By our count, there are at least a zillion Italian restaurants in Chicago, but only a handful dare to make arancini—deep-fried rice balls. Maybe because they usually turn out like oversize lead pellets that take up permanent residence in the pit of your stomach. Not so the lighter-than-air hand-shaped spheres at Fianco. When you break into these panko-breaded, risotto-stuffed globes, the puffy/creamy vialone nano rice oozes fontina cheese. The garlicky, grassy bed of rapini pesto could make tomato sauce obsolete, and the crown of Parmesan shreds rounds out the already perfect orbs. 3440 N. Southport Ave.; 773-327-6400.
Photograph: Nathan Kirkman