I spent last weekend in Chicago and was so excited to be back in my home city. Jon & I were meeting up with some of his friends at a new bar in Wicker Park, so we wanted to grab dinner in that area. After I vetoed the sushi dinner option for the evening, he made reservations at Tocco, a Pizzeria & Wine Bar near the Division St. Blue Line stop. It was perfect weather for dining outside, and the restaurant has a nice eclectic patio and large garage door windows that were open as well.
We wanted to ‘dine’ since we had some time to kill, so we ordered a bottle of wine. The bottles were reasonably priced for Chicago, ranging from $30-$40 each. Also, we were served two types of bread: tomato bread and a moist white bread. Both were served cold, but since the bread was moist and fluffy, it was like the inside of a doughnut (A+). Both of us used our power of restraint and had the bread taken from the table after a few pieces :).
I was content with that, but then Jon did the unthinkable… he ordered “Gnocco Fritto”-FRIED DOUGH and meat plate (with ham, salumi, and prosciutto). I was not very pleased because he was totally intruding on my attempts to eat healthier. The presentation showed Tocco’s unique style. The deli shaved meat differed from a typical cold cut & crackers platter and the salty breadsticks provided a nice contrast. I personally wasn’t too interested in the style of meat, but Jon was pleased with the protein assortment and took full advantage.
After finishing our appetizer and probably half of our bottle of wine, we placed our order for the arugula & cherry tomato pizza- “Pomodorini”. We really enjoyed the pizza here. I have had a strong streak of eating brick oven & coal oven pizzas, so I tried to assess this more critically since I can compare pizzas to those I’ve tried before. The crust was much thinner and crunchier than Sono Wood Fired, and there was a lot of tomato sauce & tomatoes for emphasis, which I enjoyed. Unlike Coalfire pizza, the toppings were generously applied, including the arugula and cheese, so sharing one pizza was plenty after an appetizer and some bread.
I really enjoyed the ambiance here. Patios exemplify quintessential summertime, and whenever I have the chance to enjoy them (and it’s not too hot), I take advantage of that. The price of pizzas & appetizers were upwards of $10, with most pizzas at $16, so they definitely establish themselves as a high-end pizzeria. I would highly suggest this place if you are in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area, and are looking to enjoy the eclectic ambiance and well-crafted dishes. Also check out their ½ price pizzas on Tuesdays!