Chicago Traveler Blog

Chicago Traveler Blog

The Top Italian Restaurants in Chicago

6/12/13 | by

All of the Italian food in Chicago makes it hard to decide where to go to curb that craving. Any neighborhood you visit will have at least a few ristorantes serving up old school and completely irresistible Italian. All keeping it traditional with their own specialty sauces, fabulous cheeses and fresh baked bread to sop it up with.

Whether you’re a local, regular or first time visitor, how do you plan to find the best Italian grub? In a land filled with specialty cheese, cured meats and hand rolled pasta, the top restaurants may be lost in the mix. We’ve sorted through the neighborhoods and present you with the best Italian specialty restaurants throughout the city of Chicago. Try them out, they may become your favorite too!

Trattoria Gianni
1711 N Halsted St at Concord Place
Lincoln Park Theatre District, Chicago
Spending an evening at the theatre in Lincoln Park? Stop by for a true Italian meal before or after your show. Trattoria Gianni is located across the street from Steppenwolf Theatre and around the corner from Royal George. They ensure you'll make it to your show on time while enjoying your dining experience, and the food is perfectly satisfying to the point of bliss, rather than feeling so stuffed you can't enjoy your show or getting hungry again at intermission.
The convenient location is not the only thing that brings the foodies into Trattoria Gianni though. The ambiance, service, and of course most importantly, the food, all make this Italian restaurant in Lincoln Park stand out! Diners praise their bolognese sauce, and the gnocchi never fails to please.
This trattoria may need to be added into your Italian rotation just based on their attentive service and beautiful ambiance. When the weather is nice this summer, enjoy a meal on their picturesque patio. From the food to the atmosphere, you won't find a more authentic and delicious Italian restaurant in Chicago's Lincoln Park Theatre District than Trattoia Gianni.

Club Lucky
1824 W. Wabansia Ave
Wicker Pack/Bucktown, Chicago
A charming restaurant that makes you feel like you're in an old Italian diner with home-style Italian cooking to match. They serve some raved-about starters such as their fresh bread with infused olive oil, and calamari that's so amazing that it's quite famous in these parts. If you're looking for the best calamari in Chicago, skip the 4-star restaurants and the prices that make you cringe and head to Club Lucky - you'll be back for more time and time again. Not hungry? You're still going to want to come in for a drink here, and their top-notch signature martinis warrant a trip over to Bucktown.
When you step past the pink neon "Club Lucky" lights, you feel like you're in a 1940's supper club, but much better than the type that usually passes for old-timey diners these days. All of the food at Club Lucky is prepared fresh and served with a friendly attitude that makes you want to stay a while. Bring your dogs along, as they welcome all and even offer outdoor seating plus water and treats! Whether you sit in the dining room, on the patio or the cocktail lounge, you're in for great food and good times at Club Lucky.

Piccolo Sogno Due
340 N Clark St.
River North, Chicago
What makes you feel more like your getting the real thing than being immersed in an atmosphere where the waiters speak Italian? Not all the time, thankfully, but it does give Piccolo Sogno Due a special something that makes a meal here completely unforgettable.
On top of that, their unique ingredients earn rave reviews that make this authentic Italian restaurant a top pick for the best Italian restaurant in River North. There are so many things to do in River North that many travelers end up spending as much time in this neighborhood as the locals do, and after a day of shopping, sightseeing and enjoying all this beautiful neighborhood has to offer, northing ends the day better than these savory dishes. A delicious buffalo milk mozzarella and squid ink pasta and bread are some of the inventive flavors that impress diners time after time. Get real, Italy-born al dente pasta right in River North at Piccolo Sogno Due.

Rose Angelis
1314 W Wrightwood Ave
Lincoln Park, Chicago
When you want pasta, you want to come here. There's no question about it. While many of the Italian restaurants on this list are mentioned for their authenticity and traditional cuisine, Rose Angelis gives us that, with a modern kick.
It starts with the service, and even when you don't have a reservation, they make you feel right at home. The staff at this little Italian restaurant goes above and beyond to cater to your party, palate and even your personal preferences.  Vegetarians, gluten-free diners and picky eaters all have a dish that will make them a regular in this Lincoln Park Italian restaurant.

Piazza Bella
2116 W Roscoe St.
Roscoe Village, Chicago
Roscoe Village holds a little gem of an Italian restaurant, Pizza Bella. Locals enjoy the proximity of delicious food and rave about the pleasant and patient service. Any dish accompanied by their four cheese sauce is guaranteed to be superb. The atmosphere is intimate and welcoming, and sets the perfect mood for a perfect Italian dinner in Chicago. Piazza Bella also offers a pretty irresistable brunch menu as well. For $15, diners get 2 mimosas, and delicious meals that start any Sunday off the right way. Create your own omelet, or enjoy a traditional brunch of French toast, bacon, sausage and potatoes, or enjoy one of their authentic pasta or pizza dishes. With excellent food and wine selections for lunch, brunch and dinner, Piazza does Italian right in Roscoe.

RPM Italian
52 W Illinois St.
Near North Side, Chicago
Family recipes and fresh pasta are RPM’s claims to fame, besides their real fame. Owned by Bill and Giuliana Rancic, this restaurant is a hot spot for drinks and great food. Start every meal with the truffled garlic bread, which many diners rave as the dish they could make an entire meal out of. But it only gets better from there. A few stars on the menu are their truffled garlic sauce, short rib pappardelle and for dessert the hazelnut tartufo. There's much more to RPM than just the exquisite food though. The ambiance in this restaurant is upscale and glamorous, but get ready for a night of entertainment. Every night here feels like a special event, from the moment you walk in, searching for celebrities (and very possibly spotting one) to the time when you step foot in their fabulous bathrooms. There's a bar area for those who didn't make a reservation, and it's first come, first serve. No matter where you sit or what you try at RPM, there's a sophistication in the restaurant that will leave you feeling more refined and better than ever as you move on to your next activity. Get a little glammed up, make a reservation and join them on the North Side for a night. You're not going to want to miss this one.

Mart Anthony’s

Mart Anthony’s
1200 W Hubbard St.
West Loop, Chicago
With Italian size portions and a menu full of right choices Mart Anthony’s is the place to go in West Loop. Enjoy traditional Italian food with the option of inside or patio seating. “Mart’s” has great choices such as their antipasto sausage and peppers, chicken sambolticca, and eggplant Parmesan. Be sure to try their signature Mart Anthony Filet, encrusted in Pecorino Romano cheese in a Pomodoro sauce, served with a side of pasta and a smile. Customers boast the Tiramisu, a sure sign of a good Italian restaurant.
Since 1981, this is a place that you can sit back, relax and enjoy a meal with friends. Unlike many Italian restaurants that boast a nice atmosphere which ends up being stuffy, Mart Anthony's is inviting, cozy and lively. Sit at the bar and make a few friends as you cheer on the Cubs, Blackhawks, Bears or anyone else over a bowl of pasta, or reconnect with friends at a table (inside or out) for a night that could last forever. They even offer specials (like the $5 Absolut Martinis every Sunday) that make this a fabulous choice for  a meal no matter what the occasion happens to be. Wherever you sit and whatever you order, you'll be happy you did, and you'll enjoy being treated like family from the moment you walk in. While this is a "neighborhood" restaurant, can't help but recommend it for any traveler, especially those visiting friends in the Windy City, or looking to make some!

2413 S Oakley Ave
Pilsen, Chicago
As one of those restaurants that people have been going to for over 30 years, Bacchanalia keeps their customers wanting more. A cozy restaurant that will fill your Italian cravings! This family owned place offers amazing vesuvio variations, focaccia, and vodka sauce. Visit Chicago’s Little Italy and try out Bacchanalia.

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