'Buon Appetito': Chicago's Top Italian Restaurants for Pasta, Pizza and Amore



A generation ago, Chicago's Italian restaurants were strictly the red sauce and meatball variety but today, it's a veritable feast from every part of the boot. We surely are blessed with excellent Italian eateries from fine dining via Spiaggia, RPM Italian and Gibson's Italia  to the affordable and family-friendly Quartino. 

Spiaggia is the Italian spot along the Magnificent Mile and still one of Chicago's top restaurants. If Spiaggia is the diamond of Italian in Chicago, then places like Bar Roma and Osteria Trulli  (the only authentic Pugliese eatery in the Chicago area) are the heart and soul. Cozy interiors, welcoming owners and authentic menus that never disappoint make these hidden gems. In a sea of corporately owned restaurants, these indies never come up short in flavor, friendliness and sheer energy.

Piccolo Sogno offers dreamy interiors, a knock-out outdoor patio and Italian cuisine that is still satisfying diners after 10 years on the competitive Chicago restaurant scene. Locals and visitors have been swirling pasta at Phil Stefani's Tuscany  in Little Italy for over a quarter of a century and just when you think you've tried every pasta dish imaginable, a culinary artist like Sarah Grueneberg will wow you at Monteverde. 


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Gibson's Italia is an overachiever. There's not just that great Gibson's steak but platters of crudo, towers of shellfish and delicate house made pasta. On three levels. With two fireplaces and a roof deck that wows with skyline and river views....  Read More


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Osteria Langhe
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Osteria Langhe


 

The intimate and casually romantic dinner spot serves delicious Italian food from the Pidemont region of Italy (bordering France and Switzerland at the foot of the Alps). The tiny dining area is lined with white lights and candlelit tables. The...  Read More


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Piccolo Sogno, Italian for "little dream," is just that. The first restaurant of partners Tony Priolo and Ciro Longobardo is still satisfying diners after 10 years on the competitive Chicago dining scene. The menu is studded with hand-made...  Read More


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Little Italy


 

For Northern Italian cuisine, Tuscany is a fine choice in Little Italy that's as popular with Millennials as it is with business folks and families with grannies and kids. The Phil Stefani classic has delivered rich Tuscan flavor and juicy...  Read More


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At the intersection of Texas, Italy and Top Chef, you'll find Monteverde, Chef Sarah Grueneberg's ode to her birth place, wanderlust and the inventiveness that tv viewers witnessed on season 9 of the Bravo show. If you're looking for...  Read More


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RPM Italian is celebrity-owned (Bill and Giuliana Rancic), but don't hold that against it because it's a great Italian restaurant in Chicago close to hotels, shopping and Michigan Ave. The space is outfitted in modern black, white and grey...  Read More


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Andersonville


 

We can bet that some of your favorite Italian dishes are Roman: Cacio e Pepe studded with black pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese; Bucatini all'Amatriciana starring spicy pork cheek ragu; and eggy Carbonara. You can get exceptional versions of...  Read More


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Quartino calls itself, "Chicago's Italian restaurant" and if you've never been you might think that a tad presumptuous. It's not. People love this place as evidenced by tables filled with chatty diners every night of the week. Unlike too many...  Read More


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How does Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano continue to crank out the most ethereal pasta, sophisticated antipasti and jaw dropping second courses after all these years? He cooks from the head and the heart and is smart to hire simpatico creative chefs...  Read More


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Arlington Heights


 

Puglia is wealth of rustic cuisine, juicy wine, plentiful seafood straight out of the Adriatic and stunning vistas. Osteria Trulli is the only authentic Pugliese eatery in the area via chef/owner Giovanni DeNigris, a native of the region....  Read More


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Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky

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