Saturday, November 19, 2011
There is a wealth of fast food restaurants in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. The first McDonald's actually opened in Des Plaines and there are several Subway's, Portillo's, Chipotle's, and Quizno's, so if you want to have something that is the same as everywhere else, it's fairly easy. If you want something a little different, it does take a little bit of thought but really, it isn't that hard to find a place that isn't a franchise. Most of the time, my coworkers depend on me to pick a place but this place was actually suggested to me by a coworker (who joined me for lunch). Avanti Caffe is located in the Northwest suburbs, on the border of Des Plaines and Mt. Prospect. They serve a variety of pizzas by the slice, salads, Italian subs and paninis, and a variety of pastas in the evening. There are a wide variety of Italian sausages; mortadella, pancetta, prosciutto, salami, sorpressata, and capicola. Most Italian sandwiches are pretty similar so I didn't think of the possible variety that there could be. Between the subs and the paninis, there are about 14 very different Italian sandwiches on their menu and I can't forget the arancini, the deep fried stuffed risotto balls. The sandwich I ordered was called a Venezia which was a sub that had capicola, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and Italian dressing. It was spicy (not hot), and very fresh tasting. The fresh mozzarella balls were a nice touch. While the sandwich was good and probably would have been enough for lunch, I couldn't turn away a chance to try the arancini (which was served with a marinara sauce). Risotto is good and you can never go wrong by frying something so in theory, arancini are a win. The breading was light and crisp and the risotto included peas. It was stuffed with hamburger which wasn't that interesting but as a whole it wasn't bad. While I have had better arancini elsewhere, these weren't bad.
If you happen to be in the area (Northwest suburbs or the loop), Avanti provides a nice change of pace from the average fast food or sandwich place. They have a good variety of quick Italian foods and I would enjoy going for lunch there again.