One restaurant providing a touch of Sicily to the culture and arts mecca that is Wicker Park is OsteriaRusticana, whose owners promise to invoke “a welcoming atmosphere and flavorful menu, inviting sunshine, sea-kissed beaches, abundant farmlands, and a rich, long-standing food culture, infused with the unique and special tastes and fragrances only found on this beloved Italian island.”
Osteria Rusticana has garnered rave reviews, with a near-perfect 4.7/5-star rating on Google. One particularly laudatory review reads, in part, “If you see a rating less than 5 stars on this place, this is probably from somebody who hates America and freedom and therefore cannot be trusted.”
Another reviewer says, “I only review The Best of the Best, and these are trying times to say the least. Whether you pick up, eat in, or have it delivered, you will not be disappointed.”
The best words to describe the food at Osteria Rusticana are ‘abbunnanzza divertimentu.’ In Sicilian, it means ‘abundant pleasure!’
Several unique starters are amply portioned and great for sharing, including the Arancini di Riso, which combines saffron rice balls with Sicilian meat ragout, and another filled with seasonal vegetables and fontina cheese, or a Polpette in Salsa di Ciliegino: beef, ricotta and zucchini meatballs in ciliegino tomato sauce. For a lighter start, there’s an Insalata Pantesca— Heirloom tomatoes, novelle potatoes, onions, capers and olives in a zesty lemon dressing, or an Insalata Mediterranea, integrating Hearts of romaine with grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, zucchini and cucumber in Sicilian olive oil.
And then…there’s the pasta. Osteria Rusticana offers a wide variety of ancient Sicilian grains, including timilia, russello, perciasacchi, and gluten-free options such as taggliatelle, rigatoni, and fusilli. Favorite entrees include Gnocchi al Pesto Trapanese, which pairs whole handcrafted gnocchi in roasted almond-basil pesto sauce. Rigatoni al Ragu Siciliano is a Russello rigatoni with Sicilian meat sauce ragu. One specialty mentioned by several reviewers is the Tagliatelle Rusticana, combining handcrafted tagliatelle, sausages, rapini (broccoli rabe), grape tomatoes, and seasonal mushrooms in a white wine sauce. Or the Cavatelli alla Norma, which has Perciasacchi cavatelli, diced eggplant and ricotta salata in a tomato sauce. Another unique entrée is Paccheri in Salsa di Pistacchio–paccheri, Tiger prawns, zucchini and grape tomatoes in Sicilian-Bronte pistachio sauce.
Other entrees include Vitello alla Contadina, a tasty combination of pounded veal, seasonal mushrooms, artichokes, diced asparagus and peas in au jus, and Bistecca ai Ferri- a grilled, center-cut NY strip, sautéed mushrooms served with sage potatoes.
All entrees can be paired with the restaurant’s selection of fine Italian wines and beers, or a specialty cocktail crafted to your specifications.
The perfect meal always ends with the perfect dessert. Selections include a highly rated tiramisu, panna cotta or fruit sorbet. Pistachio Tiramisu is a variation on the classic, and Semifreddo Nutella is a rich, chocolate/hazelnut mousse. You can pair your dessert with an expansive selection of cappuccinos and expressos for a maximum Sicilian experience!
A wide variety of pizzas are available for takeout and delivery only.
Osteria Rusticana is located at 2114 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622, and is open Monday-Thursday 5–9 pm, Friday & Saturday, 5-10 pm, and Sunday, 5-8 pm. Reservations are recommended. More information is available here.
Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago