Pasta Pro

Impressive strands at Bucktown's new Antico

The last few months have held a spate of Italian-slanted restaurant openings. Yet our hunger for fresh pasta remains unsated.

How exciting, then, to find such superb examples at Bucktown newcomer Antico.

Owner Brad Schlieder, former manager of A Tavola, installed A Tavola veterans in Antico's kitchen. And the staff knows its way around a bag of flour. Tagliatelle ($10) is silky and supple, with a meaty Bolognese coating its strands.

A pile of whole-wheat spaghetti ($12) studded with shiitake mushrooms wears a bright sauce of lemon, butter, white wine and parsley. Supremely pillowy gnocchi ($10) are offered three ways: topped with Bolognese, with brown butter and sage, or with a simple, flavorful tomato sauce. Look for agnolotti and plin (small stuffed pastas) to join the lineup soon.

Once the restaurant gets its liquor license (it's BYO for now), pair the meal with a bottle from the all-Italian wine list. And finish with a lightly sweet, caramel-topped panna cotta ($6).

Antico fills a neighborhood need in the morning, too. Open weekdays at 7 a.m., it serves croissants and baguettes from Cook Au Vin, house-roasted coffee, house-made zeppole (Italian doughnuts) and biscotti. Go on weekends for a more substantial breakfast of truffle-oil-scented eggs with prosciutto, served as a sandwich or atop polenta.

Antico, 1946 N. Leavitt St. (at Armitage Ave.); 773-489-4895 or anticochicago.com