Chicago has a million steakhouses: classic institutions popular with tourists, places to conduct Very Important Business, and the sceney spots—ones with good sound systems and selfie mirrors in the bathroom, that may or may not deliver on both style and substance.
Fioretta, an Italian steakhouse in Fulton Market from the team behind Lyra and Prime and Provisions, is definitely sceney. But it successfully straddles the line between being the type of place where you can order negronis poured tableside from miniature gas cans, and a place to take your beef aficionado CEO.
The food is everything you want from an old-school seeming steakhouse with a humidor (which, yes, this spot has). The steak is excellent—like an olive-fed wagyu New York strip so tender you’ll wonder whether that cow had a personal masseuse. And since Fioretta bills itself as Italian, the menu also has dishes like carpaccio, and crispy chicken parm so thin it’s sliced with a pizza cutter. Most importantly: there are little plates of housemade pasta for when the whipped potatoes aren't special enough to accompany your $165 steak.
Fioretta delivers on style too, channeling mid-century glamour without being over-the-top theme-y. Bartenders in waistcoats and checkered marble floors might make you think people are here coat-checking fedoras and debating McCarthyism. There’s the requisite retro food-on-a-trolley—Caesar salad made tableside by a server wedged against velvet booths, dodging diners and staff careening through the aisle.
The crowded, buzzy atmosphere is distinctly 21st century. A bottle sparkler will probably make an appearance, as will eight carafes of wine for the shout-talking team dinner across the room. With so much activity going on, plus an open kitchen and live music on the weekend, Fioretta can get loud. But it's also fun, and let’s be real— you don’t need to hear an expensive meal to enjoy it.
Thin slices of octopus sit under a layer of what can only be described as a California king-size blanket of crispy garlic and shallots. Despite the garnish seeming like the star, this is a tasty dish.
All the steaks we've tried here are delicious, but the ribeye is a great dry-aged option if you want to share. It arrives at the table medium rare and lightly charred, with a side of steak salt. A pinch will be enough since the meat is already well-seasoned.
Olive-Fed Wagyu NY Strip
If you’d like to know what steak from a cow that’s flown first class from Japan to Chicago with a spa weekend layover on the Amalfi Coast tastes like, order this. Yes, it’s $165 for 4 ounces, but it's also the best steak on the menu—certainly the butteriest.
The chicken parm here is more like a milanese—pounded super thin, coated in a very light breading, and somehow still juicy. It comes with a reasonable amount (i.e., not a swimming pool) of a slightly spicy and rich tomato sauce, tempered by dollops of creamy robiola. It’s expensive ($42), but is a massive portion that can easily feed two or more people.
Cacio e Pepe
While the housemade bucatini has a nice bite, it’s lacking in “pepe.” The flavor is one-note, and the dish needs more pepper to cut through the richness.
One of the best pastas here. Be prepared for a strong truffle flavor, but the crunchy pea shoots and parmesan crisps add a nice textural contrast to the ricotta filling.