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River North

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsLiterally EveryoneOutdoor/Patio SituationPeople WatchingPrivate DiningSee And Be Seen


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Ahhh Quartino. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re familiar, but we are here with a review anyway to further strengthen this relationship. If you don’t know, whether it’s because you’re new to Chicago, or don’t often frequent the depths of River North, then here’s some info on a downtown standby that caters to a number of needs.

Quartino is Italian food done simply and in small plates form. You can dabble in everything, including pizza, pasta, salads, and meats, and make it as filling or snack-like an outing as you please. It’s this concept that allows Quaritno to be a casual and reliable spot without ever being an awe inspiring meal. And it’s also what makes Quartino ideal for feeding a large group with different tastes buds, including that picky friend or family member who won’t ever try anything new. F*ck that person for being so difficult, but also we’re sorry if that person is you. On the positive side, you’re welcome, because you should request all group dinners be at Quartino if it’s not already your move.

You should never walk away from Quartino thinking it was amazing, but it’s consistently enjoyable, affordable, and a lively time. Couple in the fact it’s got a nice little patio right off State Street, and it makes for an ideal people watching spot on a nice day.

Food Rundown

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If you’re with a group of at least six or more, get some pizza involved. Having a small slice or two is all you need with a mix of other items, because you don’t need to come here solely for pizza. We are fans of the D’Anitra with duck prosciutto, onion, and arugula.
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White Bean & Garlic Spread

We love the simple white bean spread with a bit of olive oil and garlic.
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Dates Wrapped in Pancetta

Like candy to us. Dates and cured meats are the best kind of salty and sweet.
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Potato dumplings with green beans and some arugula pesto. A nice little pesto sauce that goes well with the gnocchi.
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Pappardelle al Sugo Di Manzo

Our other usual pasta move with pappardelle noodles and a braised beef tomato sauce. The wide-set noodles are ideal for picking up the meaty goodness.


Little shrimps with a mix of garlic, red chili, white wine, olive oil, and lemon. The chili flakes and garlic gives the sauce a bit of a kick, and we like these little baby shrimps even though it’s a pretty small dish.
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Veal Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco is often a big commitment. But being a small plates joint, Quartino’s $14 option is a great way to get a little fix without it being overboard.

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Suggested Reading

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Charlatan feels like a designer hunting lodge. Come for the beers and pastas, stay for the pig head.

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Davanti is actually a bit of chain restaurant, but we don’t hold that against them.

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Keeping up with the Joneses is dangerous, which is why you shouldn't be swayed by La Madia's fancy new dishes. Stick to the pizza.

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When you want great pizza that doesn’t involve a plate full of cheese and garlic buttercrust.

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