Let’s get this straight first: It’s pronounced chee-nee, derived from this fast-casual restaurant’s namesake appetizer, arancini. Arancini are deep-fried balls of risotto, and Cini has three flavors on the appetizer list: Original, with sausage, peas, pecorino and Parmigiano-Reggiano; Primavera, with fresh squash, broccoli, pesto, Romano and more Parmigiano-Reggiano; and Four-Cheese, a decadent treat made with Parm-Reg, Romano, gorgonzola and mascarpone. The bulk of Cini’s menu focuses on build-your-own pastas, salads and Piadina, a very thin bread that serves as the base of Cini’s wraps.
Pick your mix among the fresh ingredients. Grill items range from calamari with hot peppers to Italian sausage. Sauces run from a lovely pomodoro to a rich basil pesto. And save room for dessert. Arancini make another appearance here. This time the risotto is sweet and flavored with hazelnuts and chocolate, an unfamiliar and delicious way to cap off your meal. Look for a second location to debut in Ladue later this spring.
Cini, 374 S. Grand Blvd., Midtown, 314.531.4433, cinichow.com