With so many great Italian restaurants in Chicago, you might think it’s tough to pinpoint which ones are the best. Guess again. Because we just did it. We aren’t saying your favorite old school Italian joint around the corner isn’t worth eating at. We’re just saying these spots should be at the top of your list.
In no particular order, here are the best Italian restaurants in Chicago.
Fancy and delicious without being pompous and uncomfortable. If a more refined date night or dinner with the parents is in order, Riccardo Trattoria is at the top of our list.
Hey, Piccolo Sogno. We like your face. And by that we mean we like your food and your back patio. Piccolo Sogno is another quieter spot that makes for a nice meal.
Old school red sauce joints are a dime a dozen in this city. We realize La Scarola is a lot newer than some of the others, but that doesn’t change the fact it’s our go-to of the bunch.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no denying delicious Italian food is the end result of the Lettuce Entertain You and Giuliana Rancic love affair. Prices are steep and you’ll be deep in the scene, but the food really is that good.
Davanti was the first neighborhood Italian restaurant we fell in love with in Chicago. The Little Italy location holds a special place in our hearts, and it should hold a special place in yours too because then we can be telepathically connected. Get the polenta board with the ragu of the day.
Monteverde is one of the best new restaurants around, and the pastas are a big reason why. The crew here is mixing, rolling, and creating dough all the time, and they do magic with the end noodle result. From cannelloni stuffed with saltimboca to duck egg corzetti with pecan and herb pesto, the flavor combos here do big things.
Italian food doesn’t have to mean strictly pizza and pasta. Siena Tavern also serves up a great selection of crudos and meats, particularly their massive wagyu beef meatball. Doesn’t hurt that they still have phenomenal pastas as well.
Authentic Neapolitan pizza, and the best pizza in the city. A giant ball of burrata with a prosciutto bow is the exclamation point and mic drop all at once.
Don’t sleep on Balena. You’re not hearing or talking about it as much as you should be. You’re also not eating enough of their excellent homemade pastas.
Osteria Langhe specializes in food from the Piemonte region of Italy, which is known for a lot of antipasti at meals. The English translation of that means you should order a whole lot of smaller dishes and get after it.
Charlatan isn’t so much Italian as it as an Italian-American mix. You’ll get vibes of being in a hunting lodge while sitting there, but a stylish hunting lodge with great food and good beers.
Spiaggia has long been the benchmark for creative Italian cuisine in a fine dining setting. A really fine setting, and one that will set you back more dollars than you usually spend. But there’s a reason it’s been highly acclaimed for a long time, they keep cranking out the goods. Spiaggia recently switched over to a tasting menu only situation, and a special occasion or celebration would be a good time to check it out.