Family-friendly cucina and pizzeria cooks up reliable Italian classics for the Northwestern set.. The Scene Tile floors lay the foundation for this neutral-toned dining room split by a huge wood-burning brick oven and antipasti station. Roomy leather booths and banquettes pack in students and families who call this college town home. A frame filled with black and white images of World War-time brides and family members lures some diners out of their seats for closer inspection. Servers fill orders and water glasses quickly.
The Food While the positioning of the oven suggests that pizza is the star, antipasti and pasta vie for that attention. To start, braised octopus arrives tender, right down to the tentacles, and nesting on a bed of olives and crunchy celery. Crispy arancini, or mozarella-filled saffron rice balls, oozes out a sweet surprise of sundried tomatoes. Pappardelle al Ragu di Cinghiale boasts layers of ribbon pasta, tomato sauce and creamy wild boar ragu. Swordfish misses flavor on a mound of borloti bean puree.
Hits Made-to-order pizzas and a generous antipasti selection priced modestly mean that families and students on a budget can have a nice meal out. Misses Aside from the vintage photographs, the dining room lacks coziness, even with the piped-in pop and jazz tunes.