While some Marco restaurants shut up shop for the summer, DaVinci's at Marco Walk plaza keeps the culinary turnstiles clicking.

Like its sister restaurant Marco Prime, just across the courtyard, DaVinci's runs innovative specials, menu variations and daily happy hours to keep locals and summer tourists coming back.

Suggestions for this time of the year include $5, $6, and $7 "small bites" – including wood-oven, two-topping pizza, spaghetti with meatballs or gnocchi with tomato sauce and fresh basil.

A "must-try" appetizer is DaVinci's burrata caprese. Burrata means "buttered" in Italian and is possibly the best cheese on earth, say the chefs. Made from mozzarella cheese and cream, when the burrata is sliced open, ritagli-thickened panna (cream) flows out.

Davinci's burrata is served with prosciutto, arugula and bacon tomato jam, with tomatoes and aged balsamic.

On the drink side, bartenders tout fresh-fruit and herb-infused liquors like pineapple tequila, or cucumber vodka. For tequila fans, Davinci's offers mescal margaritas. Similar to tequila in origin, mescal is an agave spirit usually best described as herbaceous and smoky. Bartender Ivan suggests enjoying mescal jalapeno margarita with spicy sriracha salt.

For wine lovers, DaVinci's offers a huge selection, including the award-winning Catena Malbec, Luigi Righetti Amar one or Ferrari Carano chardonnay. Adamo Serravalle, wine director and co-owner, who writes wine articles regularly for the Sun Times, has a great story about each bottle on the menu.

On the cover: Wood-fired pizza is a big attraction at DaVinci's. Julia Opravina/Sun Times

If you go

What: DaVinci's

Where: Marco Walk plaza

Food: Italian and Mediterranean

Price: Medium

Hours: Happy hour, 4:30-6 p.m., regular 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m. (weekends to 10:30). Bar and pizza open until 2 a.m. Fri-Sat. Restaurant open 7 days a week.

Reservations: Suggested for big groups

Telephone: 389-1888


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