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Mmm is for Monteverde

February 22, 2016
Fresh, house-made pasta stars at Monteverde, an exciting Chi-town restaurant which opened this winter, bringing a ray of Italian sunshine to the chilly West Loop. Executive chef Sarah Grueneberg (formerly of Chicago’s fine-diner Spiaggia) draws inspiration from her love of Italian food and global influences, with original, seasonal dishes such as artichoke crostini, cannelloni saltimbocca, octopus spiedini and skate wing schnitzel.
Although she started out cooking soulful Creole sauces, and was runner-up in reality TV show Top Chef: Texas, Houston-born Grueneberg has travelled in Emilia-Romagna, in northern Italy, and her passion for the region shows. She named her restaurant after the Italian translation of her surname, which means ‘green mountain’, and this Italophile dishes up ‘cooking with a traditional heart and a modern hand’. 

The menu is divided into Pasta Tipica (Italy’s pasta) and Pasta Atipica (our pasta), where Grueneberg puts an Asian or Spanish spin on classic dishes. Think arrabbiata with wok-fried, squid-shaped calamaretti pasta and spicy Gulf shrimp. Gluten-free options will appeal to on-trend eaters.
Balsamic vinegar adds feisty flavours too, with barrels of ageing vinegar displayed above the bar. A working pasta factory – or Pastificio – below is home to strips of drying pasta, with chefs filling and rolling it to order. Monteverde’s interior is chic yet cosy, all honey-coloured woods, blue-and-plum seats and soothing tans. Settle in for classy yet casual comfort food. Viva Italia!

1020 W Madison St / Near West Side / +1 312 888 3041 / 5-11pm Tue-Sat /