CHIReview

photo credit: Derrick Koch

Daisies image
8.3

Best New Restaurants

2023

Daisies

AmericanPasta

Logan Square

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerDate NightDinner with the ParentsVegetarians
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Drive 25 minutes or so outside of Chicago, and you might start to feel like you’re in a Hidden Valley Ranch commercial, surrounded by haystacks, corn fields, and a bunch of people who seem really nice. It’s this idyllic version of the Midwest that Daisies, a coffee shop by day and vegetable-focused restaurant by night, tries to recreate—and because of its friendly service and delicious, seasonal food, it succeeds.

The menu at this Logan Square spot is vegetable-focused, but Daisies is definitely not a vegetarian restaurant. Where other restaurants give meat a starring role and let vegetables support it, here, it’s the other way around—for instance, the potted carrots are made with duck fat, and roasted parsnips come drizzled with bone marrow.

Daisies image

photo credit: Derrick Koch

The real standouts on the menu, though, are the housemade pastas, all of which feature vegetables heavily. Like the beet agnolotti (not something to order if you’re unsure of your opinion on beets) where the pasta dough is made with beet juice, there’s a beet and ricotta filling, and it all comes in a beet sauce. Apart from the slight risk of a beet version of the Kool-aid mustache, though, it’s fantastic. As is the bowl of potato-filled pierogies in a mussel and beer broth—like the non-pasta dishes, it highlights fresh produce while also incorporating meat or seafood elements.

Daisies image

photo credit: Derrick Koch

Daisies image

photo credit: Derrick Koch

Daisies image

photo credit: Derrick Koch

Daisies image

photo credit: Derrick Koch

Daisies image
Daisies image
Daisies image
Daisies image

There are a few missteps, mostly involving under- or over-seasoning dishes. The stracci has a rich sauce that’s lemony but bland, and the herbs mixed in aren’t enough to boost its flavor. And fans of the original Daisies location (a much smaller spot down the street) might miss the intimate vibe that came with a staff who could tell you things like where the lettuce in your salad came from, approximately what time of day it was picked, which phone number it remembers most from its childhood, and its mother’s maiden name. The new, larger space feels more corporate, with a coffee bar/pastry counter, chef's table, and capacity for all 100 diners who might show up on a random Wednesday night. But the food is tasty and comforting in a homey way—assuming home, for you, is a place with large amounts of great pasta.

Food Rundown

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photo credit: Derrick Koch

Fritto Misto

Daisies turns something that belongs at the State Fair into a delicate appetizer. The cheese, mushrooms, and artichokes are lightly battered, and the tarragon dipping sauce is pleasantly herb-y. As far as we’re concerned this is practically a salad.
Daisies image

photo credit: Derrick Koch

Potted Carrots

Carrots blended with duck fat and served with puffy (and somewhat salty) gnocco fritto. The extra pickled carrots cut through the richness, and adds texture to counter the feeling that you’re eating baby food from a jar. Get this to share.
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photo credit: Sandy Noto

Agnolotti

Beets can be polarizing, and if you are in the “beets taste like Lake Michigan water” camp, a beet pasta filled with beets and served in a beet sauce might not be for you. But this earthy pasta topped with crème fraiche and trout roe is the best thing on the menu.
Daisies image

photo credit: Derrick Koch

Rigatoni

Fermented food can be polarizing too. There’s a real funk to this pasta, and the fermented tomato results in a very pungent sauce. But after a few bites it mellows into an interesting flavor, enhanced by the nduja and little pops of crunch from the toasted breadcrumbs. We like this.
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photo credit: Derrick Koch

Cannelloni

Cannelloni is stuffed with mashed sweet peas, and topped with bits of salty guanciale and a pile of bitter greens in a lemony sauce. This is a great example of a balanced dish that lets vegetables shine.
Daisies image

photo credit: Sandy Noto

Pierogi

There are a lot of fantastic flavors going on in this. The pan-fried pierogi are filled with potato, served in a beer broth, and topped with mussels. It’s like a moules frites/chowder hybrid, and we love it.
Daisies image

photo credit: Derrick Koch

Rainbow Trout

In the new iteration of Daisies, there’s always a few meat and seafood options on the menu, prepared with local produce—like this perfectly cooked rainbow trout with a garlicky almond salmoriglio. If you don’t want pasta, this is a good option.
Daisies image

photo credit: Derrick Koch

Dessert

The desserts at Daisies are consistently delicious, and in some cases are works of art—like the strawberry panna cotta. It’s smooth and creamy, has the ideal level of wobble, and comes with a refreshing strawberry-basil sorbet. But we prefer the less photogenic warm rhubarb crostata accompanied by a tableside pour of chamomile anglaise.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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