"Mom and Pop" Italian Restaurant
Looking for great Italian Food at a local restaurant....any suggestions? Husband is from New York......
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 - www.levyrestaurants.com
$30 entrees (city) - Coco Pazzo - www.cocopazzochicago.com
$30 entrees (suburbs) - Va Pensiero (Evanston) - www.va-p.com
$35-40 entrees - Pane Caldo - www.panecaldo.com
price no object - Spiaggia - www.levyrestaurants.com
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.