Best Italian Restaurants in Chicago

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Ciao, foodie friends, and Windy City wanderers! It's your culinary tour guide here, serving up my latest blog post like a piping hot bowl of fettuccine alfredo on a chilly Chicago evening.

If you thought deep-dish pizza was the apex of Chicago’s cuisine, it’s time to unroll your napkin, tuck it in, and hold onto your parmesan because we’re diving fork-first into the glorious world of Chicago’s finest Italian food. 

That’s right. Today we're swapping hotdogs for bruschetta, deep dish for tagliatelle, and drawing a marinara line in the sand. Get ready to explore the molto bene scene of the best Italian restaurants in Chicago.

La Scarola

Ah, La Scarola! If you're hankering for a homespun Italian dining experience, this West Town wonder is your culinary soulmate. Stepping into La Scarola is like strutting into your nonna’s dining room. If your nonna had a taste for vintage decor and a knack for dishing up mountains of divine Italian cuisine, that is.

The place is compact, cozy, and buzzing like a Vespa on the cobblestone streets of Italy. You can't help but feel the love and warmth in the air — it's either that or the garlic. I bet my last bite of lasagna that it’s a bit of both. Now, let's talk about the menu, which is as extensive as a Leonardo Da Vinci codex, but, thankfully, a lot less confusing.

La Scarola is famed for their Rigatoni alla Vodka. This dish is pure magic, a veritable Houdini of pasta dishes, if you will. You’ll think the red sauce disappears too quickly with each mouthful, but don’t worry, there’s always more clinging to the perfectly al dente pasta, standing by to knock your socks off. Vegetarians will enjoy the eggplant parmigiana and the minestrone soup. 


Buckle up, bellissima, because next on our carb-laden journey is Monteverde — where modern Italy does the tango with good ol' Chi-Town to a tune you won't forget. Nestled in the heart of the West Loop, it's more cutting-edge than a well-sharpened parm knife and has cemented itself as a destination restaurant in Chicago.

Headed by the unstoppable Sarah Grueneberg, a Top Chef alum who’s as passionate about pasta as Michelangelo was about chisels, Monteverde effortlessly blends innovation with tradition.

Osteria Langhe

The next stop on our tour of the best restaurants in Chicago’s Italian eatery roster is Osteria Langhe. This is Logan Square’s culinary answer to a Piedmontese postcard. Friends, this is the kind of place where truffles aren't something pigs dig up — they're the crown jewel of the plate.

A love letter to Italy's Piedmont region, Osteria Langhe has carved out a sweet spot in the Chicago food scene that's as snug as a truffle tucked in a mound of tagliolini. 

Speaking of truffles, it'd be practically a sin not to mention their Plin — tiny, hand-pinched ravioli filled with cheese, bathing in a buttery, thyme-infused sauce and lavished with a generous shaving of black truffle. They're like little parcels of heaven that burst with every bite.

Got a thing for risotto? Then you'll be head-over-stilettos for their Risotto Acquerello. Creamy, decadent, and cooked to al-dente perfection in the old-school style, it's a dish that'll make you want to rise and applaud.

The atmosphere? It’s as warm and inviting as a hug from your favorite Italian nonna, with a modern twist. The kind of place that says, "Hey, nice to meet you. Have some wine. Love, Italy."

So pull up a chair at Osteria Langhe, where every antipasti and entree is a passport stamp from the Piedmont region.

Piccolo Sogno

Hold onto your tiramisu, darlings, because we’re about to saunter into Piccolo Sogno, the "Little Dream" of Chicago's Italian dining scene. It’s more charming than a Venetian gondolier and as authentic as a Naples pizzeria. Tucked away in River West, Piccolo Sogno is the sort of place where dreams — and insanely delicious Italian dishes — come to life.

The menu here reads like a love letter to Italy, filled with all the greatest hits from your favorite food chart. The house-made pastas, oh, the pastas! They're the culinary equivalent of a Fellini film — beautiful, captivating, and oh-so-Italian. 

The Pappardelle con Cinghiale (a rich wild boar ragu nestling on a bed of broad, flat noodles) is a sultry, savory sonnet that'll have your taste buds swooning. Enjoy the polpette della nonna, a classic trio of Grandma’s meatballs with tomato sauce and soft polenta. This dish alone is worthy of a Michelin star.

The wine list? It’s longer than a summer day in the Arctic. With a focus on Italian wines, they have a vino to accompany every dish, mood, or star sign.

Before we go, we simply must pay respects to the outdoor patio, an urban oasis that’ll make you feel like you've been whisked off to a sun-drenched Tuscan villa. Picnic blanket chic with a side of lush greenery, please!

Sapori Trattoria

We're revving up our engines and heading to Lincoln Park, where Sapori Trattoria is serving up Italian comfort food with a side of style. With an ambiance as cozy as your favorite woolen scarf and a menu more mouthwatering than a freshly poured Aperol Spritz, this gem of a spot truly sparkles.

Picture this: Rustic charm meets urban chic in a setting that makes you feel as welcome as a long-lost cousin at a family reunion in Sicily. The vibes are as warm and comforting as their signature Lasagna Della Nonna. 

Speaking of which, let's dish about this beauty. It’s a towering lasagna that’ll take you on a journey down memory lane all the way to Nonna’s Sunday kitchen. We simply can’t get past the pasta without mentioning the bucatini carbonara: Tube pasta lovingly tossed with egg yolk, onion, cream, pancetta, and smoked bacon. A sprig of parsley tops it off with grana padano cheese. 

The burrata platter with grilled bread, garlic spread, prosciutto di parma, pickled peppers, and roasted tomato relish is amazing, but don’t forget to leave room to sample the bolognese in an authentic meat sauce. 

Feeling adventurous? Then let's navigate the delicious sea of Frutti Di Mare. It’s a seafood lover's paradise, with perfectly cooked clams, mussels, fried calamari, and shrimp swimming in a luscious white wine sauce and served over linguine.

RPM Italian

Located in River North, RPM Italian is where elegance meets comfort. The atmosphere? Think Rat Pack cool with a dash of Sophia Loren glamor. 

Dim lighting, plush leather banquettes, and an open kitchen make it feel like you’re dining in a stylish Italian movie set. All that’s missing is your autograph.

But enough about the decor, let's talk about the real star here: the food. The menu is a carefully curated masterpiece that is sure to make any Italian-American grandma nod in approval. Handmade pastas, savory meatballs, and much more await you here. 

Their signature dish, the Carbonara, is pure gold. It’s creamy, decadent, and served with a crispy piece of guanciale that's as perfect as a Tuscan sunset. 

Even better? There are gluten-free options. Try the Wagyu steak tartare that any world-class steakhouse would be proud to serve. The cacio e pepe is simple yet stunning — kind of like the Little Black Dress of Italian food. There’s even gluten-free chicken parmesan; have your dreams come true? Ours too!

Ciccio Mio Ristorante

Last but certainly not least, on our carb-tastic tour, we’re prancing into Ciccio Mio — a delightfully chic Italian date night spot that has foodies whispering sweet nothings in Italian. Located in River North, this spot is as trendy as a Milan runway show but with more mouthwatering options than your average gelato stand.

Stepping into Ciccio Mio is like being welcomed into a 1940s Italian movie — all golden hues, plush velvet, and the kind of vintage glam that makes you wish you’d worn your best ascot. It’s a vibe that says, "Hey, we're modern, but we respect our gnocchi and penne roots."

Their specialty? The Mafaldine al Ragu. Picture this: ribbon-like pasta, a robust meat sauce, and a veil of Parmigiano. One bit, and you might just believe you’ve been transported to Bologna.

Craving seafood? The Spaghetti al Nero is your one-way ticket to coastal bliss. Squid ink spaghetti, calamari, and a hint of chili create a beautiful symphony.

If you're thinking of skipping dessert, think again! Their Olive Oil Cake with citrus and whipped mascarpone is a dreamy crescendo to your dining experience.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it, my food-loving famiglia, our whirlwind tour of Chicago's best Italian restaurants. Each eatery we've explored, from the homey charm of La Scarola to the sophisticated allure of RPM Italian, shows that our beloved Windy City has more to offer than deep-dish pizzas and Chicago dogs (though let's be real, those are pretty darn delicious too).

Whether you're yearning for some homemade pasta magic, dreaming of a prosciutto paradise, or simply in need of a killer Tiramisu, you’ll find what you're craving in these Italian gems. Just remember to pair it with a glass of vino because, as the Italians say, "A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine” (or so the story goes!).

So get out there, my dear carb crusaders, and start exploring the Little Italy that Chicago has carefully crafted in each corner. Remember, life is a combination of magic and pasta, and these spots deliver both in heaping portions.


City of Chicago

La Scarola


Osteria Langhe


Sapori Trattoria

RPM Italian Chicago

Ciccio Mio

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