Stopped at Medici Bakery on 57th this afternoon and the bread was just as good as ReneG outlined. I bought four demi baguettes, two seeded and two plain and one demi ciabatta. The seeded baguette, which is always my favorite, irrespective of the bakery, was excellent.
I started to write my impression of the baguettes and realized that I was simply paraphrasing ReneG, so, as opposed to plagiarizing Rene, I'll quote him. "The basic baguette is a good one with a rough crisp crust, chewy crumb, and excellent flavor with just a hint of sour. They also make a seeded version covered with lots of poppy, sesame, fennel, and salt. This is a good change of pace but I almost always prefer the simpler version."
I also tried Medici's ciabatta which has a strong olive oil flavor, thin, lighter crust and is, overall, quite delicious. The ciabatta would make an excellent toasted sandwich bread.
Medici has a full range of bakery, which Rene, and RST in his richly informative follow up, outlined. I also enjoyed the people and neighborhood in and around Medici, but would hate to try to navigate the narrow street during the week, much less find parking.
I peeked in Medici restaurant, just a few doors West, which smelled great and the pizza looked fantastic. I don't have any idea how the pizza tastes, but if the flavor is 1/10th as good as the smell it is one of the best pizzas in Chicago.
All in all, I agree, Medici is a wonderful bakery, the only downside is access. If they opened a bakery on the Northside, or even on on the Southside with easier access and parking, I would be a regular.
By the way, Medici's was not the best bread I have have recently in Chicago, that honor, by far, goes to a fellow Chowhound whose house Ellen and I had the pleasure of dining at last month. Her bread, made from a starter she has been cultivating for 10+ years was simply perfect. That's it, no descriptive terms, just simply perfect.
Thanks again to Rene for pointing out Medici Bakery.
1327 E 57th St
Sun-Thu 7am-1130pm, Fri-Sat 7am-midnight
Bread is often available in the evening but sometimes runs out before closing