Good Italian - Elmhurst area ?
Daughter is starting college in Elmhurst. Looking for a nice restaurant with good food and atmosphere. She loves Italian and when I take her to dinner, it would be great to find a place that won't remind her of the dorm in food or surroundings. Any recs would be appreciated.
In downtown Elmhurst, there are so many dining options you will be occupied for a long time! For italian, on York Road there is Angelo's and on Spring Road there is Roberto's. If you go west on North Avenue into Villa Park, there is a place called Venuti's. They have a special pizza with basil, garlic and tomato that is just excellent. All are good options. Also in the downtown area there is a bar/pub called Fitz's Pub. A lot of students from Elmhurst College go there and they have decent food as well as tons of beer selections, if that's something you would appreciate. There is a Lou Malnati's outpost just south of the train station, but I believe it's still only carry out. Best of luck to your daughter!!
Elmhurst is not far from Oakbrook Center, a very upscale mall. There are two very good choices in the mall - Maggiano's and Antico Posto. Both are good, and having college-age sibs I can tell you that they love the atmosphere at Maggiano's (in fact, that was my college-age brother's choice for a night out). Antico Posto is a little fancier place, but not too fancy. Portions are not as huge as Maggiano's (a plus in my book) and the food is better in my opinion. A smaller, more subdued place.
FYI, neither place feels like it's "in the mall". In fact, the mall's restaurant row is on the back side of the mall and feels in many ways removed from the mall itself.
My friend loves 100 S. Chop House at 100 S. York Road in Elmhurst. Great for steak. Live singer on weekends...he's supposedly very good.
Oddly, 100 S. has provided several of the worst dining experiences of my life. This place specializes in mediocre, grossly overpriced food that is incompetently prepared at best. Can't comment on the singer though.
Most of the Italian places in and around E-hurst (most of which are mentioned above) are of the old school pizza and red sauce variety. Of those, Roberto's is probably my favorite. But as an EC student, your daughter will probably consume lots of Roberto's Pizza.
For more conteporary Italian, Mia Francesca's does have a branch in uptown Elmhurst called Francesca's Amici(they call the main drag uptown there). I have never been to that particular venue, but the Mia Francesca dynasty is fairly reliable for fresh well prepared rustic Italian cuisine in pleasant and slightly upscale, but casual environments.
Other than that, I would do what jlynch9 suggested, and go to Oakbrook. I think I would stay away from Maggiano's, in the mall, and go to Tuscany on 22nd street instead (just north of the mall). It is probably a little more expensive than Maggiano's, but the food is more imaginatively prepared. Like Francesca's, Tuscany is also part of a local mini-chain with restauants downtown and in several suburbs (whereas Maggiano's is a nationwide chain). I have not been to Antico Posto, so I can't comment on that.
174 N York St
Elmhurst, IL 60126
1415 West 22nd St.
Oak Brook, IL 60521
re: Roger Spark
I would agree about the 100 S. opinion. I will never forget being served "corked" wine there. Probably no one's fault, and they promptly corrected it, but it wasn't worth the price of admission. I forgot, there is also a place on St. Charles Road in Villa Park called Porticello's. Good Italian food and the prices are not crazy. A great oriental food place, also on St. Charles Road is Tae Fu. Yummmmmm.
I would also second the recommendation for Maggiano's. Huge portions. Their house salad is awesome. Finally, near Tuscany on 22nd Street in Oakbrook is Vic's Italian Steakhouse. I've had their food at events (not actually in the restaurant itself), but it was well prepared and tasty.
I strongly recommend I Gemelli in Addison. It is in a very modest strip shopping mall but the food is quite good and innovative. This is not your old-fashioned Italian-American, red sauce kind of place. Lots of good fish, homemade pasta, etc.
I was at the new Venuti's on Lake Street near Medinah Road last Friday. We were thinking about having a luncheon there so we thought we'd try it. The facility is beautiful, the food was just OK IMHO. I was in the bar area and was asking the bartender about the original location and she told me it was only her second day so she didn't know about it. A waitress came in with a drink in a chipped glass and asked for a replacement. The bartender dumped the drink out and made a fresh one in a new glass. Then I saw the owner come up to her and tell her that she should not have dumped the drink but she should have poured it into a new glass. We decided not to plan out luncheon there and will not return.
Roberto's, Roberto's, Roberto's. Wonderful ambience, great menu, and the chef is incredibly accommodating ... and their marinara is incredible.
Can't believe I forgot this one - Vincitori on Cass Ave. in Westmont. Odd neighborhood of dry cleaners, etc., but the restaurant is nicely done inside, and the food is great (esp. the shrimp diavolo).