Coda di Volpe became a Southport Corridor staple when it opened in 2016 and is known for its handmade pasta, house-cured meats, and wood-fire oven pizzas. We were excited when they invited us in to treat us to brunch. Part of Lakeview’s recent restaurant renaissance, I first heard about this southern Italy-inspired gem from my fabulous facialist. I’m a Streeterville girl with a downtown bias, but she promised me that the trek up to Lakeview would be more than worth it. Since she’s never led me astray on skincare, I decided it was worth trusting her pizza expertise.
Coda di Volpe’s storefront is adorably perched on the corner of Southport and Henderson, and it has a gorgeous outdoor patio where cute families can be seen sipping wine and sharing pizzas on summer evenings. Inside, the décor is cozy and warm, with a welcoming wraparound bar and big green leather booths.
My friend Katlin and I settled into a corner booth around noon on a Sunday. The ambiance was relaxed – the perfect atmosphere for a leisurely brunch. The soundtrack was ‘80s and ‘90s classics, so we were happily bopping our heads to Whitney Houston while we decided on two brunch cocktails: the classic white peach Bellini and espresso martini – perfect for those who can’t decide between coffee and cocktail! The martini was made with vodka, a double shot of espresso, and coffee liqueur. It was frothy with coffee beans on top and smelled just like your typical morning latte. Even Katlin – a non-coffee drinker – found it smooth and drinkable. The Bellini was light and delicious, with just a hint of peach.
We paired our cocktails with an order of the bomboloni and an iced latte. As iced latte-drinkers know, sometimes this order is a curveball for sit-down restaurants, but they whipped up the beverage quickly and it was smooth and delicious. The bomboloni order was served with three sauces: a candied orange syrup, a chocolate sauce, and a strawberry passion jam. The doughnuts were warm, sugary, and moist, with a dollop of chocolate in the center.
For entrees – we decided to divide and conquer between breakfast and lunch. Wanting to have the true brunch experience, Katlin ordered the Benedict. I was eager to try one of their signature items, so I opted for the classic Margherita pizza.
The Benedict was served over crisp buttery brioche with pancetta, tomato, poached eggs, and citrus Hollandaise. The eggs were soft but not runny, and of course the dish was accented with an Italian touch – salmoriglio, which is similar to pesto. It was topped with arugula, which gave a lighter taste to this usually heavy dish.
The highlight of the brunch was the authentic, Napoletana pizza. If they can impress us with the basic Margherita pizza, then they are true pizza wizards, right? The thin crust and fresh ingredients transported me back to my last trip to Italy, where the pizzas are thinner, crispier, and more flavorful than what we Americans are used to. The style and tastes were authentically Italian, and the pie was even served with shears to cut it, which added an element of fun.
The Bitches say: five Champagne flutes! We enjoyed everything we tried at this Lakeview gem, and we would go back for the Napoletana pizza – and the Bellini!
Coda di Volpe serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.