Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Cipollina may blend easily into its neighborhood, but remember that its neighborhood is Wicker Park and the only way to truly blend in is to be different. To me, it evokes nearby Lucia's albeit with a less traditional style and a more contemporary space. It's a fresh take on the Italian deli format with more interesting sandwich choices, gelato, baked goods, artisanal Italian products, and an espresso bar.

The half café, half deli setup works aesthetically, but the food could be better. I've been twice at this point and nothing I've had has been close to flawless. A cold side of brussels sprouts was overdressed and far too bacon heavy, and both an Italian sub and a prosciutto sandwich fell on the dry side. That's not to say any of this food was bad though; it just wasn't incredible.

The prosciutto, parmesan truffle butter, arugula, calabrean pepper sandwich (pictured above) stood out on the short menu because the combination of ingredients seemed interesting to me. I loved each individual component (especially prosciutto and arugula) and wondered how they would play together when placed between bread. I cannot say the combined flavors were an absolute success - the prosciutto clashed with the truffle - and yet, the result was fresh and spicy and tasty. More moisture would've been appreciated as well as something to tone down the super salty prosciutto; I mean, serving salty Vitner's potato chips is just overkill. I wonder how far over my daily sodium allowance I went...

Back or Forth? I will be going back.

Cipollina - Wicker Park - (773)227-6300 - 1543 N. Damen St, Chicago, IL 60622 - Public transportation: bus 72, 50 or the Damen stop of the Blue Line.

prosciutto - $7.25 (w/o tax)

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