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Sula Thinks Animale is a Winner; TimeOut Enjoys Reliable Il Porcellino; More

Plus Cruz Blanca's excellent tacos

Marc Much

Cameron Grant is delivering "outstanding food" at new counter-service joint Animale. The Osteria Langhe chef crafts "fine sandwiches" like a carbonara panini with pancetta, caramelized onions, Parmigiano and a sunny-side up egg, along with potato gnocchi described as "salty, savory goodness." His "superb" pasta-making skills are evident on thick, ribbony pappardelle in a ragu of Wegyu beef cheeks but the "most astonishing thing" about the restaurant is its offal offerings. From seared rabbit livers to diced beef tongue, Mike Sula says "guts-to-go never tasted so good." [Reader]

Il Porcellino is a "dependable choice" that appeals to the whole family, writes Elizabeth Atkinson. The menu has "plenty to offer" and "everyone can find a dish to enjoy." Pastas are a "sure bet" and include "light and fluffy" gnocchi in a "hearty" tomato sauce with prime beef, pecorino and rosemary, as well as fried Brussels sprouts that have a "nice bite, crispy and salty." Baked caciocavallo is wrapped in prosciutto and reminiscent of turkey and cheese roll-ups but with a "more adult flair." Cocktails are also "not to be missed," especially the "smooth" Jimmy Two Times featuring rye, grapefruit, Amaro Nonino and Peychaud's bitters. [TOC]

Cruz Blanca is elevating the taco game with food "deftly displaying individuality and purity." Graham Meyer digs into beef tasajo, cured flank steak, and says the "macho punch of the beef naturally thrums to the flavors of the onion and the pepper." A nopal salad of prickly pear, red onions and crumbled cheese in a light vinegary dressing is "both tastier and more interesting" than the cucumber salad and feels "balletic." House brews include a "light, citrusy, not-that-smoky" Smoke Alley ale and a "straightforward, hoppy" Basica lager. [Crain's]


1904 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (872) 315-3912 Visit Website

Il Porcellino

59 West Hubbard Street, , IL 60654 (312) 595-0800 Visit Website


1904 western, Chicago, IL 60647 (872) 315-3912

Cruz Blanca

904 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-1975 Visit Website