The Casino at Bar Toma

I had lunch at Bar Toma one day while in Chicago, which is a pizzeria and bar by Chef Tony Mantuano (most notably from Bravo’s second season of Top Chef Masters). My friend and I split a delicious wood-fired pizza — called “Casino” — that was topped with Manila clams, Tamworth bacon, shallots, jalapenos, parsley, and bread crumbs. There was also a hint of lemon that added extra zest to the pizza. But before I bit into the pizza, I started off my lunch with a hearty “Cristina” salad that had orange supremes, olives, frisee, spinach, avocado, smoked garlic, shrimp, hearts of palm, and lemon. Total droolfest.

The restaurant has a cool, hip vibe — and we sat at a community table towards the front with people we didn’t know, which I liked. The place was packed for lunch on a weekday, but service was quick and friendly, and the food was tasty and filling. Delizioso!