Full Disclosure: I paid for this meal with my own money and I was in no way reimbursed for this blog post. The opinions are completely my own.
Upon arriving in Chicago last Thursday, we were more than ready to get out of the car and see the city. When we got to our hotel, our room wasn’t ready yet so we dropped off our luggage and headed out to explore the area in search of lunch. Since we had a bit of time until the room would most likely be ready (a few hours) we decided to go somewhere a little nicer so that we could spend a little more time eating in the air conditioning and a little less time walking around in the heat – it was SO hot.
Since I am in Chicago fairly often, I keep a running list of places that people recommend for me to eat while I’m in town. Quartino was one of them. I had walked by it many times while in town and always thought about going there but the someone else suggesting it to me was what I needed to actually decide to go there. We had originally planned on going there for dinner, but since we had some time to kill, we decided to go for lunch instead. Quartino is known for their small plates – smaller portions meant for sharing among the people at the table.
I’m actually glad we ended up going for lunch because they had a great special – a meal for two for $25! It seemed like the best way for us to try a few different things without having a ton of food. We chose 3 different dishes to share.
To start, the meal came with fresh bread, parmesan, and olive oil. The bread wasn’t warm but it was still nice and fresh tasting.
For our first choice we got the fonduta which is an Italian artisan blend cheese fondue served with bread (they actually brought out cubed bread along with the other) and we added apples to dip as well. The cheese was good, and even though the post of cheese looks tiny, it actually is quite a bit – especially when you consider it is the first of 3 plates.
For the second dish we ordered the cavatelli which was served with tomatoes, fresh basil, & fresh ricotta. I really liked this dish. It was very fresh tasting and loved the thicker texture of the noodle. I know they call them “small plates” but this dish could easily have been a meal on its own – especially with the bread and fondue before it.
The third dish we chose was the salmon which was served with roasted grape tomatoes and oil cured olives. I’ve recently become a bigger fan of salmon, a year ago I don’t think I would have ever ordered it at a restaurant. This salmon was very good. The flavors were very light, but flavorful and it was a great protein addition to lunch – definitely not something that would leave me feeling heavy all day. This was also quite a generous portion for a “small plate.”
Overall the meal was very good. There were quite a variety of dishes to choose from, and I always like the idea of sharing a bunch of small plates with the table. A great first meal in Chicago!
Taste: A, really good, and interesting, food.
Cost: A, we felt like we got a great deal with the $25 special.
Would I go there again? Yeah I think so. I really like the variety that small plates can bring – especially if you are with a different group of people.