On my first day back in Chicago (after a few weeks of travel), I was anxious to check out the new Bar Toma, a restaurant opened in place of Bistro 110. Tony Mantuano, a famous chef and owner of Spiaggia created the pizzeria-bar-mozzarella-gelato extravaganza and has has been receiving great reviews. Sara and I stopped in for lunch mid-week. The restaurant wasn’t too busy, and we decided to sit at the pizza bar where we could see all the action. Also, the Chef de Cucina, Erik Freeberg, was at the pizza bar to provide insight and cooking entertainment.
We started with the Hand rolled & stuffed mozzarella, filled with San Marzano tomatoes and basil. Let me just say, it was beautiful. Usually when I eat fresh mozzarella, it is presented as a Caprese salad and seasoned with olive oil & pesto or balsamic vinegar. This was lightly dressed and the freshness of all three ingredients blended together quite well. Sara said it was innovative and loved the crushed tomato touch. Also, for $6, this was an affordable appetizer option.
We ordered the power pizza for our main course. At first we wanted a pizza with tomato sauce, but when we eyed the spinach in this description, we decided on the “Power.” The Power pizza has olive oil, spinach, garlic, mozzarella, and peccorino.
It was great to watch our pizza being created (along with others) at the pizza bar. Regardless of the style of pizza, the bottom of the crust is substantial. This means that the pizza slices are not floppy. For Bar Toma, this is a great crust. Because their pizzas are inventive and sometimes contain many toppings, you can trust the crust to hold its own.
When we tasted our pizza, it was awesome. There was plenty of spinach for the pizza, and a touch of salt added a nice contrast to the overall taste. We did order a side of sauce, because sauce is awesome, and it was great to have as an option for dipping.
First of all, I think this restaurant is a great addition to the pizza & dining scene. Although we went for lunch, the restaurant is spacious and has a jovial atmosphere. I’m sure it’s hoppin’ at night, and can serve as a great place for group dining and a fun date night.
I am SO happy that Bar Toma has opened in the popular Mag Mile/Gold Coast area and highly suggest it!
Honestly, I think Bar Toma will give a place like La Madia a run for their money. I could see myself choosing Bar Toma for a date night meal as well. Also, Bar Toma offers a coffee bar and gelato, so they are a viable option for different times of day.
The pizzas are different… both both are uniquely lovely. La Madia’s pizza is softer, thinner, and more of a fork & knife pizza, while Bar Toma’s pizza crust can hold its own. Then again, La Madia has great specials, and I do love a good deal. Either way, both have great features to offer 🙂