Chicago is well-known for its culinary scene, and with the National Restaurant Association Show coming up, we thought it would be a great time to highlight some of the city's top restaurants.

Recently opened in December 2013, Cicchetti (671 N. St. Clair, 312/642-1800) is the first-ever newly constructed Green Seal certified restaurant in Chicago. The eatery features Chef Michael Sheerin’s take on the culinary wealth of Venice which includes primarily small plates that are clean ingredient-focused.  

Originally a Chicago native, Chef Sheerin attended culinary school at Grand Rapids Community College and worked in several New York powerhouse restaurants such as Lutèce, Atlas and WD-50. After returning to his hometown, Chef Sheerin worked as chef de cuisine under James Beard award-winning chef Paul Kahan at Michelin Star-rated Blackbird. Following his successful work at Blackbird, Sheerin collaborated with his brother to open Trencherman in foodie-centric Wicker Park neighborhood. Today he and 45-year restaurant industry veteran Dan Rosenthal are collaborating to bring the taste of Venice to Chicago.

Cicchetti's ambiance is open and airy. Several large rooms house numerous tables and the warm wood touches in the modern industrial loft make the space inviting. The patio is perfect for sipping cocktails and nibbling on small bites. Nestled between Michigan Avenue and Lakeshore Drive, this hidden oasis is easily accessible, yet not at a busy intersection, so guests can dine outside peacefully.

The menu includes a variety of small plates including  aged hanger steak carpaccio with sorrel, puffed quinoa, capers, dehydrated cauliflower and marsala raisin puree; house cured sardines with horseradish gremolata, as well as a variety of house made pastas hand rolled daily. The Aged Trio of Duck: Breast, Sausage and Confit which includes smashed potatoes with Balsamic Cipollini onions, is a delicious choice as well as the Venetian Seafood Stew with Madagascar prawns in a Piquillo pepper tomato stew with Italian couscous. Just save room for one of their decadent desserts such as the Valrhona Grand Cru Guanaja Dark Chocolate Cannoli with sweet potato flan. 

Cicchetti also offers brunch which runs from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday and Chef Sheerin and his team serve dishes like Poached Eggs Rialto prepared with house made English muffins, seared porchetta, poached eggs and chorizo mornay, as well as Fried Chicken Mercato, crispy fried boneless chicken thighs with house ground polenta and salsa verde. 

“With this brunch program, we’re trying to continue the exploration of Italian ingredients and flavors, but in our own way,” says Chef Sheerin. “We also always want to present something that’s true to the Midwest with a real local focus.”

Cicchetti Bar Menu:  available open-close, every day
Monday-Thursday:                   11 a.m.—9  p.m.
Friday:                                     11 a.m.—11 p.m.
Saturday:                                  5 p.m.—11 p.m.
Sunday:                                    5 p.m.—9 p.m.

Bar:      Sunday-Thursday:  Open until 11 p.m.
Friday-Saturday:    Open until 1 a.m.