domenico Acampura is from Milan, but his small menu—and the big prices—reflect his stints at Cirque 2000 in New York and places like Dubai; it's as continental as Italian, with contemporary twists. In the case of lobster bisque that meant a flavorful but not creamy soup poured tableside over morsels of lobster claw and sweet-tart mango with a flourish of basil chiffonade. Marred only by sour-tasting seared foie gras on top, pan-roasted Atlantic turbot napoleon had moist fish fillets layered with "champignon-chestnut ragout" and Savoy cabbage braised in apple cider. Sicilian saffron and lemon zest risotto topped with firm oven-braised short rib, a refined riff on osso buco, came on a huge black plate painted round with ivory bone-marrow cream, and best of all, the rice was the perfect texture. Tortino di cioccolato, an individual warm chocolate cake with creamy mango ice cream, didn't seem worth the 20-minute wait or the $12 price tag; the martini-glass version of tiramisu had a lot of espresso and no booze, a double bonus since the otherwise top-notch server failed to offer coffee. —Anne Spiselman

Ciao Napoli Pizzeria

2607 N. Milwaukee | 773-278-7300

$$

PIZZA, ITALIAN | LUNCH: SATURDAY-SUNDAY; DINNER: SUNDAY, TUESDAY-SATURDAY | CLOSED MONDAY | OPEN LATE: FRIDAY-SATURDAY TILL 2; TUESDAY-THURSDAY TILL 1; SUNDAY TILL 11

A lively, trendy-looking spot in Logan Square, Ciao Napoli boasts a wood-burning pizza oven and exposed brick walls; sit next to the tiny open kitchen and you can try to talk to the pizzaiolo over the roar of the crowd. On our visit the Four Seasons pizza put a twist on traditional quattro stagioni, its quartered sections including fresh, high-quality toppings including shrimp in addition to mushrooms, artichokes, prosciutto, and Calamata olives. The crust was nicely chewy, crispy on the edges, properly soft in the middle, and just slightly charred. Bruschetta and a veggie antipasto with grilled eggplant, red pepper, zucchini, and artichoke were both excellent, but we didn't fare as well with the leaden and gummy handmade gnocchi. Still the light, sweet zeppole (little fried balls of dough topped with powdered sugar) ended things on a good note. —Julia Thiel

Corner 41 Bar & Grill

4138 N. Lincoln | 773-327-3500

$$$

STEAKS/LOBSTER, BARBECUE/RIBS | DINNER: SUNDAY-MONDAY, WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY | CLOSED TUESDAY | OPEN LATE: FRIDAY & SATURDAY TILL MIDNIGHT; SUNDAY-MONDAY, WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY TILL 11

Formerly Cy's Steakhouse, this neighborhood eatery has undergone a partial change of management and seemingly wants to evolve past its steak-house conventions without losing whatever goodwill it inherited. Such a nebulous culinary agenda may have something to do with the kitchen's quality-control issues, but wouldn't explain the cheerfully bungling service: starters and entrees arrived simultaneously, accompanied by a blithe semi-apology ("I hope it's not a problem!"). Lobster crab cakes with toasted hazelnuts and citrus sauce were identifiable as protein of marine origin, but tasted like none of the stated ingredients. A starter of parboiled asparagus and prosciutto took the surprising form of two enormous fasces-like bundles of stalks wrapped in membranes of ham and doused with heavy brown vinaigrette. A nine-ounce filet mignon arrived rare as ordered but was disappointingly flavorless and got no help from a peppercorn sauce devoid of pep. Grilled lamb chops with rosemary were a bit better but came on a bed of the gluiest, least-aerated mashed potatoes anyone had ever seen or tasted. A similarly dispiriting side order of onion rings came armored in a thick, bready batter reminiscent of lunchroom fish sticks. An acceptable flourless chocolate cake aside, desserts were no better: the lumpy, granular creme brulee looked more like rice pudding, and the bread pudding was dense and unpleasantly eggy. The decor incongruously blends cozy brickwork, faux-bronze lighting fixtures, and burlap ceiling swags with exposed industrial ductwork. —Cliff Doerksen

Dee's Place

2114 W. Division | 312-348-6117

$$

SOUTHERN/SOUL FOOD, BARBECUE/RIBS | LUNCH, DINNER: SEVEN DAYS | OPEN LATE: FRIDAY & SATURDAY TILL 12:30, MONDAY-THURSDAY TILL 11

I wanted this tiny BYO soul kitchen wedged into Division Street's restaurant row to be the scrappy upstart to Disney-fied southern establishments such as Wishbone and Smoke Daddy. Lord knows the north side needs some real soul food, and if the kitchen here put the same love into the standards that went into the curated collection of jazz concert posters and stills hanging on the walls, this could be it. Instead, for a relatively pricey $15.95, meat and two might consist of miserly portions of dry, gummy mac 'n' cheese, soupy red beans and rice, oversalted greens next to leathery jerk catfish, a slab of ribs oversauced with a syrupy goo, or an undersize two-piece fried chicken. A handful of starters—fried okra, catfish nuggets, and minimally battered fried green tomatoes served soaking in pools of their own grease—supplement the rotating offerings. All seem to take second billing to the live jazz and blues combos that squeeze on to the tiny stage every Thursday through Sunday. —Mike Sula

Delhi 6

4229 N. Lincoln | 773-868-4229

$

INDIAN/PAKISTANI, TEAHOUSE | 11 AM-9 PM TUESDAY-SATURDAY, 11 AM-5 PM SUNDAY | CLOSED MONDAY | BYO | RESERVATIONS FOR LARGE GROUPS ONLY

Offering "Indian food, loose teas, clothing, decor," Delhi 6 is a pleasant addition to a neighborhood overrun with Thai places (albeit good ones). The menu is divided in two: a list of traditional street fare like Bombay chaat and chili chicken (demure in both spiciness and portion, if nonetheless flavorful) on one side, and a slightly more adventurous "fusion" selection on the other, including a "samosa-wich," actually more like a panini with mint and chutney, and a chicken mirchi wrap with wheat naan and a spritely mix of ginger, mint, green chile, and tikka masala sauce. It might not be a destination, but it fits the bill when we're not up to a trip out or the hassle of ordering in from one of the more distant Indian standards. And for those who dine in, the "decor," with offerings of Indian clothing and various other knickknacks, has the unassuming charm of a clothing store where they serve home-cooked meals out the back. It has now added Sunday hours as well. —Ted Cox

Elly's Pancake House

101 W. North | 312-643-2300

$

BREAKFAST, AMERICAN | BREAKFAST, LUNCH: SEVEN DAYS | OPEN LATE: 24 HOURS DAILY | RESERVATIONS NOT ACCEPTED

This first city location of the suburban minichain occupies the prime real-estate corner of North and Clark, with long windows framing a large, boothless dining room that sets mismatched chairs, countryside-hued plates on walls, woven baskets, and bare, low-hanging lights against an otherwise minimalist pale-white interior. Batter is the specialty here, 24/7, but while a stack of soft and fluffy pancakes hits the spot, the promised blueberries come in the form of sugary preserves. A strawberry blintz, on the other hand, featured plenty of fresh berries and a nicely done crepe, though the ricotta filling was too mild to make much of an impression. A warm, crispy waffle with sizable bacon bits was delicious, especially once attacked with maple syrup and butter. Even better: a dense, sweet trio of crumbling biscuits bathed in creamy, chunky sausage gravy, whose flavor sticks around the roof of your mouth—in a good way—for a good few minutes. —Izidora Angel

Geisha Sushi & Lounge

1265 N. Milwaukee | 773-252-2020

$$$

JAPANESE | DINNER: SEVEN DAYS | OPEN LATE: SATURDAY TILL 3, FRIDAY TILL 2, MONDAY-THURSDAY TILL 11

Geisha Sushi & Lounge has taken over the space formerly occupied by the Wicker Park Blu Coral, but you could probably take my review for that place, substitute the new name for the old, and have it all come out pretty much the same. In fact, it's almost identical in menu and vibe to just about every other Chicago sushi joint that's opened in the past five years: more-or-less fresh fish (though our escolar contained unpleasantly crunchy ice crystals) and creamy concoctions like a "Tower Tartar" (more appropriately called Tower Mayo), served in a sleek room with the requisite po-mo mood lighting. If you're turned on by unsustainable sushi—bluefin, yellowtail, Chilean sea bass, and more—then this restaurant is for you. Lobster tempura, however, was well prepared, and of the maki rolls we tried, the embarrassingly named Pink Cadillac was a pleasing blend of seared salmon, chile sauce, and unagi. On Fridays and Saturdays there's free parking; on Saturdays currently there are live DJs. —David Hammond

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