Osteria La Madia
Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime, when pizza’s on a bagel, you can eat pizza anytime! Two things to note here. First, La Madia does not specialize in pizza bagels, I just needed an excuse to highlight the infamous 1990’s Bagel Bites commercial. And second, why hasn’t anyone created a restaurant that serves only pizza bagels?
One thing is for sure, the artist formerly known as La Madia would have been better off adding pizza bagels to its recently redesigned menu over the new items they actually settled on. Within the last two months, the casual River North pizza staple decided to close down and morph into "Osteria La Madia," whatever that means. It appears ownership was worried about keeping up with the Joneses, because the re-reveal included both a more sophisticated interior and menu. The new ambience is definitely a little nicer, so we won't knock them for the upgraded look. But the new dishes we've had a chance to try are a complete waste of your money and time. The menu expanded from mostly salads and pizzas to include a number of charcuteries, pastas, entrees, and sides, and our recent foray into the unknown has been anything but good. The old La Madia would have garnered a near mid 7 rating in our book, but the new Osteria version managed to kick itself down a few notches by deciding it was a good idea to serve subpar food. Subtraction by addition.
This is a glass half full situation though, because the pizza options are still virtually the same. La Madia was, and still should be, a pizza-only kind of place. Go for the wood-fired Neapolitan style pizzas that are consistently good and hot out of the oven. Mix in a few salads or appetizers too, which is never a bad idea. However, we suggest staying away from the other main plates. Stick to our words of wisdom and hit up La Madia for a number of scenarios when you're looking for River North vibes without the stiff bill.
May we suggest homemade pizza bagels for the next reconcept. Just sayin'.
Duck Confit Arancini
This appetizer isn't so much arancini as it is fried crispy sht on a plate. Any notion of duck eluded us.
Little Gem Lettuce
Our go-to salad. Just enough pancetta for some extra flavor and the creamy mustard dressing isn’t too heavy or overbearing.
Triple Pepperoni Pizza (red)
Best thing on the menu, by far. It's a top notch red sauce pizza with mozzarella and pepperoni, finished with a little truffle oil over the top. The truffle oil isn’t just for show either, it really enhances the pie.
Fennel Sausage and Sweet Onion Pizza
Sausage plus onions cooked just right to bring out the sweetness. The two balance each other out.
Wild Mushroom Pizza
Really good mushrooms, and a lot of them. Great option for lighter pizza without the sauce and meat.
Organic Egg & Prosciutto
Light up the table because you've got an egg on your pizza and it's picture time. The prosciutto is good too, and probably tied for our favorite white option along with the mushroom.
Gnocchi in a tomato sauce with a little burrata. Not that good of a sauce, even though the gnocchi itself was fine.
Roasted Half Chicken
Roasted half chicken with pumpkin and a Tahitian vanilla oil. Tahitian vanilla oil sounds fancy, but the only thing we tasted was salt. This isn't good chicken.