There are few things better than a home-cooked meal.
Slight problem: You're not at home. And while you can cook, it won't be quite like Nonna used to make.
Good news: Azzurra EnoTavola has the low-key dinner thing covered, with casual Italian cuisine so comforting, you'll feel like Mom and Pop just moved into Wicker Park.
Instead of foraging around your apartment for serving plates, bring the dinner party to this cozy space decorated with Italian frescos. Wood four-tops fill the room with a four-seat bar in the back, and hanging from the copper ceiling is the quintessential hipster touch: Victrola horns that double as light fixtures.
Dinner starts with gourmet meats sourced from West Loop Salumi — sure, you might consider serving that to guests at your bachelor pad. But the chefs are going to one-up you on the next few courses, with farro arancini with mushroom filling and chianti-braised beef short rib over polenta.
You're not responsible for doing the dishes, either, so raise a glass (or more) of Italian wine or Lambrusco cocktail made with spice-infused bourbon.
On the weekends, Bloody Marys get an extra kick from vodka spiked with chilies, and brunch includes the coma-inducing spaghetti carbonara.
End the evening with a dealer’s choice Amaro drink. You can still take credit for a successful meal. Without getting your hands dirty.
Price: 2 (out of 4)
Noise: 2 (out of 4)
Subway: Blue Line to Damen
Scene: Couples from Bucktown and chic eaters from Wicker Park create a cozy, laid-back vibe.
Best bets: Orecchiette with Italian sausage; crisp organic half chicken; chianti-braised beef short rib
Nearby: Bar Bar Black Sheep; Bongo Room; High Noon Saloon