Pizza Art Cafe (Restaurant, Lincoln Square/Ravenswood)
Location: 4658 N. Rockwell St.
Cuisine: Italian; Pizza; BYOB
Pizza Art Cafe is one of those places that once you dine there you’ll be wondering why you hadn’t ever been there before. And then you’ll be back the next week. And the next. Tucked into a residential street in Ravenswood just a few blocks from the center of Lincoln Square, this is the type of place at which I could see myself becoming a regular.
It’s Italian. It’s BYOB. And it’s inexpensive. A triple threat in my book.
Owner and Head Chef Jasmin Bekto opened the neighborhood spot in 1999. (Again, why did it take me this long to discover it? Oh, Chicago… always ready with an undiscovered delight around the corner.) Bekto’s main attraction, as one might infer from the restaurant’s name, is the extensive pizza menu. His creative wood-fired brick oven pizzas are perfect for sharing. The menu, of course, also has Italian staples including handmade pastas, risotto, and a variety of meat and seafood dishes. Everything we ordered was superb, from the lasanga-as-a-pizza dish to Jasmin’s Bruschette, a house specialty. I’m going to even go out on a limb and say that the homemade pesto was the best I’ve ever had. If that’s not enough to get you there, I don’t know what is.
Though the majority of the menu is Italian, Chef Bekto has included several dishes that blend in his own Central European influence. You will find several Bosnian dishes on the menu — and while they may seem out of place next to Spaghetti Carbonara, they round out the menu and create a nice mixture of options for diners. If you feel like being adventurous and trying one of the chef’s specialties, order the Cevapcici (beef sausages in pita bread) or the Roast Octopus in a white wine garlic sauce.
The best part about Pizza Art Cafe is that you can enjoy it (often!) without feeling the pressure on your wallet. All dishes are very reasonably priced, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s BYOB. Our group of four left stuffed to the brim, having consumed several appetizers, a huge salad, entrees to share, and a perfect Tiramisu. Our bill? $65. Yes, Pizza Art Cafe is definitely one spot I’ll be frequenting from now on…
Pizza Art Cafe (Restaurant, Lincoln Square) in a larger map