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David Lissner
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Imminent openings

Cibo Matto

Cibo Matto

Early adopters will have lots to choose from in coming weeks. About-to-open Chicagoland restaurants include:

  • Avli Estiatorio, Greek, Winnetka: Louis Alexakis, former general manager of Greek Islands and owner of the erstwhile Ouzeri, has recruited culinary expert Diane Kochilas direct from Greece as consulting chef for this 112-seat eatery specializing in regional Greek cuisine. Look for classics like pastichio, meat and pasta casserole, baked individually to order, and new twists on seasonal Greek specialties and kebabs.
  • Cibo Matto, Italian, Loop: Chef Todd Stein (ex-mk) focuses on contemporary Italian in this new spot in the Wit Hotel, ranging from small plates such as grilled octopus and house-made cured meats to lighter entrees like whitefish with peperonata, parsley oil and balsamic vinegar. A 2,000-bottle glass-and-stainless wine tower showcases global vintages.
  • Double Apple, Middle Eastern, Lincoln Park. This casual deli from Coskun Eskeranli, an A la Turka partner, will do healthy Mediterranean fare and grilled sandwiches, with Middle Eastern groceries for sale.
  • Il Poggiolo, Italian, Hinsdale: Restaurateur Jerry Kleiner’s first suburban venture, Il Poggiolo, meaning “The Balcony,” is sited in a former silent-movie theater. From the exhibition kitchen, Chef Jim Kilberg (Coco Pazzo, Bice, Gioco) showcases modern interpretations of classic Italian dishes, such as wood-fired New York strip with mushrooms and spinach and roasted sea bass with rapini and anchovy sauce.
  • Little Bucharest Bistro, Romanian, Irving Park: Branko Podrumedic of the onetime Romanian stalwart Little Bucharest has revamped Continental Cafe into this Romanian-flavored bistro, with help from Chef Andre Christopher (ex-Grocery Bistro) and dishes like braised short rib “goulash style” with truffled gnocchi and poached cherries and sausage-stuffed chicken thigh with gorgonzola polenta and olive oil-poached tomatoes, plus signature Little Bucharest items such as stuffed cabbage.
  • Mercadito, Mexican, River North: Chef Patricio Sandoval and his brothers and partners, Alfredo and Felipe, open the fourth location of their New York-based modern Mexican. Expect artful variants of ceviches and tacos and entrees like grilled whole adobo-marinated chicken with three-corn pico de gallo and chile de arbol salsa.