Restaurant for Two: a feature where I bring a friend to a restaurant and we write a review together. Coworker and friend, L’Oreal, and I loved everything we ate at Osteria La Madia! She’s a blogger, too, so she helped contribute to this post.
I have had the pleasure of going to over a dozen restaurants to write reviews and it’s rare that I say this: I loved everything I ate at Osteria La Madia. I’ve had brunch here before (check out my review), so this time L’Oreal and I noshed on all things Italian for lunch/dinner. It’s a carbo-load but, like, the best carbs you’ll ever eat.
Offering an Italian spin on the traditionally Swiss fondue, Osteria La Madia has two options: Spinach & Taleggio, White Truffle Fondue and Tomato & Bufala Mozzarella Fondue. Both are served with pillowy perfection that is Sardinian bread. From the moment our waiter brought out the spinach / taleggio / fondue option, we knew we were in for a treat. While the kelly green fondue may be a bit off-putting to some, it was nothing short of delectable.
The short rib meatball panini (though more of a sandwich) was hearty and delightful. Crispy and toasty, it was topped with marinara while a giant slice of melted provolone cheese was draped on top. Served with homemade garlic chips, it’s better than anything you’ll ever get at those other toasted sandwich places.
Osteria La Madia’s handmade pastas are fresh and fluffy. Their options change monthly or seasonally depending on the ingredients available. The Orecchiette and Pappardelle are constants on this rotating pasta menu. We’re curious to see what Chef Jonathan Fox comes up with next for the fall dish (pumpkin or squash, perhaps?).
Onto the main attraction: pizza! Take the soft bread served with the fondue, add toppings and you’re in for a real treat. The dough is Neapolitan, so it’s both a bit crispy and foldable. Think New York style, but smaller. We tried the Quatro Formaggio Red Pizza and the Smoked Pork Belly White Pizza. The cheese pizza was perfectly sweet, though left a bit to be desired; next time we’ll try one of the other many awesome choices like Parma or Triple Pepperoni. L’Oreal’s favorite dish was the smoked pork belly pizza with Tuscan kale. With the delicious combination of sweet (thanks to caramelized onions) and salty (due to the scrumptious pork belly), this white pizza hit all the right notes.
The grand finale was the chocolate polenta cake served with homemade vanilla gelato. All of their gelato are made in-house and they have a rotating selection. The chocolate cake was, simply put, amazing. Almost like a lava cake without the oozing molten. The polenta granules added texture to the warm goodness. Admittedly, we were a bit skeptical about the combination at first, but was truly love at first bite with the rich, gooey chocolately deliciousness and the presentation is totally #InstagramWorthy. Because they’re made to order, be sure to allow extra time for this delectable dessert.
Osteria La Madia is a well-oiled machine with everyone helping and whisking past one another with grace. The interior is homey and inviting. Here’s what we’re saying: go there! There are deals galore that you can’t pass up. And, if we’re saying this, you know it’s good: we’d even go when the prices aren’t discounted!
*Prix Fixe Menu: $12
Soup or Salad + Pizza or Pasta or Panini or Entree Salad
*Two-for-One Pizza on Mondays
*Happy Hour: Monday-Friday (4:30-6:30) 5 selections of wine & beer & Pizzettas $5 each
*1/2 off pastas after 9pm every day
59 W. Grand Ave
River North, Chicago