Versatile Italian cuisine can go from family-style to fine dining with the addition of high profile chefs, regional and seasonal ingredients and haute decor. A traditional celebratory feast served in courses, as we were taught in Eat Pray Love, there’s no meal more indulgent, selfish and decadent. Mamma mia!
1 Piccolo Sogno
Translating to “little dream,” Piccolo Sogno offers some of the best regional Italian dishes including hand-tossed pizzas prepared in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven, house-made pastas, Roman-style pork and Mediterranean sea bass, as well as homemade gelato and sorbet.
464 N Halsted St # 1. 312.421-0077. www.piccolosognorestaurant.com/
A favorite Michigan Avenue restaurant of critics and patrons alike, this timeless four-star restaurant celebrates the cuisine of Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano, who creates luxurious, world-class Italian cuisine showcasing the finest ingredients presented with simple elegance.
980 N. Michigan Ave. 312.280.2750. www.spiaggiarestaurant.com
3 Davanti Enoteca
When restaurateur Scott Harris decided to open his latest restaurant concept, he and the team of chefs from Francesca’s Restaurants did their research. Although already experts in their own right for rustic, Italian cuisine in Chicago, the chefs traveled across the country, eating and tasting to discover how chefs nationwide defined this cuisine. Inspired by their travels, the team is proud to introduce the new wine bar and restaurant: Davanti Enoteca in Little Italy.
1359 W. Taylor St. 312.226.5550. www.davantichicago.com
4 La Scarola
With reviews that include “make like Tony Soprano” and “you feel like your grandma is going to walk out of the kitchen to pinch your cheeks,” how could you not give this old school hideaway a chance?
721 W. Grand Ave. 312.243.1740. lascarola.com
5 A Tavola
A Tavola is the culmination of six years of professional cooking experience by Daniel Bocik, a young chef from Chicago who brings back home the knowledge and experience of an education at the California Culinary Academy and the finest restaurants of San Francisco, Paris, and Milan.
2148 W. Chicago Ave. 773.276-7567. www.atavolachicago.com