A Local’s Guide to the Best Italian Restaurants in Chicago

Join Team Dobbs as we venture through the delightful Italian cuisine that Chicago has to offer. From quaint neighborhood gems to bustling culinary hotspots, we’ve explored the city to bring you a selection of our most beloved Italian eateries, each serving some of the best Italian food in Chicago. Each restaurant on this list has been carefully chosen for its unique approach to Italian dining, offering a combination of traditional Italian flavors and modern twists. Let’s embark on this gastronomic journey together!

Our Favorite Italian Restaurants

La Scarola
La Scarola

721 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL | FULTON RIVER DISTRICT

(312) 243-1740 |

La Scarola is like a warm embrace from Grandma – it’s authentic and cozy. Zagat once said, ‘You feel like Grandma is going to walk out of the kitchen and pinch your cheeks.’ This place is a classic, steeped in tradition, and rumored to have a secret prohibition-era passage to Richard’s bar. It’s the embodiment of ‘tried and true’ Italian dining.

Osteria Langhe
Osteria Langhe

2824 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL | LOGAN SQUARE

(773) 661-1582 |

Osteria Langhe offers a slice of rustic Italy in the heart of Logan Square. The restaurant’s menu is a testament to Italian culinary traditions, featuring delicious and authentic dishes. The ambiance is as delightful as the food, making it a perfect spot for a tranquil and memorable dining experience. Debra’s favorites are Plin and anything they serve with white truffles during the season!

Club Lucky
Club Lucky

1824 W Wabansia Ave, Chicago, IL | BUCKTOWN

(773) 227-2300 |

Club Lucky in Wicker Park, with its mid-century-themed supper-club setting, brings old-school Italian cooking to life. Known for its classic martinis and cozy ambiance, it’s been a favorite spot for Kat and Debra for decades. It’s more than just a restaurant; it’s a step back in time to a classic era of dining and elegance.

Angelina Ristorante
Angelina Ristorante

3561 North Broadway, Chicago, IL | LAKEVIEW

(773) 935-5933 |

They have AMAZING food. This tiny little neighborhood storefront is run by a long-haired hippie-looking chef who’s truly amazing. Angelina offers a great assortment of fresh Italian/pasta dishes with ever-changing weekly specials and a nice selection of wines. I’ve tried everything on the menu. A tough decision but I just love their Garganelli.

Etta
Etta

1840 W North Ave, Chicago, IL | WICKER PARK

(312) 757-4444 |

Etta, nestled in the vibrant heart of Chicago, offers a culinary adventure like no other. The restaurant’s warm and inviting atmosphere is perfect for a night out with friends or a romantic dinner. The highlight of their menu is the exquisite squash ravioli, a dish that perfectly balances rich flavors with delicate textures. This signature dish is a must-try for anyone visiting Etta. Alongside this standout item, their menu features a variety of innovative Italian-inspired dishes that cater to all tastes.

Volare
Volare

201 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL | STREETERVILLE

(312) 410-9900 |

Volare, located in the heart of Chicago, is a celebration of traditional Italian cuisine fused with modern culinary techniques. The restaurant’s elegant yet cozy ambiance creates the perfect setting for a memorable dining experience. Volare’s menu is a treasure trove of Italian classics, with their signature dish being the delectable Osso Buco, a must-try for any meat lover. Additionally, their extensive wine list complements the food perfectly, ensuring a delightful meal for all patrons.

Lark
Lark

3441 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL | LAKEVIEW

(773) 799-8968 |

We love Lark’s huge back patio – it’s quiet, beautiful, and a perfect hangout spot. Their specialty pizzas, thanks to their wood-fired oven, are some of the best in the city. The drink selection is equally impressive, and the atmosphere is always fun, especially when they have a DJ. It’s an excellent place for both food and vibes.

Bar Cargo
Bar Cargo

605 N Wells St, Chicago, IL | RIVER NORTH

(312) 929-0065 |

Bar Cargo is a vibrant neighborhood gem, perfect for any time of day. They serve up amazing pizzas on focaccia crust, ranging from classic to contemporary. The whimsical patio is a must-visit spot. Whether it’s brunch, lunch, or after hours, Bar Cargo is the place to be for great food and atmosphere.

Spacca Napoli Pizzeria
Spacca Napoli Pizzeria

1769 W Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL | RAVENSWOOD

(773) 878-2420 |

Spacca Napoli Pizzeria is a true gem for pizza lovers, offering an authentic Neapolitan experience. The pizzeria prides itself on its traditional methods and high-quality ingredients, resulting in pizzas that are simply sublime. Spacca Napoli brings a slice of Naples to Chicago with its charming atmosphere and exquisite pizzas.

Panino’s Pizza
Panino’s Pizza

3702 N Broadway, Chicago, IL | LAKEVIEW

(773) 472-6200 |

If you like…if you love pizza, you have to go here for a specialty wood-fired pizza. This is one of those places where the owner goes all over the world to pizza competitions and consistently wins awards. Panino’s is located at 3702 N. Broadway officially, but their door is on Waveland between Halsted and Broadway. A few years ago it used to be a larger sit-down restaurant with a wait staff, but a few years ago they focussed on carry out, and delivery, but do have a few small tables for sit-down service.

Daisies
Daisies

2523 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL | LOGAN SQUARE

(773) 661-1671 |

Daisies is a delightful dining experience in Chicago, offering a fresh take on traditional cuisine. Located in the vibrant area of Milwaukee Ave, Daisies has quickly become a favorite for its innovative and delicious creations. The restaurant’s atmosphere is as inviting as its menu, making it a perfect spot for a casual yet refined meal.

Sapori Trattoria
Sapori Trattoria

2701 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL | LINCOLN PARK

(773) 832-9999 |

Sapori Trattoria, a favorite at the north end of Lincoln Park, offers an authentic Italian dining experience. The restaurant’s cozy ambiance pairs perfectly with their exquisite dishes like the Burrata Pugliese and the Bucatini Carbonara, which are simply divine. It’s a neighborhood gem that provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for a delightful Italian meal.

We hope you enjoy these Italian culinary treasures as much as we have. Each restaurant offers a unique slice of Italy, right here in Chicago. Buon appetito!

To find more tips for local resources, reach out to us for a complimentary digital and/or printed copy of Debra’s Little Black Book.


What Are Best Italian Chicago Dishes?

Exploring Italian cuisine in the vibrant culinary landscape of Chicago is like stepping back into my grandma’s kitchen, where each dish is a testament to tradition and love. The city’s Italian fare is a rich tapestry, weaving together the warmth of Italian heritage with Chicago’s eclectic flair, and certain dishes stand out, evoking the cherished memories of family gatherings.

In the heart of Chicago’s Italian dining scene, the Osso Buco is a cherished favorite, a nod to those hearty family meals of my childhood. This tender veal shank, slow-cooked to perfection and accompanied by a saffron-infused risotto alla Milanese, brings the comforting essence of Northern Italy to the Windy City’s dynamic streets.

Venturing further, the iconic Pizza Margherita shines as a simple yet profound culinary delight. Originating from Naples but perfectly at home in Chicago’s Italian restaurants, its harmonious blend of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil atop a charred crust embodies the simplicity of Italian cuisine, reimagined with Chicago’s innovative twist.

The culinary journey continues with Tuscany’s Ribollita, a robust soup that my grandma used to make, now reinterpreted in Chicago’s kitchens with local ingredients, bridging Tuscany and Illinois. And from Sicily, Pasta alla Norma and the irresistible cannoli make their mark, enriching Chicago’s Italian dining experience with their rich tomato sauce, eggplant, and creamy ricotta, wrapped in the sweet embrace of pastry shells. These dishes, alongside the savory Polenta con Ragu from Veneto and the zesty seafood linguine reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast, are more than mere meals. They’re a vibrant celebration of Italian culture, echoing my grandma’s tales for me and encapsulating the diverse culinary heritage that thrives within Chicago’s bustling eateries.

The Dobbs Group Behind Scenes - Debra and Michael Making Limoncello

Recipe Corner: Debra’s Italian Heritage Family Recipes

Experience the authentic flavors of Italy right at home with Debra Dobbs’ cherished family recipes. Each dish is a testament to the rich culinary tradition of Italian cooking, passed down through generations.

Spressata

The Spressata is a cherished baked dip in the Dobbs-Pallotto family, renowned for its warm, melted cheese heartiness. A delightful amalgam of cheeses, vegetables, nuts, and spices, it’s a staple at our family dinners, always served warm, and never fails to impress. This baked dip encapsulates the essence of a comforting, homemade Italian dish, making it a favorite at every gathering. For the detailed recipe and more about this special family treat, please visit the Spressata Recipe Page.

Limoncello

Savor the sweet and tangy taste of Debra’s signature Limoncello, a traditional Italian liqueur that brings the zest of lemons to your palate. Ideal for an after-dinner delight or as a base for creative cocktails. Discover the Limoncello recipe.

Marmellata Con Limone

Brighten your breakfast or tea time with the fresh and tangy Marmellata Con Limone. This lemon marmalade is a wonderful spread for breads and pastries, adding a burst of citrus to your day. Learn how to make our Marmellata Con Limone.

Indulge in these delightful recipes and bring a piece of Italy into your kitchen!