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Jan 5, 2007 11:49 PM

Dark, cozy, and *quiet* Italian near downtown/south loop?

Bruna's is my idea of an Italian restaurant, but I'd like to find something similar a little closer to downtown or south loop/Little Italy. From reviews I've read, Volare sounds promising on food, but crowded and noisy. I like the food at Tuscany, but the noise is deafening.

I'm sure people will say that quality=crowded, and quiet=nobody eats there. Am I asking for the impossible: great food, good service, but a cozy room where I could enjoy a meal in (relative) a sedate atmosphere with my ipod and a book? Maybe a lesser known Little Italy place? Thanks.

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  1. Trattoria Caterina may be what you're looking for. Its a small restaurant with friendly staff, BYOB and delicious, simple, and well-priced authentic Italian. Its in Printers Row.

    1. Maybe I need to give Trattoria Caterina another try, but the one time I ate there I did not think that the food was anywhere near the quality of Bruna's or Tuscany. In the South Loop, I prefer Gioco, but that too is on the noisy side. For well-prepared, conversation-friendly Italian in that area, I favor Trattoria No. 10.

      2 Replies
      1. re: masha

        Agreed that Caterina is nowhere near the quality of Bruna's, but it is very sedate, casual, single-friendly, and a good place to hunker down with a book. Go through the menu and you might find something you like.

        Trattoria 10 is far less homey and pricier. The quality of its food and atmosphere is, accordingly, superior to TC, altho, particularly on weekends, it may not be as sedate or as casual as you like. (It also draws a pretty good pre-theater crowd) If you drop the book for the ipod, however, you can sit at the bar (probably too dark to read, there), order from the menu, and they probably won't care if you settle in. Also, during weekdays, I think, there is (or used to be) a buffet with antipasti at about $10 in the bar area, altho that could get crowded at times.

        1. re: masha

          I like Gioco in the South Loop too, but think it's pretty quiet and intimate on weekdays. Fits the OP's bill of dark & cozy too. Love the home-made ribbon pasta and gnocchi there. The small wood -burning oven also adds a nice touch and good thin crust pizzas.

        2. try Gennaro's, 1352 W Taylor St..small, cozy, great atmosphere, outstanding food, open only thurs-sunday..very moderatly priced compared to rest of the street..