There’s a pretty significant Italian population in Chicago which has resulted in some fantastic Italian restaurants throughout the city. Some are dimly lit with red and white checkered table cloths, family-owned and operated with grandmother’s secret sauce recipe. There are also places putting out a very refined touch. Whatever you’re looking for in Italian food, you can find it in Chicago. – Jeff Pearl
609 Milwaukee Ave
Glenview, IL 60025
A hearty menu of Italian classics with a twist is what you’ll find at Café Lucci. Along with your masterfully crafted pasta or meat dish, you’ll get the perfect wine pairing. Delectable sauces top each of their signature dishes, and you really can’t go wrong at this North Shore favorite.
1043 N. Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611
Big and bold is how it goes at Carmine’s in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast. The atmosphere is usually hustle and bustle with a busy bar and a pianist. The food is rich, well seasoned, and stuffed full of flavor. The menu is huge too, with options for the seafood lover, the steak lover, and those of you that can’t resist homemade pasta.
1825 W. Wilson Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
Caro Mio is a rarity in that it’s Italian and BYOB. It’s a great place to bring a large group and a crate of wine that you won’t be charged for when they uncork it. To help you take down that glass of wine, try their homemade pasta dishes. Slightly al dente and full of flavor, these pastas are some of the best around.
721 W. Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
The keywords for La Scarola are huge portions, consistency, and fresh ingredients. This is one of those places where you think grandma is cooking in the back. Either bring a big appetite or be prepared to share. One thing’s for sure, the food is always up to the same high standards every time you go.
1200 W Hubbard
Chicago, IL 60607
What began as a neighborhood bar and grill back in the 1980s has become one of Chicago’s best Italian spots. Accordingly, the food is how you’d think it would be, extra meaty and extra saucy.
464 N. Halsted st
Chicago, IL 60642
Consistently hailed as the best al fresco dining in Chicago, Piccolo Sogno’s outdoor seating in the summer is almost impossible to get in to. Even when you can’t sit outside you can still enjoy amazingly prepared food from their crispy pizzas to their tender fish. Fresh and new spins on Italian classics can also be found here.
Pasta from Pompei. (credit: pompeipizzapasta.com)
4216 North Arlington Heights Road
Arlington Hts, IL 60004
This place is the epitome of the family-owned Italian restaurant. All the servers are the owner’s daughters, and the dad moves from table to table hanging out with the patrons. They have great pizza and salads, but try the gnocchi. The texture if perfect, and it’s mixed in with fresh mozzarella cubes.
1314 W Wrightwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
The menu is constantly featuring new specials based on seasonal veggies. The portions are gigantic at a low cost. The sauces on everything from their pastas to their chicken dishes are the best around. Talk about welcoming someone into a home, Rose Angelis is actually a converted house in a residential neighborhood. As a side note: Rose Angelis was the restaurant that inspired me to write about food because it was just that good.
Jeff Pearl has lived in the Chicagoland area his whole life and is currently a medical student at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Food has always been a passion of Jeff’s. In his free time, Jeff enjoys either cooking for his friends, going out to a new restaurant, or training for his next triathlon. Check out his blog,
Jeff Pearl has lived in the Chicagoland area his whole life and is currently a medical student at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Food has always been a passion of Jeff’s. In his free time, Jeff enjoys either cooking for his friends, going out to a new restaurant, or training for his next triathlon. Check out his blog, Jeff Eats Chicago