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May 4, 2008 07:14 PM

"Mom and Pop" Italian Restaurant

Looking for great Italian Food at a local restaurant....any suggestions? Husband is from New York......

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  1. If I were hosting folks from New York, I wouldn't take them to an Italian restaurant here. It's not that we don't have some pretty good ones here - we do - but rather, it's something that's far more prevalent there, and there are other cuisines that are done better in Chicago than in New York. For example, assuming they're somewhere close to downtown, I'd take them for creative provincial Mexican food they aren't likely to find at home (in the city, to Topolobampo or Salpicon, or in the suburbs, to Flamingo's in Mount Prospect). Heck, I'd even take them to a good casual contemporary American restaurant here, even though that is something done very well in New York and Chicago (such as one sixtyblue in the city or Michael in Winnetka).

    If you'd still like an answer to your question, though, I would consider these to be the best Italian restaurants in their respective price ranges:

    $25 entrees - Cafe Spiaggia -
    $30 entrees (city) - Coco Pazzo -
    $30 entrees (suburbs) - Va Pensiero (Evanston) -
    $35-40 entrees - Pane Caldo -
    price no object - Spiaggia -

    1. a new place opened up in West Town.

      Natalinos. they are on Chicago Ave near Ashland.

      Homemade pasta. Great apps and well priced wine list. you get a lot more bang for your buck versus the larger named, downtown places.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chiguy13

        I 2nd Natalino's. Nice upscale neighborhood joint feel. Try the stuffed peppers.

      2. La Scarola in River West has a good, "neighborhoody" feel. Relaxed atmosphere, big portions, and an overly-friendly owner make for a fun night. Food isn't sophisticated like at some of the places Nsxtasy suggested, but good nonetheless.

        1. My first choice would be Bacchanalia on Oakley. Take a look at some of the reviews... we drive about 25-30 miles just to go there.

          1. Thanks for all the great, varied suggestions!!!