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Marty Fosse (Anteprima et al) branches out into Wicker Park with this simple, soulful Italian restaurant and wine bar.

Our Review

Azzurra is the fourth extant restaurant from Marty Fosse, a front-of-the-house veteran of Spiaggia whose stronghold in Andersonville is anchored by Anteprima. And there's a lot here that feels like the latter spot, including the menu, which brings together a similar diversity of options without ever appearing unfocused. Chef Katie Kelly's hands-on approach is applied to everything from sausage to yogurt to pasta, with anything "fatti in casa" helpfully emboldened on the list of offerings. If you find yourself lost, it's not a bad decision to focus on those. Most formidable is a long list of shareable small plates: sweet, tart carrot caponata with crushed olives and pine nuts, and nearly two dozen others (not to mention specials), all piled on the plate like textbook examples of the importance of simplicity in good Italian food. You can make a satisfying night out by picking over these along with a bottle or two from an affordable wine list that runs down the boot from Trentino to Sicily, all available by the glass. Most of the pastas are made in-house, and the pudgy orecchiette in particular, tossed with Italian sausage and rapini, are well worth honoring the effort they took to produce. Secondi include simple meats such as a disintegrating lump of Chianti-braised short rib atop a soothing polenta with brussels sprouts; frequently rotated specials have included fall-off-the-bone pork ribs. Finish off with a flight of house-made digestivos, which run from limoncello and arancello to a complex liqueur infused with walnut, cinnamon, clove, and vanilla. With this combination of simple, soulful Italian food and wine at such nice prices, there's no reason Azzurra—whose tables are painted the deep Mediterranean blue it's named for—shouldn't have a long run in Wicker Park. Read the full review >>

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa, AmEx, Discover

Bar Details

Marty Fosse's Wicker Park enoteca features an affordable wine list that runs down the boot from Trentino to Sicily, with all selections available by the glass. Pair a few bottles with the nearly two dozen small-plate options (not to mention specials) and you have a satisfying night out. Cap it off with a flight of house-made digestivos, which run from clear, light-bodied limoncello and arancello to a more savory bay-leaf-based potion and a complex liqueur infused with walnut, cinnamon, clove, and vanilla. —Mike Sula

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