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A plate of spaghetti nero with mussels, clams, shrimp, and calamari.
Piccolo Sogno offers a classic Italian experience in an upscale setting.
Galdones Photography/Piccolo Sogno

The 20 Essential Italian Restaurants in Chicago

Carbs and Chianti galore

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Piccolo Sogno offers a classic Italian experience in an upscale setting.
| Galdones Photography/Piccolo Sogno

If there’s one thing most people can seemingly agree on, it’s that a hearty bowl of pasta is always good choice. Heavy with Italian tradition, Chicago is home to some of the country’s best red sauce restaurants. From timeless classics, such as spaghetti and meatballs and chicken Vesuvio, to contemporary plates featuring luxe ingredients like truffles, there’s a lot of variety to be had. Many places have histories that span decades while others are relative newcomers. But the one thing they all have in common: Cooking that would make nonna proud. New additions to the list include stylish Gibsons Italia, Hogsalt Hospitality’s Ciccio Mio, and South Side darling Franco’s Ristorante.

As of March 2, Chicago restaurants are permitted to serve customers indoors with a 50 percent maximum capacity per room, or 50 people — whichever is fewer. Regardless, the state requires reservations for both indoor and outdoor dining. However, this should not be taken as an endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Pisolino

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2755 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 293-6025
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Pisolino has rebranded itself for the pandemic into a market where chef James De Marte creates delicious sandwiches for takeaway during the day, when customers can browse the market for oils, wines, and more. The full menu from the prior iteration is available in the evenings, and event planner Rachel De Marte can handle catering orders.

2. Sapori Trattoria

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2701 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 832-9999
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Upscale yet approachable, Sapori Trattoria is a restaurant for all occasions. The menu leans heavily on pastas — be sure to try the seafood stew over linguini or lobster-stuffed ravioli — alongside specialties like six-hour-braised osso buco. On Tuesdays, live jazz serenades the dining room to create a perfect date-night atmosphere. Online ordering is available here.

A plate of lobster ravioli,
The lobster ravioli is excellent at Sapori Trattoria.
Sapori Trattoria [Official Photo]

3. Riccardo Trattoria

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2119 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 549-0038
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Coming from a family with a rich restaurant pedigree, chef and owner Riccardo Michi delivers some of the finest Tuscan food on the North Side. Diners love the daily specials and crowd pleasing dishes, such as lobster- and crab-filled ravioli and luscious panna cotta. Don’t be afraid to try the trippa alla Fiorentina, either. The honeycomb tripe braised with veggies and tomatoes is a memorable and traditional recipe. Call 773-549-0038 to order carryout.

4. Osteria Langhe

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2824 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-1582
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Dive into the flavors of northern Italy at this acclaimed Logan Square restaurant. Focusing on the Piedmont region, Osteria Langhe goes beyond the usual tried-and-true dishes and instead serves items like hand-pinched plin and prosciutto-wrapped rabbit loins. After dinner, do as the Italians do and sip on a digestif. Order carryout here; delivery is available through third party services.

5. Club Lucky

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1824 W Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 227-2300
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Travel back to the ‘40s at this supper-club-themed time warp in Bucktown. A large neon sign outside the restaurant beckons diners in for old-fashioned, family-style plates of calamari, chicken Vesuvio, rigatoni with meatballs, and more. Mean martinis — shaken, not stirred — garnished with stuffed olives are also a highlight, especially when they’re enjoyed in the lounge area. Carryout and delivery ordering is available here.

6. Topo Gigio

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1516 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 266-9355
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Featuring an alluring outdoor patio and traditional Tuscan-style plates, Topo Gigio embodies the spirit of a dependable neighborhood trattoria. Chicagoans won’t go wrong with the baked clams, eggplant parm, veal chops, or tiramisu. In the colder months, heaters keep the outdoor dining area warm and comfortable. Call 312-266-9355 to order.

A plated pork chop.
The patio is a big attraction at Topo Gigio.
Topo Gigio [Official Photo]

7. Nico Osteria

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1015 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 994-7100
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Nico Osteria, the sleek destination inside the Thompson Chicago hotel, doesn’t have as rich of a history as others on this list but the food leaves a lasting impression nonetheless. Pristine crudo, lobster spaghetti, and deconstructed tiramisu are just a few of the contemporary bites that await. The bar area, dubbed Salone Nico, is also a great place to unwind with a stiff drink and light bite. Nico Osteria is currently on temporary hiatus due to the pandemic.

8. Spiaggia

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980 N Michigan Ave 2nd Floor, Suite 1
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 280-2750
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The gold standard for Italian fine dining in Chicago, Michelin-starred Spiaggia belongs on every bucket list. The beautiful space, which was remodeled in 2014, overlooks the Mag Mile and sets the scene for decadent offerings that include gnocchi showered in white truffle, dry-aged bistecca alla fiorentina, and caviar with burrata. Both a la carte and tasting menus are available. For a more casual experience, sister restaurant Cafe Spiaggia doles out similarly refined pastas and entrees. Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia are currently on temporary hiatus due to the pandemic.

A person shaving a truffle over a plate of pasta.
Spiaggia is one of Chicago’s high-end Italian restaurants.
Spiaggia [Official Photo]

9. La Scarola

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721 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 243-1740
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Boasting red sauce that nonna would approve of and a small dining room lined with celebrity photos, La Scarola is an inviting haven for simple but satisfying fare. Bring companions along to share large portions of penne alla vodka, escarole and beans, veal chops, eggplant parm, pasta e fagioli, and more. It’s the Italian way. Online ordering is available here.

A variety of Italian dishes.
La Scarola is an old-school joint specializing in red sauce classics.
La Scarola [Official Photo]

10. Piccolo Sogno

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464 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 421-0077
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Escape the bustle of the city at this popular River West spot and enjoy an intimate evening filled with rustic cuisine and Italian wines. The “little dream,” the restaurant name’s translation, of Tony Priolo and Ciro Longobardo treats diners to first-rate dishes like seafood spaghetti nero, pappardelle in wild boar ragu, braised beef short ribs, and wood-fired pizzas. In the summertime, the lush garden patio is among the best for al fresco dining. Carryout orders can be placed on Tock; delivery is available through third party services.

A plate of spaghetti nero with mussels, clams, shrimp, and calamari.
Piccolo Sogno’s spacious outdoor patio makes it a popular destination.
Galdones Photography/Piccolo Sogno

11. Ciccio Mio

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226 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 796-3316
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Hogsalt Hospitality recreates the Italian American supper club experience at River North throwback Ciccio Mio. Guests are transported to a bygone era when they step into the cozy dining room decorated with vintage artwork, chandeliers, and plush banquettes. The kitchen deftly turns out excellent versions of classic staples, such as stuffed artichokes, spicy vodka rigatoni, rolled lasagna, and chicken parm. And to indulge in a frozen treat, get the amaro shaved ice. Carryout and delivery orders through third parties can be placed here.

12. Gibsons Italia

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233 N Canal St
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 414-1100
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Chicago’s famed Gibsons Restaurant Group is most notable for steaks, but the company expanded its portfolio in 2017 to include Italian cuisine with the opening of this lavish tri-level venue. Situated next to the Chicago River, Gibsons Italia offers panoramic skyline views, a beautiful dining space outfitted with a retractable roof, and a lovely outdoor patio. On the food side, the menu has Gibsons’ signature Prime Angus and grassfed Australian beef plus Italian options like arancini, risotto, and fresh pasta made from a gold extruder. Carryout and delivery orders can be placed here.

13. Monteverde

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1020 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-3041
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Top Chef and Spiaggia vet Sarah Grueneberg places an emphasis on freshly made pastas and presents regional Italian flavors through a modern lens at her lauded West Loop restaurant. The food lineup provides hits such as ricotta agnolotti, egg yolk raviolo, and a whole bird chicken parm. Grueneberg’s efforts were rewarded in 2017 when she took home the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Great Lakes region. Online ordering is available here.

14. Italian Village

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71 W Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 332-7005
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One of the city’s oldest institutions is comprised of three separate restaurants. Located on the top floor, the Village — designed to feel like an idyllic Italian village — first introduced locals to regional specialties like fettuccine Alfredo back in 1927. Downstairs on the ground floor, theatrical-themed Vivere offers a more upscale setting, while La Cantina in the basement is modeled after a cozy wine cellar. Online orders can be placed here.

15. Tufano's Vernon Park Tap

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1073 W Vernon Park Pl
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-3393

Guests don’t have to be regulars to feel like family at this longstanding eatery. Owned by the DiBuono family since 1931, little has changed at Tufano’s over the decades. Stop in for hearty red sauce dishes and favorites like eggplant parm and lemon chicken Vesuvio. Other old-school touches include chalkboard menus and a cash-only policy. The James Beard Foundation honored the restaurant as one of “America’s Classics” in 2008.

16. The Rosebud

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1500 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 942-1117
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When Chicagoans think of Little Italy, the Rosebud quickly comes to mind. The Taylor Street mainstay launched an Italian empire by drawing in folks with generous portions and a convivial atmosphere. Come for the history, stay for spaghetti and meatballs, baked clams, chicken Vesuvio, and tiramisu. The Rosebud’s original location is temporarily closed due to the pandemic but its other outposts in the Gold Coast and suburbs are open.

A plate of fried calamari.
The Rosebud is an Italian institution.
The Rosebud [Official Photo]

17. Freddy's Pizza

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1600 S 61st Ave
Cicero, IL 60804
(708) 863-9289
Visit Website

Though the name suggests that pizzas are the main attraction, Freddy’s slings much more than just pies. Cicero residents line up at owner Giuseppe Quercia’s grocer and deli, where they can stock up on Italian meats and goods and also order hot food. The menu features thick Sicilian-style pizzas, housemade meatballs, pastas, calzones, gelato, Italian ice, and more. It’s cash only, so bring some bills. Call 708-863-9289 to order.

18. Bacchanalia

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2413 S Oakley Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 254-6555
Visit Website

Head to the Heart of Italy for this family-run operation that’s been around for four decades. Touting recipes from the “old country,” Bacchanalia produces notable renditions of linguine with clams, breaded pork tenderloin, veal scallopini, gorgonzola gnocchi, and more. To finish, pistachio cannoli are a must.

19. Bruna's Ristorante

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2424 S Oakley Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 254-5550
Visit Website

A restaurant that’s endured for more than 80 years must be doing a lot right. That’s the case at Bruna’s, a South Side stalwart as charming as it is delicious. The porcini ravioli, veal limone, and tiramisu are all favorites but on Sundays, the regulars come in for Bella Bruna’s original roast chicken.

A plate of lamb with green beans and potatoes.
Bruna’s has been in business for several generations.
Bruna’s Ristorante [Official Photo]

20. Franco's Ristorante

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300 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 225-9566
Visit Website

A remodel in 2016 gave new life to this Bridgeport establishment that dates back to 1989. The renovated space has a modern-yet-retro look and is home to beloved dishes like chicken giardiniera, thick-cut pork Vesuvio, and housemade gnocchi. Pickup orders can be placed here; delivery is available through third party services.

A variety of dishes and drinks laid out on a table.
Franco’s Ristorante has the look of a newcomer but the soul of a veteran.
Franco’s Ristorante [Official Photo]

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1. Pisolino

2755 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Pisolino has rebranded itself for the pandemic into a market where chef James De Marte creates delicious sandwiches for takeaway during the day, when customers can browse the market for oils, wines, and more. The full menu from the prior iteration is available in the evenings, and event planner Rachel De Marte can handle catering orders.

2755 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

2. Sapori Trattoria

2701 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
A plate of lobster ravioli,
The lobster ravioli is excellent at Sapori Trattoria.
Sapori Trattoria [Official Photo]

Upscale yet approachable, Sapori Trattoria is a restaurant for all occasions. The menu leans heavily on pastas — be sure to try the seafood stew over linguini or lobster-stuffed ravioli — alongside specialties like six-hour-braised osso buco. On Tuesdays, live jazz serenades the dining room to create a perfect date-night atmosphere. Online ordering is available here.

2701 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614

3. Riccardo Trattoria

2119 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

Coming from a family with a rich restaurant pedigree, chef and owner Riccardo Michi delivers some of the finest Tuscan food on the North Side. Diners love the daily specials and crowd pleasing dishes, such as lobster- and crab-filled ravioli and luscious panna cotta. Don’t be afraid to try the trippa alla Fiorentina, either. The honeycomb tripe braised with veggies and tomatoes is a memorable and traditional recipe. Call 773-549-0038 to order carryout.

2119 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

4. Osteria Langhe

2824 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Dive into the flavors of northern Italy at this acclaimed Logan Square restaurant. Focusing on the Piedmont region, Osteria Langhe goes beyond the usual tried-and-true dishes and instead serves items like hand-pinched plin and prosciutto-wrapped rabbit loins. After dinner, do as the Italians do and sip on a digestif. Order carryout here; delivery is available through third party services.

2824 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

5. Club Lucky

1824 W Wabansia Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Travel back to the ‘40s at this supper-club-themed time warp in Bucktown. A large neon sign outside the restaurant beckons diners in for old-fashioned, family-style plates of calamari, chicken Vesuvio, rigatoni with meatballs, and more. Mean martinis — shaken, not stirred — garnished with stuffed olives are also a highlight, especially when they’re enjoyed in the lounge area. Carryout and delivery ordering is available here.

1824 W Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

6. Topo Gigio

1516 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610
A plated pork chop.
The patio is a big attraction at Topo Gigio.
Topo Gigio [Official Photo]

Featuring an alluring outdoor patio and traditional Tuscan-style plates, Topo Gigio embodies the spirit of a dependable neighborhood trattoria. Chicagoans won’t go wrong with the baked clams, eggplant parm, veal chops, or tiramisu. In the colder months, heaters keep the outdoor dining area warm and comfortable. Call 312-266-9355 to order.

1516 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60610

7. Nico Osteria

1015 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611

Nico Osteria, the sleek destination inside the Thompson Chicago hotel, doesn’t have as rich of a history as others on this list but the food leaves a lasting impression nonetheless. Pristine crudo, lobster spaghetti, and deconstructed tiramisu are just a few of the contemporary bites that await. The bar area, dubbed Salone Nico, is also a great place to unwind with a stiff drink and light bite. Nico Osteria is currently on temporary hiatus due to the pandemic.

1015 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

8. Spiaggia

980 N Michigan Ave 2nd Floor, Suite 1, Chicago, IL 60611
A person shaving a truffle over a plate of pasta.
Spiaggia is one of Chicago’s high-end Italian restaurants.
Spiaggia [Official Photo]

The gold standard for Italian fine dining in Chicago, Michelin-starred Spiaggia belongs on every bucket list. The beautiful space, which was remodeled in 2014, overlooks the Mag Mile and sets the scene for decadent offerings that include gnocchi showered in white truffle, dry-aged bistecca alla fiorentina, and caviar with burrata. Both a la carte and tasting menus are available. For a more casual experience, sister restaurant Cafe Spiaggia doles out similarly refined pastas and entrees. Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia are currently on temporary hiatus due to the pandemic.

980 N Michigan Ave 2nd Floor, Suite 1
Chicago, IL 60611

9. La Scarola

721 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
A variety of Italian dishes.
La Scarola is an old-school joint specializing in red sauce classics.
La Scarola [Official Photo]

Boasting red sauce that nonna would approve of and a small dining room lined with celebrity photos, La Scarola is an inviting haven for simple but satisfying fare. Bring companions along to share large portions of penne alla vodka, escarole and beans, veal chops, eggplant parm, pasta e fagioli, and more. It’s the Italian way. Online ordering is available here.

721 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654

10. Piccolo Sogno

464 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60642
A plate of spaghetti nero with mussels, clams, shrimp, and calamari.
Piccolo Sogno’s spacious outdoor patio makes it a popular destination.
Galdones Photography/Piccolo Sogno

Escape the bustle of the city at this popular River West spot and enjoy an intimate evening filled with rustic cuisine and Italian wines. The “little dream,” the restaurant name’s translation, of Tony Priolo and Ciro Longobardo treats diners to first-rate dishes like seafood spaghetti nero, pappardelle in wild boar ragu, braised beef short ribs, and wood-fired pizzas. In the summertime, the lush garden patio is among the best for al fresco dining. Carryout orders can be placed on Tock; delivery is available through third party services.

464 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60642

11. Ciccio Mio

226 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654

Hogsalt Hospitality recreates the Italian American supper club experience at River North throwback Ciccio Mio. Guests are transported to a bygone era when they step into the cozy dining room decorated with vintage artwork, chandeliers, and plush banquettes. The kitchen deftly turns out excellent versions of classic staples, such as stuffed artichokes, spicy vodka rigatoni, rolled lasagna, and chicken parm. And to indulge in a frozen treat, get the amaro shaved ice. Carryout and delivery orders through third parties can be placed here.

226 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654

12. Gibsons Italia

233 N Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606

Chicago’s famed Gibsons Restaurant Group is most notable for steaks, but the company expanded its portfolio in 2017 to include Italian cuisine with the opening of this lavish tri-level venue. Situated next to the Chicago River, Gibsons Italia offers panoramic skyline views, a beautiful dining space outfitted with a retractable roof, and a lovely outdoor patio. On the food side, the menu has Gibsons’ signature Prime Angus and grassfed Australian beef plus Italian options like arancini, risotto, and fresh pasta made from a gold extruder. Carryout and delivery orders can be placed here.

233 N Canal St
Chicago, IL 60606

13. Monteverde

1020 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607

Top Chef and Spiaggia vet Sarah Grueneberg places an emphasis on freshly made pastas and presents regional Italian flavors through a modern lens at her lauded West Loop restaurant. The food lineup provides hits such as ricotta agnolotti, egg yolk raviolo, and a whole bird chicken parm. Grueneberg’s efforts were rewarded in 2017 when she took home the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Great Lakes region. Online ordering is available here.

1020 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607

14. Italian Village

71 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603

One of the city’s oldest institutions is comprised of three separate restaurants. Located on the top floor, the Village — designed to feel like an idyllic Italian village — first introduced locals to regional specialties like fettuccine Alfredo back in 1927. Downstairs on the ground floor, theatrical-themed Vivere offers a more upscale setting, while La Cantina in the basement is modeled after a cozy wine cellar. Online orders can be placed here.

71 W Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60603

15. Tufano's Vernon Park Tap

1073 W Vernon Park Pl, Chicago, IL 60607

Guests don’t have to be regulars to feel like family at this longstanding eatery. Owned by the DiBuono family since 1931, little has changed at Tufano’s over the decades. Stop in for hearty red sauce dishes and favorites like eggplant parm and lemon chicken Vesuvio. Other old-school touches include chalkboard menus and a cash-only policy. The James Beard Foundation honored the restaurant as one of “America’s Classics” in 2008.

1073 W Vernon Park Pl
Chicago, IL 60607

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16. The Rosebud

1500 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607
A plate of fried calamari.
The Rosebud is an Italian institution.
The Rosebud [Official Photo]

When Chicagoans think of Little Italy, the Rosebud quickly comes to mind. The Taylor Street mainstay launched an Italian empire by drawing in folks with generous portions and a convivial atmosphere. Come for the history, stay for spaghetti and meatballs, baked clams, chicken Vesuvio, and tiramisu. The Rosebud’s original location is temporarily closed due to the pandemic but its other outposts in the Gold Coast and suburbs are open.

1500 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607

17. Freddy's Pizza

1600 S 61st Ave, Cicero, IL 60804

Though the name suggests that pizzas are the main attraction, Freddy’s slings much more than just pies. Cicero residents line up at owner Giuseppe Quercia’s grocer and deli, where they can stock up on Italian meats and goods and also order hot food. The menu features thick Sicilian-style pizzas, housemade meatballs, pastas, calzones, gelato, Italian ice, and more. It’s cash only, so bring some bills. Call 708-863-9289 to order.

1600 S 61st Ave
Cicero, IL 60804

18. Bacchanalia

2413 S Oakley Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

Head to the Heart of Italy for this family-run operation that’s been around for four decades. Touting recipes from the “old country,” Bacchanalia produces notable renditions of linguine with clams, breaded pork tenderloin, veal scallopini, gorgonzola gnocchi, and more. To finish, pistachio cannoli are a must.

2413 S Oakley Ave
Chicago, IL 60608

19. Bruna's Ristorante

2424 S Oakley Ave, Chicago, IL 60608
A plate of lamb with green beans and potatoes.
Bruna’s has been in business for several generations.
Bruna’s Ristorante [Official Photo]

A restaurant that’s endured for more than 80 years must be doing a lot right. That’s the case at Bruna’s, a South Side stalwart as charming as it is delicious. The porcini ravioli, veal limone, and tiramisu are all favorites but on Sundays, the regulars come in for Bella Bruna’s original roast chicken.

2424 S Oakley Ave
Chicago, IL 60608

20. Franco's Ristorante

300 W 31st St, Chicago, IL 60616
A variety of dishes and drinks laid out on a table.
Franco’s Ristorante has the look of a newcomer but the soul of a veteran.
Franco’s Ristorante [Official Photo]

A remodel in 2016 gave new life to this Bridgeport establishment that dates back to 1989. The renovated space has a modern-yet-retro look and is home to beloved dishes like chicken giardiniera, thick-cut pork Vesuvio, and housemade gnocchi. Pickup orders can be placed here; delivery is available through third party services.

300 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60616

Related Maps