Just off Michigan Avenue, and a stone’s throw from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Center, sits Tesori – an Italian-inspired restaurant suitable for Loop workers, museum- and theater-goers, and tourists alike. From the lively and spacious bar and lounge, to the relaxing and comfortable dining room, Tesori is sure to suit everyone’s taste.
My sister and I recently visited Tesori for dinner and were completely impressed by not only the quality and taste of the food, but by the friendly and knowledgeable wait staff, as well. All of Tesori’s pastas and pizzas are handmade, and diners can watch their meal be prepared in the open kitchen. “Tesori” means “treasure” in Italian, and the menu certainly does boast some treasures.
We started with the most succulent, tender, and delicious braised veal cheeks, served atop Anson Mills stone ground polenta, with a fall mirepoix of vegetables. No knife was needed as the veal was perfectly cooked and just melted in our mouths. The grits soaked up the flavorful juices and the whole dish was one of our favorites of the night.
We then shared two different salads – the Tuscan kale salad, with cauliflower, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, Grana Padano cheese, and crushed croutons, and the sugar beet salad, with baby spinach, apple, white balsamic, Marcona almonds, red onion, and creamed buffalo mozzarella. We added grilled shrimp to the Tuscan kale salad, and it was my favorite. The shrimp were cooked perfectly, and the flavors of the salad worked really well together. It would make the perfect lunch or light dinner entree, and I will definitely be back to order it again.
I did enjoy the beet salad, as well, especially with the crunch of the crumbled almonds on top. The dressing was flavorful, but did not overwhelm or drown the salad. This salad was on the sweeter side though, so my preference was for the kale iteration. It also did not boast much, if any, mozzarella, as advertised. Perhaps that would have helped cut through the sweetness.
Next came another favorite dish of the evening – the hand made agnolotti, with baby spinach, house made ricotta, and Burgundy black truffles. The aroma from the truffles alone had me swooning, and as much as we tried our hardest not to finish the plate in order to save room for dessert, our attempt was futile and we polished off every bite. I even wiped the plate clean with a piece of Tesori’s house made bread. So good!
We then got back on the healthy track with the whole Branzino al sale, with baby kale, plum tomatoes, capers, olive, lemon, and herb veneziana. Even though the fish was advertised as being “whole,” ours came as two filets. Regardless, the dish was delicious. The flesh of the fish was tender and flavorful, while the skin was perfectly crispy. The olive oil, lemons, and capers gave it just enough flavor without overwhelming the light and flaky fish.
We unfortunately did not have room for dessert, though I will be back for the tiramisu. Instead, we relaxed and sipped some warm tea in our comfortable booth.
I look forward to returning to Tesori, for both lunch and dinner, and next time I plan to sit in the lounge and order a house made pizza and a glass of wine. The friendly service and cozy atmosphere makes you feel like you are at home, and the delicious food will certainly beckon you back for more.
Tesori is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and reservations are accepted. In warmer months, I recommend dining on the lovely outdoor patio.
65 East Adams Street, Chicago, Illinois
While my meal was complimentary, all opinions expressed herein are my own.