Rose Angelis: One of Lincoln Park's Best Kept Secrets Revealed

By John DiGilio in Food on Dec 30, 2010 5:30PM

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When it comes to restaurants, everybody loves a hidden gem. You know the place: tucked away, off the beaten path, romantic, and above all else, serving excellent food. Coming across such a place always raises a dilemma. Do you tell everyone about it, broadcasting your discovery from the rooftops of Yelp, and risk shattering the mystique? When you have an experience as good as our recent visit to Rose Angelis, of course, you want to tell the world.

Italian restaurant Rose Angelis is nestled in one of the more residential areas of Lincoln Park. Its understated facade hides a surprisingly large interior of cozy rooms and kitchen spaces that are divided in a way that keeps the atmosphere intimate. The amiable staff is helpful and attentive. The menu with its litany of appetizers, salads, pastas, and meats reads like Italian poetry. Budget conscious diners will be delighted to find that most entrees are under $15. The generous portions and robust flavors could certainly command higher prices - not that we are complaining. If the manager is reading, ignore the previous comment.

We paid a visit to Rose Angelis on a cold Tuesday evening. Despite the weather, the place was doing a brisk business. It had to be testament to the quality of the food. Just a few bites into our meals and we too were glad we made the trek. The calamari alla griglia with its spicy balsamic sauce was a succulent and delicious alternative to the standard fried calamari you find in so many Italian restaurants. With its thick slices of tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, the insalata di Caprese was a hearty and healthy introduction to our meal. The spinach pasta featured in the mezzalune al burro was an eye-popping green, but its stuffing of ricotta cheese and pesto combined with brown butter sauce, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes and grated parmesan cheese made it our gut-busting favorite.

The dessert list was as tantalizing as the dinner menu. There was no way were leaving without trying a few. The fresh strawberries in chilled caramel sauce were decadent in their drizzle of white and dark chocolate. Almost too beautiful to eat, they were too delicious to pass up. For a contrast of caramels, we chose the Italian bread pudding in its warm caramel sauce. It was rich and comforting. Comforting is definitely the right word to describe both this dessert and the restaurant. A few hours in the warmth and flavor of Rose Angelis was the perfect antidote to the bitter winter outside. Now that we know where it is, you can bet we will be back.

Rose Angelis is located at 1314 West Wrightwood Avenue in Lincoln Park.

Photo by Chicago Vacations Today