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Best of Chicago > Food & Drink > Bakery
Pasticceria Natalina

Best Bakery, Reader's Choice: Pasticceria Natalina

A. Jackson

Reader’s Choice

Pasticceria Natalina

I once read about a “sporting” event (it involved drinking beer and plac­ing some form of rodent in your trousers) where the world record was a minute and 42 seconds—until some guy named Reg set a new record of three hours, only stopping when the witnesses got bored and went home. Pasticceria Natalina has a similar competition-ending effect: Natalie and Nick Zarzour’s desserts are so delicate, so artful, so operatically ecstasy-inducing that we could just about close the category for good. Flaky tarts with clouds of custard and liquor-soaked amarena cherries imported from Emilia-Romagna, almond cookies giving off waves of fresh almond flavor with each bite, rich chocolate-orange cassata filled with imported sheep’s milk ricotta, cream horns filled with a banana mousse that redeems that often insipid flavoring . . . every visit to their shop, like each new room in Willy Wonka’s factory, reveals marvels scarcely dreamed of until they appeared in your hand. Is such magic expensive? Unquestionably, and yet in a city of $200 tasting menus, a $4.50 tartufi from Natalina may be the best deal on mind-blowing deliciousness in town. Arrow 5406 N. Clark, 773-989-0662, p-natalina.com. —Mike Gebert

Readers’ Choice

Whole Foods

Arrow Multiple locations, wholefoodsmarket.com.

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