You're tired, you've had a long day at work and you'd like to end the day with a nice, reasonably priced meal served quick. Looks like you're ready for La Madia, the River North pizzeria that serves upscale food without the upscale price.
The theme: Art of pizza, love of wine. Don't expect to find deep-dish pies here; instead, you'll dig into contemporary thin-crust creations ($9-$16). Madia is a place where middle-aged folks come together to pass around three different pizzas (the house-made fennel sausage pie with sweet peppers and Vidalia onions will surely be one of them). Add to the mix any of 250-plus wines and you've got a truly satisfying meal.
While La Madia works well as an after-work hangout, anyone can find his or her niche in this trendy spot with feng shui-like decor, recessed lighting, the sounds of Oasis and Dave Matthews and a hint of patchouli oil in the air. Women in their 30s channel their inner Carrie Bradshaw in the booths, couples in their 20s share first-date jitters over a Crimson Crush cocktail in the lounge, while others sit at the pizza bar with an aquarium view of the kitchen.
La Madia isn't Chuck E. Cheese, but it's not your average chic spot, either. Go ahead and make a little noise. Whether you're a boisterous table for six or a romantic couple, you'll feel comfortable thanks to the attentive waitstaff. Lacking busboys, the servers work like a colony of bees, filling waters, removing plates and dropping fresh-out-of-the-oven pizzas, pasta dishes ($12-$18) and more.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez