My Top 10 Chicago Italian Restaurants

My Top 10 Chicago Italian Restaurants

Photo of Margot Mazur

I love Italian food and my husband would probably rank it as one of his favorites too, so when we dine out we often find ourselves at Italian restaurants-- new ones and old favorites.

10 Places
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    It's not on the menu, but when you walk into the restaurant they have a huge spread on display of beautiful antipasti components: freshly sliced prosciutto, cheeses, olives, roasted vegetables, breads, and spreads.
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    It's fabulous. The decor is high end, the bar is always bustling, and it's a little taste of Hollywood since it is owned by LA/Chicago celebrities (Bill and Giuliana Rancic).
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    Both locations are small, cozy, and laidback. The vibe is very much like the tiny old trattorias I visited in Italy. The food is simple and delicious.
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    They have several locations throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs and no matter which one you go to, you can count on great service and a really solid meal.
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    The restaurant is loud and energetic and the menu here is focused on small plates and sharing, so it's a really fun place to dine at with a big group.
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    This restaurant is a hidden gem among the mostly lame (sad, but true) restaurant scene in the Loop. It's located on the second floor of the JW Marriott hotel, so with no street frontage it stays a bit quieter than your typical downtown restaurant.
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    I have been here at least a dozen times and the experience is consistently good. It's tucked into a more residential part of River North so the feel is more laidback and neighborhood-y than bustling and touristy.
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    Coccoli. Light and savory Italian donuts served with prosciutto, cheese, truffle honey.
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    The atmosphere here is wonderful. It's cozy, rustic, and romantic-- an ideal location for date night. Everything here is intended for sharing, so you get a great opportunity to sample and share a variety of dishes.
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    Balena is a best of both worlds kind of restaurant. The space is itself is chic yet rustic and the atmosphere is upscale, but not stuffy. The food is a perfect combination of local seasonal ingredients and traditional Italian dishes.
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