I make it a point to seek out some of my favorite cuisines in the city. Italian food always seems to be left off that list. I love Italian, it’s just not always at the forefront of my mind when choosing a restaurant. Luckily, one evening, my date suggested Frasca Pizzeria + Wine Bar. Tucked into a cozy corner at 3358 N. Paulina St., this romantic spot is perfect for date night. I will admit, I felt a bit underdressed (we had just come from a baseball game), so next time I’ll swap my Cubs cap for something a bit less sporty. We started with a combination plate from the Farmer’s Table menu. We chose the Bruschetta, a combination of three toasts: 1) fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil, 2) brie and apples, EVOO, and cracked pepper, and 3) roasted pepper and goat cheese. My favorite was the brie and apples. The brie was creamy and rich, perfectly complimenting the sweet crunch of the granny smith apples. The menu is hearty and every item made my mouth water. I finally decided on the Rigatoni Gigante: thick rigatoni noodles with fennel sausage, sweet peas, and a tomato cream sauce. The name is no misnomer, the portion was gigantic. The sausage was flawlessly seasoned and the sauce had just the right amount of spice. I could only get through about half before I had to throw in the towel and ask for a box. My date ordered the risotto, which is always on the menu but changes frequently, as it’s seasonally inspired. His included fresh spinach, creamy mozzarella, tomatoes, and herbs. While we determined risotto is not his favorite dish, the flavors were impeccably blended.
Frasca is a little pricier than restaurants I normally frequent, so it’s perfect for date night, an anniversary, or any other special event. Entrees range from $14-24 and pizzas start at $10 for a build-your-own. We went in after the dinner rush on a Friday night and had no problem being seated right away. If you have a larger group, I would suggest calling to make a reservation. Hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 4:30 pm to 10 pm, Fridays from 4:30 pm to 11 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 11 pm, and Sundays from 10 am to 9 pm.
RACHEL HOOVLER & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO