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Where to go for Italian on the Northside?

sobaguy Jul 15, 2008 10:06 AM

I am going out with a group of 6 Japanese (4adults and 2 teenagers) out for dinner tomorrow night. They have all lived in the States and are comfortable with the restaurant scene in Chicago. I'd like to get them some good Italian food and would like the restaurant to be no further north then Wrigleyville(3600 north). One family will be sightseeing downtown and have a car for transport. The others will be coming in on the Kennedy for the burbs by car.

Looking for a mid-ranged Italian restaurant with good food. Right now thinking of going to Mia Francescas on Clark. I also thought of Rose Angelis on Wrightwood but heard from others that they were disappointed with the food on their last recent meal. Any ideas on where to go?

I'd like a place where I can make a reservation and 2 of our party may be a bit late. Therefore, want a restaurant that would seat the 5 of us so we can start with appetizers before the last 2 arrive. Last of all, valet is a plus. Any recommendations you have would be much appreciated.

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  1. j
    jbentley4 RE: sobaguy Jul 15, 2008 11:14 AM

    Hands down, my recommendation would be Terragusto Cafe at 1851 W. Addison, just west of Wrigley Field. It's super authentic, they make their own pasta fresh daily and meals are prepared with fresh, local, organic produce, meats and cheeses. Also, it's byob, so you won't spend a fortune on wine. No need for valet as street parking is readily available.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jbentley4
      leek RE: jbentley4 Jul 15, 2008 02:24 PM

      I love the food at Terragusto, but I think they are pretty strict about only seating complete parties and not overstaying around 2 hours.

    2. t
      topawers RE: sobaguy Jul 15, 2008 11:50 AM

      I went to Riccardo Trattoria last Saturday and had a great time. It´s on Clark in Lincoln Park and it has a neighborhood vibe and it's a good place. Great appetizers and great pastas. We all had pasta but I saw other people ordering entrees that looked amazing, especially the lamb.
      It's an authentic, good unpretentious place with a good environment. A bit noisy (no music, just from other tables' conversations), as real Italians should be, but if you are not bothered by that you're all set. Right next to us there was a group of stylish Italian people, so if Italians come here you are not mistaking.
      If you want to go call today since it's rather small and you have a large party. I don't know about valet since I walked thee, but you can ask when you call.

      Good luck!

      1. b
        Bothrops RE: sobaguy Jul 15, 2008 12:39 PM

        I suggest Sabatino's on Irving Park, just 4 blocks west of the Kennedy. The decor and food is classic, "old school" Italian. The pasta dishes are excellent with interesting daily specials. This has been my favorite Italian restaurant for over 20 years. Although, a little north and west of what you mentioned, you will probably save time in the long run by not having to fight Wrigleyville traffic and it is just off the expressway. They also have valet parking.

        1. Chew on That RE: sobaguy Jul 16, 2008 09:11 AM

          I highly recommend the Francesca family of restaurants. Their food is all homemade and all delicious!

          There is one in Lakeview: http://www.miafrancesca.com/restauran...

          1. g
            gonefishin RE: sobaguy Jul 16, 2008 10:14 AM

            I recently had a great meal at Merlo on Maple.


            1. s
              sobaguy RE: sobaguy Jul 16, 2008 11:58 AM

              Thanks for all of your advice on places. I couldn't get a reservation at Mia Francescas for the time I wanted so we are going to Topo Giogio. It is a convenient location for all of us and I enjoyed the food a great deal when I was there a few weeks ago. I had their pasta special of the day which included black ink linguini, great cream sauce and loads of fresh seafood.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sobaguy
                Gweck RE: sobaguy Jul 16, 2008 05:13 PM

                I like Fiorentino's on Ashland just north of Diversey. Very yummy and nice ambiance.

                Fiorentino's Cucina Italiana
                2901 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

              2. a
                alohamu RE: sobaguy Jul 18, 2008 03:09 PM

                I just found this site - very cool! My favorite places for Italian are on Wells Street/North Avenue. Orso's on Wells. Great Italian and I always loved it.
                Second favorite - Trattoria Roma - also on Wells. couldn't find their website. Great owner!
                Another favorite - Topo Gigio - also on Wells.
                Notice a theme? Yes my father worked in the area and all three of these I went to growing up. All 3 are great!

                1 Reply
                1. re: alohamu
                  SuzMiCo RE: alohamu Jul 20, 2008 02:11 PM

                  Orso's has beautiful outdoor seating, but the only food I've had there that I've enjoyed have been the pizzas.

                  Trattoria Roma is has a nice, relaxed atmosphere. The service is always friendly, but inconsistent in how quickly they take your order, etc. The food there is middle of the road Italian, good but not great. I'm a big fan of their mushroom ravioli, though. Oh, and they have valet parking.

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